Attack of the drones
Film studio is working on ways to combat remote plane ‘spies’
Pinewood, in Iver Heath, also the home of hit films including 22 of the 24 James Bond films, has conducted a security exercise on how to counter drones being used to fly over its lots and take photographs of productions and sets. Experts told studio bosses the best way to combat drones is to take them out using powerful hoses, or ask security staff to fly other radio-controlled craft into them.
“Piracy is the enemy of new content,” said Michael Grade, chairman of Pinewood, speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch. “It is a very damaging prospect and security is a major element. We have got an exercise now going on about how to counter drones and cameras. It is lovely to have Star Wars, it is lovely to have James Bond.
“The key thing is to keep the big Hollywood studios who fund these pictures coming back.”
Pinewood has just delivered Spectre , Daniel Craig’s latest 007 film and Star Wars: The Force Awakens , which opens this week.
Work has already started on the next movie in the series, Episode VIII, out in the US in May 2017, and on spin-off Rogue One, due to be released next December.
Mr Grade, who led the management team that bought Pinewood in 2000 and subsequently floated Europe’s largest film studio, said big Hollywood movie companies have become increasingly obsessed with protecting their blockbusters in the digital age.
He was asked if Pinewood, which also owns Shepperton Studios in the UK and has joint venture facilities in sites including Atlanta, Toronto and Malaysia, was considering the option of shooting down drones that enter production facility airspace.
“You may say that but I couldn’t possibly comment,” he said. “We are waiting for the report. We will need to see what can be done.”
He was asked if it was the threat of snooping posed by online media groups or hardcore movie buffs that prompted the drone security exercise.
“Anybody with a drone or a GoPro (wearable camera),” he said.