A Higher Perspective: The Interview

Professional Photography & Filmmaking

A Higher Perspective: The Interview

As one of our first customers, and certainly most memorable, Paul Duvall made a lasting impression on the Uplift Drone Training team. With his infectious personality and unrivalled passion to develop his talent into the aerial realm, we knew he was going places!

Paul received our recommendation to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for his Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) within 2 months of booking his UDT Combined PfCO drone training course, and since then has gone on to create his aerial filmmaking company ‘A Higher Perspective Ltd’. With a healthy portfolio of work already under its belt, A Higher Perspective has taken Paul all over the world in its endeavours.

We sat down with Paul to learn about his love of aerial filmmaking, how drones have enhanced his career and the rise of his company in this growing industry…

a higher perspective

Which aircraft do you operate and what are its best features?

I use the DJI Inspire 2 paired with Zenmuse X5S Camera. I love this aircraft for its all-in-one brilliance. The aircraft flies like a dream, is packed with features and can match the quality in footage (and stills) of much higher-end cinematic cameras. I also love the Apple ProRes 4444xq codec. Its ability to push post-production colour grading to within a fraction of the capability of Raw DNG footage is astounding! My featured show reel is an example of how good this aircraft and camera can be in the right hands.

What has been your most memorable commercial job and why?

My favourite job so far – that’s a tricky one! I recently shot a promo for a prestige car company, which meant gaining permissions from landowners and chasing super cars along country roads (this was carefully planned and within permission legal limits), which was great fun. However, my heart lies in Natural History filmmaking, so anytime that I’m in Iceland I’m in my element.

Is there a specific place or event on your aerial “bucket list”?

I suppose my ultimate location would be the Altiplano and Atacama Deserts in Chile. The landscape there is like nothing on Earth; it’s incredibly beautiful and would be a dream to fly!

What’s your dream commercial drone filming job?

I kind of have my dream job just around the corner… In a few weeks’ time I’m off to Iceland to film orcas with the BBC. I have recently been approved as a contractor and contributor with the BBC and an official drone operator for a multi award-winning aerial cinematographer, who has worked on some of the biggest productions in Hollywood and all the Landmark Natural History documentaries for the BBC – so hopefully the dream of Chile may become a reality!

How has drone technology influenced your career aspirations?

I am quite new to drone work (as I’m only just into my second year of operations) but I have been a professional photographer for 5 years. Filming was the next step up from photography for me; I already had extensive knowledge of camera settings etc, but the aerial platform allowed a seamless roll into the TV/film industry because of the technology. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it makes camera work easy! Without drones I am confident I would never have been able to make that leap.

What are your predictions for the immediate future of drone technology within your industry?

My only worry with where I see drone technology going in the future is that it may – in the next ten years or so – become completely autonomous, thus eliminating the need for piloting. I mean, if you can have a driverless car on the road, how hard can it be to input what sort of shot you are after and allow an algorithm to do the rest? Tech is moving so fast it may even be sooner than ten years; given that the new DJI Mavic Air can already autonomously pull off moves that some pilots would struggle with. On the plus side, in my opinion machines can’t achieve “art”. For the foreseeable future we’ll still need human input on that front, or for at least a while yet anyway!

Last year, A Higher Perspective visited Iceland to capture new cinematic footage of its breath-taking landscape, famously characterised by the endless fjords, black sand beaches, steaming lava fields and natural hot springs – not to mention its mesmerising waterfalls. Shot, edited and colour graded by Paul Duvall, the spectacular footage is available for you to view in the player below. Plus, there will be more from Uplift’s clients coming your way soon, so stay tuned!

For commercial enquiries please contact: A Higher Perspective Film & Photography

Are you a media professional looking for other avenues to expand your skill-set and make money? Drone qualifications could be just what you’re looking for – with courses starting from £650 plus VAT, you can learn more here.

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