Thanks to a trained eagle wearing a 360-degree camera, this video lets anyone feel what it’s like to soar high in the air over Neuschwanstein, the castle that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle.
Shared by Insta360, Neuschwanstein is located on a nature preserve where drones aren’t allowed, so this aerial perspective on the back of an eagle’s wings captures what is normally an impossible viewpoint. Professional falconer Paul Kilma designed a custom-made harness for the Insta360 ONE RS camera to make it as light and non-disturbing for the bird as possible and says that it’s an idea he’s had for a long time.
He says he knows how many people long to see the real point of view of birds as they soar in the sky, so he wanted to provide an opportunity to give them the next best thing: a ride on an eagle’s back.
“The idea came about in 2007 for a nature film production on Bavarian television. We arranged a golden eagle to fly with an HD camera and we achieved some beautiful shots, but the camera was very large — it weighed almost 500 grams,” he explains in an interview on Insta360’s blog.
“The smaller and lighter cameras from Insta360 now offer new possibilities and we can get really unique shots.”
Kilma, who has been involved in falconry since he was 13 years old and whose family holds hold falconry workshops and has also been working as animal trainers for movies for almost 20 years, says that despite the small form factor of current generation 360-degree cameras, there was still a challenge in creating a system that would allow an eagle to fly normally while wearing one.
“The hardest thing was to develop an overall system that allows the eagle to fly easily and in a carefree manner, to make the flights as natural as we can. So, I designed a custom harness that is as light and non-disturbing for the animal as possible,” Kilma explains.
“Filming with eagles in general is also a huge challenge of course. It takes years of training for the eagle to trust me so much that it is willing to work with me voluntarily out in the wild,” he continues. “Also, the most beautiful locations are often difficult to reach and sometimes dangerous.”
A full interview with Kilma can be found on Insta360’s blog.