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A screenshot of Leonard's video of Athens from above

Q&A: Amazing drone footage of Athens was shot by a first-time operator

Evan Leonard captured the Athens area and OU's campus from a new angle as he used a drone to shoot some captivating footage.

The Post spoke with Leonard, a junior studying commercial photography, to find out about the shots and what it is like to shoot with a drone. 

Leonard said it took him two drone flights and about four or five hours to create the 30-second clip. Below is The Post's conversation with Leonard, who has done photography work for The Post in the past, condensed and edited for clarity. 

The Post: How did you get the footage?

Evan Leonard: I had gotten the drone, actually, just that day. That was the first flight I'd ever done with it. I went down to the river just because I knew it was pretty open over there, and I was able to fly all around town. I was there at the right time  — when the sun was setting perfectly, and it turned out pretty cool.

P: Did most of the shots come from that first flight? 

EL: Two of the shots from the video were from the second flight, but for the most part, yeah they were all just down by the river. We were up at Bong Hill ... the next day.

P: What kind of drone did you use?

EL: It's a DJI Phantom 4.

P: How much did that set you back?

EL: If you got just the drone, it'd be somewhere around $1300, but by the time I got extra batteries, a filter kit and insurance it was about $1700.

P: Is it tough to fly?

EL: I mean, all of those shots were my very first flight. I probably was in the air for an hour and a half, so a decent amount of shooting. But anybody can pick it up and fly it, for sure. It's just learning to control it to get professional-looking shots needs a lot of fine motor skills and muscle memory.

P: Does the drone have a camera in it or do you attach a camera to it?

EL: The old ones required that you got a camera and strapped it on, but this one has a built-in 4K camera that will live stream footage back to the remote, and you can use an iPad or iPhone for it.

P: Were there any shots you had to cut that you wanted to keep?

EL: There were some cool ones, but I definitely think the ones I included were the ones that deserved to be in. Since I've had it more I've gotten some cool ones, but that night, the light was just perfect, the sunset was awesome. It's been hard to match that night.  

P: Anything you'd like to add?

EL: I guess there's a story about people not understanding drones. 

I was shooting the CLUBHOUSE show up at The Union on Thursday, and so I was shooting around over there, and some people were standing outside, throwing rocks and cigarettes at it and saying 'you can't be recording here,' and like, hitting it, which isn't cool because that's an obstruction of photographers' rights and the right to fly the drone. People who give drone owners or flyers a lot of crap, saying they're not allowed to be flying there, that's just not true. A photographer is allowed to shoot anywhere in public they want without being obstructed. That's just freedom of press and expression. It goes exactly the same for drones. I've gotten crap from a few different places, but that time, when they were throwing stuff at it wasn't cool. 


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