Sony‘s Gran Turismo movie is packed with adrenaline-pumping racing action – and TechRadar can exclusively reveal how those sequences were brought to life.
Based on a true story, Gran Turismo follows Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), a teenage gamer who uses his skills to become a professional race car driver. Stranger Things‘ David Harbour, The Lord of the Rings movie alumnus Orlando Bloom, and The Wheel of Time‘s Josha Stradwoski are among the film’s starry supporting cast.
Given its premise, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that Gran Turismo – one of 2023’s many new movies – contains plenty of high-octane, hairpin bend-fuelled scenes. With conventional cameras unable to keep up with the turbocharged action – some of the film’s racing cars exceeded speeds of 200 miles per hour / 321 kilometers per hour – the film’s crew had to get creative with shooting them.
The solution? Hire a fleet of the world’s best drones to shoot the high-speed footage. Ahead of the movie’s home entertainment release, TechRadar can exclusively share a behind-the-scenes clip of how director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) and cinematographer Jacques Jouffret (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) achieved their vision. Check it out below:
“FPV [first-person view] drones are used extensively in real-life racing,” Blomkamp revealed. “That’s where the inspiration came from, but they haven’t been used in a racing film. They give us the most vibrant, middle-of-the-action point of view.”
“The FPV drones can keep up with the cars,” Jouffret added. “What was important for Neill is [to see] the cars going at full speed.”
To that end, the crew used a fleet of FPV drones to capture events happening at breakneck speeds. The Freely Alta-X, arguably the world’s toughest drone that’s capable of carrying huge payloads, such as heavy 4K cameras, was one the crew’s most-trusted devices. Quad Standard Labs’ Shendrones Thicc Cinelifter was also heavily used due to its ability to be fitted with Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera.
For shots that required a steadier and crisper feel, Gran Turismo‘s camera team turned to manufacturers of more popular cinematic drones. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Inspire 2 were two such pieces of camera-based equipment used for these sequences, which won’t be a shock to drone experts. Indeed, in our DJI Mavic 2 Pro review and DJI Inspire 2 review, we gave them 4.5 out of 5 stars for their exceptional performance in the field. Little wonder, then, that they were regularly used on Gran Turismo‘s set.
Here’s a full rundown of every drone used during the Gran Turismo movie‘s development, including how many of each were employed:
- Cinelifter (two used)
- DJI Inspire 2 (two used)
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- Freely Alta-X
- Freely Systems Alta X
- FreeFly Alta 8
- Lightcraft FPV Heavy
- Project 399 Master G Lightcraft Jet Frame (two used)
- Quad Standard Labs Shendrones Thicc
- Quad Standards Labs Shendrones Siccario
- RRFPV Beast X8
- RRFPV Rhino
- Sony Airpeak S1
- Xaerial FPV Xaerial Lifter X8 (two used)
Sony’s Gran Turismo movie is available to buy or rent now on Apple TV, Google Play, the Microsoft Store, Prime Video, and YouTube. The racing action flick speeds its way onto DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra Blu-ray on November 7.