Watch The Trailer For A Movie Filmed Entirely By Drones

Autonomous cinematography

Still From "In The Robot Skies"

Still From In the Robot Skies

In the Robot Skies promises to be a tale of robots, love, technology, and speculative architecture.Screenshot by author, from Vimeo

Most drones are just cameras that fly. Cheaper and easier to use than helicopters, drones can add aerial photography and overhead shots at low cost to films, where they form part of the director’s toolset. Liam Young, a speculative architect based in the United kingdom, teamd up with writer Tim Maughan to create a film shot entirely by autonomous drone cameras.

That film, In the Robot Skies, will premiere at the London Film Festival on October 8. The trailer was released online last night, and we can already discern some of the features of the world. There's aerial surveillance, and hulking security drones. The machines identify and label people, and behaviors, recording anti-social actions and confining the anti-social to their homes.

And there are other drones, flown by the confined as a way past the robotic sentries.

Here's how the creators describe the film:

The film explores the drone as a cultural object, not just as a new instrument of visual story telling but also as the catalyst for a new collection of urban sub cultures. In the way the New York subway car of the 80s gave birth to a youth culture of wild style graffiti and hip hop the age of ubiquitous drones as smart city infrastructure will create a new network of surveillance activists and drone hackers. From the eyes of the drones we see two teenagers each held by police order within the digital confines of their own council estate tower block in London. A network of drones survey the council estates, as a roving flock off cctv cameras and our two characters are kept apart by this autonomous aerial infrastructure. We watch as they pass notes to each other via their own hacked and decorated drone, like kids in an old fashioned classroom, scribbling messages with biro on paper, balling it up and stowing it in their drones...In this near future city, drones form both agents of state surveillance but also become co-opted as the aerial vehicles through which two teens fall in love.

This is hardly Liam Young's first foray into new media as a way to explain future cities. In 2012, he collaborated with authors and artists to imagine a future city in "Under Tomorrows Skies" (no apostrophe). In 2014, Liam Young created a virtual City of Drones, soundtracked by John Cale, where viewers see through the eyes of a flying robot as it navigates an endless world of aerial machines and skyscrapers.

In the Robot Skies feels like a continuation of this work, an exploration of human-built space by human-built machines. Watch the trailer for it below.