One of my last nights spent out west found me in the driveway of my parents’ house in Spokane. It was the early evening of Easter Sunday as my dad, brother, and I watched my sister’s husband play with his new toys. Puffing on cigars we watched Jay use his thumbs to manage the remote control he held in both hands. We all got a pretty good kick watching the device that he was controlling.
Never since that Easter had I seen a quadcopter before. That night I saw two as Jay brought both of his treasured gadgets over to the Reser residence for some flying time. For those who don’t know, quadcopters are drones. They are tiny machines that fly high in the air, manipulated by a person with a remote control on the ground. My dad, Glen, and I watched as Jay put on an exhibition of sorts. He shot it way up into the sky at fast speeds. He sent it across the street to the playground at the park where kids stopped playing to look up. He entertained the people out for a Sunday stroll who stopped at the edge of our driveway to marvel at the small aircraft and ask questions. He made the neighbor dog go absolutely nuts by hovering the craft over his head, just slightly beyond his out of control leaps.
I enjoyed the show and thought the things were pretty cool. However as I moved across the country the quadcopter display became a long lost memory…until recently. Last week as I walked across campus I passed our video team having a great time flying around their own quadcopter. Although they all had smiles on their faces they weren’t merely taking the drone for a joy ride. This model came equipped with a camera and they were using it to make a sweet aerial video showcasing the Coastal Carolina campus. When I saw the finished product this week I was amazed at the quality, beauty, and height of the footage. Say goodbye to the necessity of rounding up a helicopter and crew to go airborne, things are now much easier.
Coincidently this Sunday I became exposed to yet another use of drones. In an “Outside the Lines” report I learned that many football teams at the college and high school level are now using the machines to take practice video. It goes without saying that evaluating formations and player performance from up above is advantageous. With the recent easy availability of quadcopters combined with the flawless images recorded by them why wouldn’t you use the technology? Well because there are legal ramifications. But that is not for this blog post. It is worth noting though that this potential stumbling block has also made sporting teams think twice about using them as part of the gameday experience.
Crazy to think that normal civilians used to not have access to drones. The military enjoyed exclusivity with the technology but no more. The masses now have their hands on them and it is improving both how we have fun and how we shoot video. Talk about a win-win. Don’t Blink.