How many of us have dreamt we could fly? Or when asked what superpower we’d like, immediately answer: “to be able to fly”? Well, until scientists pull their finger out and invent human wings, we’ll happily make do with this:
Your eyes do not deceive you; that is indeed a 360 VR video filmed on an eagle in flight! This exceptional footage was shot over the fairytale-esque Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, which was the real-life inspiration for the famous castle in the Disney logo.
To capture this truly magical footage, we asked falconry expert, Paul Kilma, to help us film with one of his gorgeous birds, using Insta360 RS and a specially-designed harness.
Read on to find out more about Paul’s work with camera-wielding birds of prey, and how he went about preparing for this shoot.
1. Could you introduce yourself and explain what you do?
My name is Paul Klima. I live with my family and my animals near Bad Tölz in Upper Bavaria, Germany. With our birds of prey and owls, we hold falconry workshops and have also been working as animal trainers for movies for almost 20 years.
I’ve been involved in falconry since the age of 13, when I learned the craft from an old master of this art. It is a passion that has stayed with me to this day!
2. How did you come up with the idea of shooting the eagle POV?
The idea came about in 2007 for a nature film production on Bavarian television. We arranged a golden eagle to fly with an HD camera and we achieved some beautiful shots, but the camera was very large– it weighed almost 500 grams. The smaller and lighter cameras from Insta360 now offer new possibilities and we can get really unique shots.
3. What were the biggest challenges in this eagle POV shoot?
The hardest thing was to develop an overall system that allows the eagle to fly easily and in a carefree manner, to make the flights as natural as we can. So, I designed a custom harness that is as light and non-disturbing for the animal as possible.
Filming with eagles in general is also a huge challenge of course. It takes years of training for the eagle to trust me so much that it is willing to work with me voluntarily out in the wild.
Also, the most beautiful locations are often difficult to reach and sometimes dangerous.
4. How do Insta360 cameras help you capture these incredible shots?
The Insta360 cameras solve some big problems for me that I’ve struggled with for years. Previous cameras were significantly heavier. They had to be extensively rebuilt to really capture the eagle POV nicely, and the stabilization wasn’t good enough.
The Insta360 cameras bring all the important features I’ve dreamed of for years.
5. What inspires you to pursue this type of filming?
It is the longing to see the eagle’s real POV. I want to offer people the opportunity to ride on the back of an eagle and see the world through its eyes.
6. What makes you passionate about what you do?
Living and working with birds of prey is not a job for me, it is my life. For more than 30 years I have been trying to unite people, animals, and nature in perfect harmony. That is my life’s work.