Last weekend my fellow writers and filmmakers Jon and Travis helped out at a video shoot for a local web series. Part of the shoot involved an unmanned remote-controlled drone, which are becoming cheaper for consumers to purchase (Brookstone, for example, offers one with a built-in HD camera for just $300). In an piece for Outside, Joe Spring takes a look at how these consumer drones and inexpensive consumer HD cameras could change adventure filmmaking.
Unmanned drones, once used primarily by the U.S. Department of Defense for wartime operations, are becoming a staple in the adventure world, deployed to do everything from monitor endangered orangutans in Indonesia to aid in search-and-rescue efforts in Colorado. But they’ve become especially popular with filmmakers. This is partly because, even at upwards of $5,000 per day, a drone runs a fraction of the cost of a helicopter rental. It can also get close to athletes without propeller wash kicking up snow or dust. And since drones are unmanned, they allow filmmakers to take greater risks in pursuit of the ultimate shot. In the past few years, unmanned drones have captured innovative footage of surfers in Australia, mountain bikers in England, and skiers in Oregon.