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Queen Mary 2 from the Air

Queen Mary 2 from the Air

An aerial spectacular

When decided to aerially film the remarkable feat of engineering that is the Queen Mary 2, we had to bring in some of the finest drone technology in Australasia.

The DJI S800 is an impressive piece of high-tech kit, valued at around $25,000. It has six propellers and works with brushless gimbal technology. In layman's terms the camera is operated independently from the drone and remains exceptionally stable, with no vibration or movement, helping to increase production quality.

In the presence of royalty

You can see from our footage of the Queen Mary 2 as it docked in Sydney that the drone delivers remarkable visuals, with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House glistening in the sun-kissed background.

The QM2 was stationed at Circular Quay before continuing on its circumnavigation of Australia. The fastest and only dedicated transatlantic ocean liner in the world carries more than 2500 passengers. Along with voyages from the UK to America, she operates as an international cruiser and celebrates her 10th birthday this year. The flagship of the Cunard fleet, the Queen Mary 2 has taken more than 400 voyages with around 1.3 million guests enjoying the second-to-none facilties. These include 15 restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a theatre and the first planetarium ever seen on the ocean wave.

However, she wasn't hanging around in Sydney for long, so we had to move quickly.

Cruise control

Battery capacity and flight time for the drone is around 12 to 15 minutes, depending on weather conditions. Spare batteries are kept at ground level with the pilot, so a full day of filming sometimes sees the drone only in the air for about an hour. And as the Chief Pilot of Aerial Advantage, Anthony Shorten, explains, there's a high level of skill involved.

"You have to be a certified professional to fly a commercial drone and approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. For legal reasons, it must also remain within 'visual line of sight' and not go above 400ft in height. But battery technology is forever changing and there will be an increase in capacity. We will be able to operate longer for TV commercials, real estate and government survey projects and bridge inspections. Basically, whatever the drone is needed for."

It's a growing business, and as the film we took of Queen Mary 2 illustrates, taking the aerial route allowed us to capture the vessel in all its glory. If you want to book a trip on the Queen Mary 2 or find out more about it, visit

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