Business partners, Alec Caton and Rob Tilly, met on the set of popular TV soap Hollyoaks where they were both working as cameramen, and continued to work together for a number of years on shows such as House of Anubis. Fast forward a few years and they are now running their own aerial filming and photography company, known as IronBird Aerial Cinematography. I headed down to their office, which is located in the heart of the Baltic Triangle, to find out a bit more about what they do.
How they got started
The idea of IronBird came about when Rob was watching a documentary about military hardware, which featured a drone like piece of equipment. He started wondering whether there were any camera drones available, in a bid to incorporate it into their camera work. After doing some research, he discovered that a few people were using them in America, but they were relatively unheard of in the UK. Camera drone’s are pretty common now, but apparently many people previously had to improvise when trying to get that all important bird’s eye view shot, which lead to a couple of cameras being lost on kites! Once Rob and Alec purchased their first drone, which they had to build themselves, they realised that in order to fly it they required permission forms for commercial operations. What they planned on being a part time side project, quickly turned into a full time career for the pair five years ago, due to the time consuming permission applications, and the steadily increasing interest from others. IronBird was officially incorporated in May 2013.
What they do now
The lads professionally and legally fly a number of unmanned aerial vehicles for TV, film, broadcast and applications with their main focus being aerial filming and 360 filming and content. IronBird are one of the few companies in the UK that can legally lift airframes of up to 20kg, and have filmed up and down Britain, and occasionally Europe. They have also just been granted permission for the Congested Areas Operating Safety Case, which allows them to lift bigger broadcast cameras in more congested areas, with less restrictions. Due to their abilities and freedom, they are understandably a preferable choice when it comes to camera work, which is evident from taking a look at their filming experience. Their clients includes the likes of Hollyoaks, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Coronation Street, The Worst Witch, Father Brown, Paranoid, and DCI Banks. One of their most recent projects includes the upcoming BBC drama, Gunpowder, which stars Game of Throne’s Kit Harrington. Earlier this month they also collaborated with Sibrio, Esprit Tours, Mascho & Mocha to introduce the new Sibro educational VR experience that they populated with a 360 aerial video, which was featured on BBC Breakfast.
It’s safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot more from IronBird in the future, and we wish them all the best.
Contact IronBird on 0151 909 8464 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit their website at iron-bird.co.uk