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Drones grabbed in midair for complex Apple TV+ 'Cherry' shots

Tom Holland in 'Cherry' [Apple]

Shooting Apple TV+'s "Cherry" was a challenge, a camera operator reveals, with a drone grabbed in mid-air and manually moved into position for one lengthy shot.

Films and TV shows often rely on new technologies to get the right shot for the production, but sometimes a more ingenious solution is required. In an article speaking with veteran camera operators, "Cherry" for Apple TV+ required a drone to be manhandled for a particular sequence.

The scene in question was one continuous shot of a Humvee convoy traveling over a mile, Variety reports. Furthermore, the shot would require not only the convoy to be seen, but also for close-up shots of the actors.

To accomplish this, camera operator Geoffrey Haley worked with a drone operator, to enable the capture of the whole convoy. Dressed in costume, Haley would intercept the drone at a specific point and manually control it.

Haley had to "grab the drone and push it within a foot or two of the actors to play out the scene, moving it around as if it were a Steadicam," he revealed. During this section, the rotors of the drone were powered down, enabling it to be moved safely and to cut down the noise.

Later in the sequence, Haley would release the drone. The drone operator regained control of the craft, and continued on the planned path.

"The decision to do the shot like that was born out of us showing up on the day thinking [about] how we can show this massive scale and then go into some very emotional private moments, all in the same shot," said Haley.

This is not the only time Haley used the drone-interception technique in film, as the same concept was used to film the upcoming movie "Fast 9."

Following the story of a young man from Cleveland who joins the Army and returns home with PTSD, "Cherry" is based on the Nico Walker novel and stars Tom Holland. Filming of "Cherry" originally started in 2019, and was completed before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is set to air on Apple TV+ on March 12.