At­tack of the drones

Film stu­dio is work­ing on ways to com­bat re­mote plane ‘spies’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.

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