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  • Tom Durden

Nibana festival

Bijgewerkt: feb 22


This was the wildest droneshoot so far: to make dronude group photos at the Nibana festival in France. I read about the festival on facebook. Not much info though, it would be the first edition. The festival seemed to be a hippy festival with workshops on self exploration, set in rural France. Special features: no drugs and no alcohol at the festival. And a sauna and open air hot tub.

The reason I had noticed the festival, was that a significant number of people that showed interest in modelling for my dronephotos planned to visit the festival. So I contacted the festival-organisation, offered my support and asked if I could do a droneshoot at the festival. My proposal was gladly accepted: I could help with drone filming for the festival aftermovie and a droneshoot for models was scheduled in the festival program on Tuesday afternoon. Also I got a very kind offer: I could visit the festival and bring assistents for free.

A few weeks before the festival I created a post in my models-Facebookgroup calling for people to join me to go for the festival. I was contacted by a few models that would already be at the festival, and by a girl and a female friend of her. They offered to help me with driving the long distance and to support me during the shoots: I gladly accepted.

My plan was short and packed: we would drive in eight hours to the festival early Monday morning, work on drone shoots for two days, and directly drive back afterwards on Tuesday night. The two girls agreed: we would meet at 5.30 AM and so the adventure began.

After a long drive the girls and I arrived at the festival grounds and met with a small media team that worked on creating photos and film on the festival.

Together we made drone footage to be used in the festival film. One of the fellow team members, John, was a very experienced drone operator, working with the same drone as I have. John was very skilled and especially liked to take risky shots: flying low over the water, dodging obstacles. Amazing.

That night, I experimented with red led lights to create creative footage, visitors spontaniously joined these shoots. Then a short night at the camping area and I woke up early to explore the festival grounds for good locations for drone shots. I found some great locations: open spaces within a forest area. Dangerous for a drone, but really beautiful. Satisfied with my preparations, I ordered a very large coffee, and joined an opening ceremony at the festival. A wonderful experience.

Tuesday afternoon I started with some experimental drone shoots with a model I had met before and then prepared for the group shot. I learned that my group shoot was planned parallel with seven other workshops. Festival visitors would have to choose, and the other workshops were interesting... I was relieved when it turned out well: the girls had told festival visitors about the drone shoot, and a small group of beautiful people gathered as a result.

Together with fellow droner John I led them to the different locations and we started shooting. The girls joined the models and it became a true co-creation: I worked not only with models from countries like Finland and Switserland, but also with John and with Rafael: a professional choreographer from Poland. I worked with about 8 female and 3 male models in total. The best ideas were to form symmetrical forms in the open space in the forest. Also the choreographer showed how to individually place models to create interesting photos.

At 17.00 that day I was happy and totaly exhausted, and all batteries for the drones were empty. I would have loved to stay all week at the festival, but I had to go. So I left some of my gear for John, the girls and I packed our camping gear, had a quick meal, and we drove home. The car navigation steered us straight through Paris, which was beautiful at night. I finally brought the girls home on Tuesday at 03.00 and 04.00 AM, I felt grateful for their courage to go with me to this wild aventure, also because they had never met me before.

After the festival I met with the droner and he gave tips about the editing of photos and film.

Lessons learned: the Nibana festival felt like a heavenly place. A nude drone shoot can be a part of a festival. A schedule that involves so much impressions and long drives, and little time to ground, is maddness. But sometimes mad adventurous are fun as well. Some models are very couragious and inspiring.

To do: encourage the Nibana organisers to start organising a 2020 edition and buy the first tickets. Start a tribe of adventurous dronude models and bring a busload to the festival, not only for a shoot but also to spread the festival experience. Find similar festivals. Work on editing skills on photos and film.

Ideas for future shoots: group shoots at festivals (planned well ahead). Group shots with all models individually placed interlocking.


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