Interview with Simon Eymann, founder and pilot of kopterwork

With their powerful multicopters, the filmmakers and photographers of kopterwork produce aerial shots that are as breathtaking as they are aesthetic. They shoot and photograph with their drones wherever the use of a camera crane, rail or human is too difficult, too dangerous or simply impossible. Their field of application is by no means limited to open-air locations: for advertising shots, aerial photography, image and feature film productions, they have flown over race tracks, wind turbines and mountain forests, as well as in circus tents, football stadiums or between skyscrapers. kopterwork has also realised various projects on the grounds of the BILSTER BERG – among other things, the recordings for the action-packed demo reel “No Limits” were made here. Simon Eymann, the founder and pilot of kopterwork, not only has an eye for the right camera perspective as a photographer, but also operates the state-of-the-art copter technology with over twenty years of practical experience from model flying. He gives us an insight into his work and tells us about his experiences during the shooting at the BILSTER BERG.

A question I always like to ask filmmakers and photographers right at the beginning: What was your first impression when you saw and got to know the BILSTER BERG?
When we turned onto the access road to the BILSTER BERG with the entire team, we all felt a strong tingling sensation. No race track leaves motor sport enthusiasts indifferent, but the BILSTER BERG with its abundance of possibilities, and in this wonderful isolation, simply amazes photographers and filmmakers. The area around the race track presents itself with a mixture of stylish elegance, the fascination of motor sports and a lot of adrenalin in the veins. Even today, this tingling sensation and anticipation are always there anew when we turn onto the access road to the BILSTER BERG. The interesting history as well as the unique topography of the terrain further add to this.

You have already realised several productions at the BILSTER BERG…

Exactly. Last year we produced various clips for the BILSTER BERG there. Among other things, a film about the Owners Club driving weekend and a first commercial for the BILSTER BERG itself, which was recently released. In December we also shot a visual Christmas greeting for the BILSTER BERG. This year we are in the process of producing a portrait film about the event location BILSTER BERG as well as two module films.

So you’ve probably already filmed on all areas of the BILSTER BERG in the course of your productions?

In the current production, we have actually filmed on all modules of the BILSTER BERG – that is, we were in action with the camera drone on the race track, the off-road course and the dynamic area.

Has a personal favourite emerged for you among the different areas of the BILSTER BERG?

It’s really hard to name a favourite here. Due to its extraordinary topography and idyllic location, the racetrack is definitely an absolute highlight for dynamic driving shots. Especially flying with long focal lengths creates strong images here, through the play of foreground and background as well as scenic depth. On the other hand, the generously proportioned dynamic area offers the possibility to play with interesting reflections thanks to artificial irrigation. In addition, it has the necessary surface to show a vehicle, even with some distance, completely on asphalt. The off-road course, on the other hand, is much slower in terms of driving movements, but extremely challenging for the drone pilot. When it comes to flying low and precisely above the ground between the trees, extreme concentration is required from the driver and drone pilot – especially since every small correction becomes visible during slow flights.

Would you say that the BILSTER BERG offers a number of conditions that make it the perfect location for filming and drone shots?

There are actually quite a few. Above all, the so-called white-label philosophy, i.e. the absence of any sponsoring or merchandising elements on the race track and the buildings, makes the BILSTER BERG unique. You can feel that right from the start. For photo and film productions, therefore, there is the possibility of choosing camera perspectives completely free of advertising banners and third-party branding. Due to the topography of the race track, a suitable section of the track can be found for the production at any time of day. Valuable production time can be saved by changing the location accordingly. Another advantage is the track length of 4.2 kilometres: it offers many different perspectives for filming, and the production base with the equipment is always within easy reach. Thanks to the many access possibilities to the track, the distances to data storage or catering remain manageable. If production allows, the division of the track into east and west loops means that production can even take place on both parts of the track at the same time. The perfectly developed communication network at the BILSTER BERG has always proved to be a great advantage for our productions: high-speed Wi-Fi and communication via the track radio is possible on the entire site. In the past, we unfortunately had to realise that even nowadays this is far from being standard at all race tracks. In addition, a very special aspect results from the fact that at the BILSTER BERG, unlike at the Nürburgring, for example, there is no possibility of viewing individual sections of the track and areas from outside. The elevated location of the BILSTER BERG is therefore ideal for staging prototypes and lifestyle products in a modern, stylish ambience in front of a precisely defined audience.

Other filmmakers and photographers were also thrilled by the natural lighting at the BILSTER BERG – do you see it the same way?

Absolutely. The track topography makes it possible to work with interesting backlighting in many places. The special location on the BERG also helps to extend the two best light moments of the day, namely shortly before sunrise and shortly after sunset. In addition, the idyllic location allows you to work with trees and grasses in the foreground and a great scenic depth.

Based on your own experience, would you recommend the BILSTER BERG as a location for professional film and photo productions to other filmmakers and photographers?

Most definitely. When it comes to filming and driving dynamics, I can only recommend the BILSTER BERG to every colleague. No matter whether you want to work on the racetrack, the dynamics area or the off-road course – everything is just right here.

(Editor: Photos: Markus Lange/ kopterwork)

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