This video drone footage of recent riots in Poland has been causing quite a stir. I did a bit of research into it. Turns out, doing what this enterprising Polish man did is illegal in the UK, sadly. A company based up in Yorkshire licenses them in the UK for mostly building surveyancy purposes – getting footage of hard-to-reach industrial plants, big chimneys and suchlike. This will set you back up to £2,000 a day. You also need a license to fly them, despite the fact that they are under one metre in diameter, smaller than some model aircraft. Crucially, you also can’t fly them over crowds, like our Polish friend did. Oh well, never mind.
There is, however, another way. Earlier this year a CNN journalist strapped an inexpensive camera onto an AR Parrot Drone – an iPad/iPhone controlled helicopter-type thingy invented to help users have a AR-fuelled pretend plane battle, if you’re in to that kind of thing. Anyway, the CNN journo got some wobbly, but intriguing footage of storm damage after the Tuscaloosa storm, with kit of a combined value of $550.
Oddly, I’m not the only person who has become a little obsessed by the potential of drone journalism. The College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln established a Drone Journalism Lab in November:
In the lab, students and faculty will build drone platforms, use them in the field and research the ethical, legal and regulatory issues involved in using pilotless aircraft to do journalism. [About page]
And finally, a tutor at St Martins Scool of Art in London has been getting in on the act too:
This stuff really seems to be taking off.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.