Sydney Opera House

Heliguy formed part of the aerial unit on Feature Film ‘Bleeding Steel’, a Jackie Chan action film filmed at the Sydney Opera House (SOH) in mid 2016. This gave Heliguy the rare opportunity to work closely with the SOH Trust, and film exclusively in close proximity of their famous sails.

As a high-trafficked World Heritage Listed property,  flying drones around the sails of the SOH came with its own unique set of challenges.

When a Helicopter Can’t Achieve the Entire Look

Even when helicopter pilots are able to grab CASA approval for low-level flying, wind footprints can influence action design. In these unique situations, using a UAV team is a perfect way to compliment a production’s helicopter shots.

When it came to the SOH, it became apparent flying a Helicopter in and around the sails was going to be next to impossible to achieve in look, time and budget. Not only were the re-set costs high, the noise and spectacle of a helicopter in the city attracted unwanted attention… particularly from local news stations who have access to their own helicopters!

Shooting at a World Heritage Listed Property


Due to noise and wind, using a drone is an ideal method for capturing the shots you want at a World Heritage Listed location. In the case of SOH, not only did using a drone allow for longer filming hours, but also allowed the camera to get closer to the sails.

Don’t Upset the Neighbours 

SOH is a highly-protected location. And not just by in-house security. Due to anti-terrorist security measures, the SOH is also protected by Australian Federal Police. As a result, Heliguy had to be granted special dispensation for flying a UAV in close proximity of the sails.

Due to the residents in the nearby ‘Toaster’ we were asked by SOH to make sure noises be kept to a bare minimum. To make sure we kept a minimal noise footprint, we used the Reliance X8.

Working in High Traffic Locations 

With 8.2 million visitors a year, the Sydney Opera House is a popular tourist attraction. Since it was vital the location remained accessible to tourists, the team at Heliguy worked closely with the SOH Trust and the production’s Locations Department to ensure rolling closure of the Broadwalk during filming. But our safety measures didn’t stop there. Heliguy also worked with producers to make sure UAV flight paths were strictly above cleared areas, reducing the chance of any third party injuries. 

To accommodate peak tourist times, Heliguy adhered to strict filming windows, starting at sunrise, to ensure minimal disruption to the thousands of tourists who visit the SOH every day.