Saturday, 12 July 2014

Attack of the TV drones.

We are currently in the midst of yet another passing fad in the TV news and photography industry. You will have read about them... Drones and drone journalism. They are bloody everywhere. In fact, so prevalent are they, i'm forever swatting them away and getting them tangled in my hair outside court.

1st delivery of the PeeInABottleDrone to Winchester Crown Court went disastrously wrong.

I jest... But a general internet search will reveal that drones and drones for use in journalism are in the forefront of peoples minds when it comes to pretty much anything creative these days. There are of course, some notable exceptions where some brilliant photography work is being done, the most excellent Lewis Whyld being a case in point.

I have however read some quite awful bollocks about just what a drone could be used for. Amazon told us that it could deliver all manner of expensive tat via a drone landing in your garden, forgetting of course, those that live in high rise apartments. And then of course there is this, an article from Gizmodo, telling us that we can now do away with lighting assistants in the photography industry. Just open up a box and hey presto, 10 lighting drones with power to fly, light and examine the scene before them. (Don't worry about where the power comes from, they didn't.)

In light of this new information, i think that if we are to go down this route of using drones for news gathering, then we should do it bloody well properly. As such, i have retired to my shed with a pad, pencil and a few pieces of wood, batteries and some left over child's Meccano. I have come up with a few blueprints for other drones that we could use in the news industry apart from taking video etc...

1. BaconBapDrone. Delivers piping hot bacon baps to news cameramen wherever they may be.

2. CoffeeDrone. As above, but coffee, obviously.

3. CakeDrone. As above, but cake... now you're getting the idea.

4. PeeInABottleDrone. (This one's a real go'er.) For emergency toilet facilities. It flies in, you pee in the attached bottle and it flies back to the news producer who will gladly empty it into the toilet for you.

5. UmbrellaDrone. Follows the cameraman around about 3 Ft above the head, keeping the camera and it's operator dry in inclement weather. (Not suitable for hurricanes.)

This is as yet, as far as i have got in the building of suitable drones for use in the news industry. I am currently in negotiation with the Civil Aviation Authority here in the UK for licences to fly. Having written to them on various occasions, i have yet to receive a reply other than "Are you joking?"

No SireeBob, i most certainly am not. This time next year Rodney...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.