A Postcard from Dean Semler AM ACS ASC in London

A postcard from


Hello Young Ronnie,

Still in London on prep for Disney’s “Maleficient” with Angelina Jolie again (Oh well… if I have to!) and I was looking for a way to create flying faerie’s POVs through forests and glens.

I found a fascinating new ‘drone’ which will take the weight of the RED Epic camera. It’s called the ‘Omcopter’ and was created by a couple of very young German enthusiasts, who are both brilliant engineers and act as pilot and/or operator of the tiny flying rig.

The producers allowed me to bring them over from Berlin for a day’s testing. My old mate Steve Windon is also in London on prep for ‘Fast and Furious’ – whatever number.

It was the roughest of days weather-wise… howling a gale and pissing with rain – the worst conditions possible for the little insect-like rig. However, the rain stopped and the winds died down to a gusty gale, and our German friends sent the little beast flying in a spectacular shot starting 150m above the tall trees and swooping down to follow a galloping horse and rider low through the forest and onto an open plain, where it swooped up into the sky again as the horse and rider became small dots on the horizon. I also had it fly a zig zag sort of path through the forest like a fairy’s POV.

So bloody simple! The rig weighs only 11 kilos, fits in the back of a car, and took only 20 minutes to set up. Even in the blustery conditions the 8 small rotors managed to keep the image fairly stable. There is no gyro head. Weight would be a problem and make the rig much larger. Image stabilisation in post is quite the norm.

Anyway Ron, Steve loved it. He wants to use it for car chases and stunts through London streets… and it is absolutely ideal for my flying POVs that can’t be done any other way. Here’s the problem. There is only one in existence, and we are shooting concurrently.

So the day ended with Steve saying he will use it for night chase scenes through London streets, and me saying “Well, only if I’m not using it,” and him saying that I only needed it during the day, so he could have it at night, and me saying “What if you crash it in your fast action scenes?” and him saying “Well what if you get it smashed up in a tree? and me saying “I brought it over here, mate. It was my idea,” and Steve saying “Yes, but I can pay top dollar and rent it for a longer period,” and me saying “Oh, bugger it. Let’s go have a pint and some fish and chips.”

Cheers Digger,


P.S. The guys in the photo are Stefan Muller and Christoph Danders, the operators, pilots and creators.