A Grand Wedding on the Sea Fair

J+C 10/23/21




On this episode of Captured by Gio I take you aboard the grand SeaFair where I join an award winning wedding film crew to be their 5th shooter at this destination wedding with the all new DJI Air 2S and Phantom 4 pro v2. This was definitely a test of a life time as I have never filmed from such a large ship before and the crew headed their warnings about how the past 4 photographers in past event lost their drones. In this blog I talk about all the problems I faced taking off and launching the drone to capturing a breath taking wedding that I was honored to be a part of.


“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything. - Aaron Siskind -

Have you ever walked down Biscayne Park in downtown Miami and saw a massive boat that looks like a cruise ship just docked on the far side of the Intercontinental hotel? If you haven't, it's not hard to miss. The #Seafair is a 220ft Ship that has 4 floors and is one of the best venues in town to host any kind of top dollar event. I have been aboard the vessel before however this is the first event where the ship actually goes out to open water for the main event!


The Inquire


Just another day in the office when I have another inquire come in through my site. This time it was an award winning video and photography out of Canada asking if I can be an extra shooter for them since my expertise was in capturing boats. They said it was a large boat in Miami and since i've done plenty of boats I was really confident with the job. They also explained it was a high end wedding and they just didn't want to risk loosing a drone again. (These are most of my calls unfortunately for the clients)


Wedding Day on the #Seafair

On the day of the wedding I arrive an hour early to figure out where i'm going to be setup and also to get some shots early on while I'm waiting for the rest of crew to arrive on site. They were following the bride and groom from the church to the ship. While i'm getting ready some of the crew was interested in the drones I was going to be using. After taking a look they went on to explain how in the last 4 events they have not had one drone pilot successfully return with their drone. "Thats why I got this call," I quickly said. Almost every captain in Miami has had some type of drone crashing story tell and thankfully i've already been there and done that. It was time to show them how it was done! When the crew arrived I was already up and flying. Perfect timing to capture the vintage rolls-royce pulling up front and center to a long red carpet SeaFair entrance. After taking a couple entrance photos and capturing a few enchanting clips it was time to set sail!


The Capture

Air2 S is up! 3,2,1! We're recording! Captain all clear for take off! After releasing the drone on deck two I run up to deck 4 on the terrace where the guest have gathered. I get the Djs help by announcing a family group picture as we were sailing off to not miss the perfect moment! That naturally led to a beautiful pan out shot with the family sailing off from Miami. As were sailing to open water i'm running out of my first battery. First thing I do is update the home point. If the battery gets critically low, the drone will automatically return to home. Now home on a boat is from the point you took off. In my case that means back at the intercontinental. It makes me sweat sometimes but concentration is key. I make my way to the back of the second floor terrace, where i have my take off and landing station. After updating the home point I have to remove the obstacle avoidance sensors because I can't get the drone close enough to the boat with out the drone detecting a wall. We're moving at about 15 MPH so i start matching the speed of the drone with the boat. Then slowly bring her closer until the drone is right in arms reach. I snatch the drone and flip her over to activate the drone kill switch. When I turned around there was the father of the bride and groom along with some other family who came down to smoke a cigar looking amazed at how I just did that. This is why I practice! Can you imagine the embarrassment of loosing control of the drone in front of your client! Not an option here! After landing the drone successfully I quickly swap out the batteries and take off the drone again to go take some shots of the bride and groom at the front of the boat. After taking the drone off I start flying the drone to the front when all of a sudden my controller goes blank. The transmission had cut off! When the transmission cuts off the drone will just hover in place and try to reconnect and if it does not reconnect it will return to home. Luckily, since we're on a boat, the drone was hovering in place and while the ship continued sailing the drone came back into range. Thankfully the connection came through before the return-to home initiated. After getting the connection back i now run up to the terrace to continue flying from there to make sure i don't go out of range again! I still couldn't believe the boat was so big that it made my drone go out of range with just 220 ft. I finally make my way to the front where the bride and groom are waiting for me. The crew helped plan the scene so who i arrived they just yell, "Action!" I started recording immediately while holding my breath so i can get the steady arch shot around the boat. After that we took a couple kissing and finally waving good bye to the drone! All beautifully captured if i do say so my self! After taking the photos and video it was time for the grand entrance to the reception. All of us were rushing because the sun was setting and we needed all the light we can get to capture the grand moment. It was a now or never moment! Thankfully they decided to come out right away so there was enough light to capture the grand entrance to the party as the sun set and we continued sailing off into the distance. Wedding of the year for sure!

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