'The View' takes flight with behind-the-scenes drone production

Drones can do a lot these days, but this 3-minute piece pushed the limits.

August 4, 2022, 3:53 PM

Have you ever wondered what "The View" studio and offices look like 3 minutes before the show airs?

From a special "Behind the Table" podcast series, to an epic co-host reunion at New York's Essex House, and even a week of shows in the Bahamas, no operation was too big for the Emmy Award-winning talk show's Season 25 celebration. But what about taking on something that's never been done before?

That's exactly what "The View" team and New York's Xizmo Media did when they created a continuous 3-minute drone shoot to explore behind the scenes of America's most-watched daytime talk show.

After the idea was conceived, Senior Producer Rick Segall, a core team from "The View" and Xizmo spent months planning the concept, refining the flight path and grappling with the unknown. The shoot involved the entire "View" staff of over 100 people and a studio audience of 110. The Cinewhoop drone's flight path covered more than 15 spaces on three different floors while flying over, under and through several obstacles.

Often, drone projects of this complexity will be done in several pieces and edited together, but Segall's determination helped the team push their limits.

“We’re used to doing ambitious projects at 'The View,' but there was a definite feeling in the air that this was completely nuts and could not be done in one pass,” Segall said. “There are bragging rights to pulling off a drone shoot of this scope in one pass. I was confident we could do it.”

Executive Producer Brian Teta said that Segall pitched the big idea to him over a year ago.

"In addition to being fascinated by the technical wizardry involved, I was really excited about a new way to show the audience a behind the scenes glimpse of this incredible team and all of the complex moving parts that put the show on the air every morning," Teta said.

Fast-forward to rehearsal day in May 2022: The staff and crew spent most of the afternoon running through their marks with the help of stage managers and the Xizmo flight team.

The first few runs with the drone – which was equipped with rubber bumpers for safety of others and protection for the machine — involved several bumps in the road and dropped radio signal with the pilot. Eventually, the drone pilot had the innovative idea to sit in a rolling office chair and have someone push him down hallways and corridors to maintain connectivity with the drone as it flew up and down floors separated by up to seven concrete walls.

Over three hours later, rehearsal for the 3-minute drone shoot was complete and most snags from the beginning of the day had been worked through. Of course, the true test would be the next day, when the actual shoot took place.

Segall requested two and a half hours for the shoot but, due to schedule constraints, there would be only one hour to film the ambitious project. Segall and the Xizmo team began to question taping the flight path in one pass and contemplated breaking the shoot into two parts, something they'd been intent on avoiding since the beginning.

Head of aerial operations at Xizmo, Eddie Kostakis, spoke on the difficulty of the drone shoot.

“I'll be honest, from the first day we walked in, I already started thinking how we needed to cut back and manage expectations,” Kostakis said. “I slept on that idea after the rehearsal. And the next day I decided, ‘Let's go for the entire thing.’"

"I enjoy a good challenge under pressure and I was determined to make it work," he continued. "It was the most complicated and challenging shoot we’ve ever had to do.”

After only 35 minutes and three takes, the shoot was complete. Unfortunately, their work wasn't done. Due to the drone's loud motor, which Segall compared to a mosquito buzzing loudly in your ear, the audio wasn't captured by the drone's GoPro 10 camera. Every line and sound effect from the flight path was separately recorded and layered into the project by "The View" editor Brian Davis.

The production resulted in one of the longest and most technically challenging, continuous drone shoots ever made. Teta said that he is "so proud" and "in awe" of the production.

“We’re incredibly proud of the final project,” Segall said. “It was a remarkable team effort and the perfect ending to our 25th anniversary season.”

The piece aired in Thursday's cold open, ahead of "The View" announcing their new co-hosts, Alyssa Farah Griffin and Ana Navarro.

”The View”’s original podcast series "Behind the Table" is available for free on major listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, TuneIn, Audacy and the ABC News app.