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The Little Mermaid | 2023

2h 15min  |  Director: Rob Marshall

What was the Brief?

Filming took place in June 2021. We were asked to film a lot of visual effects plates to capture background plates for the build of Ariel’s castle, water plates, landscapes, cliffs - which were all filmed in Sicily using both drone and helicopter.  We filmed plates to be able to show Ariel’s ship running aground. We also filmed the ship which was mounted in a hydraulic gimbal to show it wrestling with the water’s movements, for which we used only the drone (no helicopter). A lot of sequences were captured at dawn or dusk. These included a sequence which we needed to film so as to match certain musical cues, which were played through our headsets whilst filming using both drone and helicopter. 


Live action sequences involved using both helicopter and drone, such as for crowd sequences.


The Alexa Mini LF was the camera used on both the heli and the drone.

The lenses used were Leitz Thalia 70mm on the drone and the Fujinon Premista 28-100 on the AS350 Squirrel helicopter.


Any challenges to overcome?

There were only a few challenges which were handled beautifully by collaborating with our Italian colleagues. That said, Covid was a big one - i.e. working around the restrictions, people catching it, thus delaying productions, and so on.  There were also some location challenges for our team on the ground, who needed to hike up steep rocky outcrops to set up.



On the various locations, Giles Dumper was our film pilot, along with Francesco Comensoli, flying the AS350 Squirrel helicopter with our Aerial Cinematographer, Jeremy Braben, who was operating the Shotover F1 gimbal rigged with the ARRI Alexa Mini LF camera and Fujinon 28-100 Premista lens. 


Helicopter was also used for capturing photogrammetry.  


Our drone work captured both live action and VFX plates in the daytime and nighttime, whereby we used our Aerigon heavy lift drone rigged with the ARRI Alexa Mini LF camera, and the Leitz Thalia series primes. 

Picutre 2 of Airbus AS350 Heli + + Shotover F1 + Alexa MiniLF camera + Fujinon Premista 28
HFS - Airbus AS350 Heli + + Shotover F1 + Alexa MiniLF camera + Fujinon Premista 28-100 le
Picture 2 of drone sunset - Aerigon drone + Alexa MiniLF camera + Zeiss CP.3 lens.jpg.jpg
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