How drones will make you love TV sports coverage again (promise!)

Give it another few years and drones will completely change the way we watch sports. See this footage of the recent rally of Monte Carlo. I’m not a rally fan, but there’s something exhilerating about seeing these cars roar through the S-turns from directly overhead. The footage was shot by a lightweight octocopter fitted with a camera and operated by FS Aviations, a German company:

According to FS Aviation’s site, the drones can start shooting footage or pictures within 15 minutes of arrival. Compared to loading a camera crew into a helicopter, that’s a huge time win. The drones are ‘fast and flexible’ and have no minimum altitude either, which means that they can stay a lot closer to the action. For a good idea of how close, check these clips shot by HeliPOV, a UK firm:

In events like the Tour de France, this could mean a huge increase in quality. The helicopters currently used in cycling are usually flying too high or too far to distinguish the numbers on the backs of the riders. Maybe drones could even eliminate the need for camerapeople on those heavy motorcycles. Although they cause surprisingly few accidents, they’re clearly a hazard, as Nicki Sorensen will surely agree:

The main limitation for now is the batteries. The drones can fly for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, which is… very short. FS Aviation says “a mobile charging station allows 8 – 9 hours continuous use”, probably through battery swapping.

At this time, the drones require both a cameraman and a pilot to operate, but they do have GPS and autopilot. They can be fitted with shake free Full HD camera’s up to 4k resolution.

Spotted by the inimitable @jeroom

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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