Richard Steele – James Bond Operator

October 13, 2021 / Interview News

Well, it doesn’t get much cooler than this. With the 25th Bond film – No Time Die being released this month, we chatted to the Richard Steele, the drone operator who was a part of the filming.

SkyStock (SS): How did you get into drones?
Richard: I started flying RC helicopters over 10 years ago, then when ready to fly drones came on the market, I bought a micro drone to play with in the house. From there I moved onto the DJI Phantom range when the older models had GoPro cameras attached.

I had a few people approach me for small jobs like roof inspections, and photos of houses etc so I decided to get my license back in 2014.

From there I moved onto larger drones like the DJI Inspire, DJI S1000 heavy lift where I had the opportunity to do some television work on a Robson Green series, Emmerdale, and a few short films plus documentaries.

SS: Now how did you be become the drone operator for No Time to Die?
Richard: In 2017 I was introduced to a very nice guy who owned the Shotover U1, which is the aircraft I flew on Bond. He was looking to get some freelance pilots on the books who had heavy lift experience in TV and film. I continued doing some TV dramas with the U1 over the next couple of years until the guy landed a contract to film on the Bond set, as the super heavy lift drone had the capability to carry the camera they needed.

SS: No doubt would have been an exciting project to film?
Richard: We spent 2 weeks up in the highlands of Scotland. Stunning scenery and terrible weather as per usual for Scotland, but between the rain showers and swarms of midges, we filmed chase scenes along the sides of Lochs, crash scenes with the new Land Rovers and motorcycles, pursuits through woodlands and rivers with a huge crew.

Huge concentration and timing were important to be able to get the shots we needed and communicating with the stunt department was very stressful but very exciting at the same time.

SS: Tell us more about the Shotover U1 used?
Richard: The take off weight of the drone was around 40kg with a flight time of 5 minutes with 4 batteries on it. The drone was equipped with a magazine camera as all the Bonds are shot on film reel rather than digital cameras.

SS: What kind of other projects do you do?
I have continued doing freelance work in all industries, been lucky enough to do some travelling across Europe doing all sorts of jobs including filming a live football match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar which will be one of the venues for the World Cup 2022, doing research on Humpback and Killer Whales in Northern Norway with various drones. More recently I got the chance to work full time for SkySpecs working in the renewable industry inspecting wind turbines which is a really great job flying the Alta 8 and Alta 6.

SS: With Daniel Craig stepping down from the role, are you putting your hat in the ring to be the next 007?
Richard: I was actually offered the part to play the role of the next 007 but sadly I had to turn it down as I’m not a big fan of “Vesper Martini’s. haha

 

Thanks to Richard for his insight into filming one of the highly anticipated movies to come out in 2021. You can find out more about Richard on his LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-steele-9980a3104/

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Richard Steele – James Bond Operator

Richard Steele – James Bond Operator

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