College student and photography lover Bernardo Bacalhau traveled from his native Portugal to Morocco and brought his drone along with him. We talked to Bernard about capturing the cities and landscapes of Morocco from the air.
Why did you decide to go to Morocco?
I had been to Marrakech before and I really liked it, so I wanted to explore the rest of the country as well. I traveled by car, so I was able to see parts of Morocco others don’t get to see. I really like the country and the culture. The landscape varies a lot — in the north it’s very green, and then you get to the desert — I love the contrast between the two.
Was this the first time you’ve used a drone?
No, I’ve been shooting with the drone for about a year now.
What do you think the drone footage captures about Morocco specifically?
I’ve never seen any footage of Morocco from above, so I didn’t have any expectations. In fact, I was surprised the drone footage looked so good.
I didn’t know this at the time, but it is really difficult to get permission to fly drones in Morocco- I was very lucky to be one of the few people who had the opportunity to capture this country from this breathtaking perspective!
In terms of the footage itself: The light was very special, especially in the cities. I filmed during sunrises so people didn’t see the drone, but the light was amazing. It’s my favorite part of the video because the light is absolutely lovely in Morocco.
How does the visual from the air differ from being on the ground?
The exciting thing about using the drone is that people don’t know exactly how landscapes and cities look from above, so it provides a new perspective.
Because I was trying to avoid crowds, I filmed early in the morning and there is an advantage to filming during the sunrise because everything is calm and there are no people in the streets.
When you were flying the drone over the cities and landscapes, was there anything that surprised you?
Yeah, mainly when I was filming in Fez (this is the very first clip of the movie). I arrived in Fez late at night, so I didn’t know what to expect from the city at all. I woke up very early, launched the drone, and was shocked. It was incredible. I was most surprised by how crowded it is — you can see from the video that the houses are very close to each other. In some spots, you can’t even see the ground because it’s all homes. The scope of the city is huge. It’s nice to imagine the closeness of the neighborhoods.
Why did you choose to capture Morocco with a drone instead of on foot?
I would love to have filmed on the ground, too, but I was only there for eight days. During that time, I traveled almost 2000 miles, so I didn’t have time to actually grab my camera and film anything in the cities because I was only in each place for a short period of time. It was just faster and simpler to launch the drone and get some footage that way. On future trips, I’d like to film in the streets and make a bigger, more complex movie.
It’s still cool though because I’m probably one of the few people who has flown a drone in Morocco — it seems very, very difficult, so I got lucky.