Making a film about a film...Welcome DJI

Team DJI, me, Arek and a skeptical Elizabeth.

Team DJI, me, Arek and a skeptical Elizabeth.

Organizing gear in our room at Hotel 10.

Organizing gear in our room at Hotel 10.

Interview with DJI on the roof of the Fujiyama apartment building in Pripyat.

Interview with DJI on the roof of the Fujiyama apartment building in Pripyat.

Short aerial clip from today's flying over Pripyat.

I can finally let the cat out of the bag. DJI has sent a crew of three professionals to create a short film about me making a film in Chernobyl. We all met this morning and drove the 80 km together in a teal minivan along with my friend, filming partner and driving and translation expert, Arek, to the Chernobyl Nuclear Zone. I'd say the van was 70% gear and 29% man and 1% woman, just to keep us all in line.

When we arrived at the Check Point Dityatki, Arek and I had a conversation with the Chernobyl Secret Police to review our permit for flying drones in the Exclusion Zone. The area has been turned into a nature preserve and is managed by a different division in the Ukrainian government than years before, which is now no longer allowing drones to be flown. We applied for and received a special permit; however, the permit read "Inspire 1" and "Phantom 3" and did not state the quantity. Arek, in his Eastern European wisdom, told them we had one Inspire and three Phantoms. We provided them the serial numbers from the drones and then they let us pass. "Spasibo!"

After each flight, I was optimistic that everything went well. We shot about 224 gig of 4k video. After a massive dinner of borscht, bread, salad, fried chicken, French fries, and fruit puff pastries, I came back to the room and downloaded everything. the DJI Inspire 1, which is one of their newest drones, flew like a bird (or was it more a plane?). Either way, the footage blew me away. I managed to fly the farthest distance yet - the Inspire 1 from the southwestern most corner of the city from the roof of the 16 story Fujiyama building (which got its nickname from being so different in style from the other Soviet-styled architecture) out to a distance of 4,351 feet at an altitude of 250 feet across the abandoned city of Pripyat.

We made 8 flights today and plan to double that tomorrow as we fly around the DUGA-3, Krug, and City Center just to name a few high points.