Monthly Archives: June 2016

.

Drones and UAVs in Cinematography & Film Production

Unmanned aerial vehicles surely made a lot of our daily tasks easier. Nowadays, we have Amazon Prime Air, a drone-empowered air delivery service and CyberHawk, a drone-operated live inspection service. Both of these are a testament of how developed drones have become. Although drones have been used in several industries, their contribution is yet to reach its optimum potential. However, perhaps this is not the case in cinematography and film production, an industry at which drones became an immovable production pillar in the last years.

In the era of billion-dollar blockbusters and computer-generated imagery, getting exquisite shots during filmmaking is indispensable. Drones help movie directors do exactly that. It’s fair to say that they have changed the way directors shoot movies. With the help of drones, directors nowadays can shoot impossible shots. The modern drones are easy to operate. They are simple enough for cinematographers who are familiar with remote controls and joysticks to capture excellent shots. Drones made techniques like aerial and crane shots easily doable if you’re a good drone pilot. Especially that the cameras strapped to drones are equipped with three axes stability, which almost guarantees a perfect shot, even if you’re not that good of a pilot.

The cinematic possibilities are large and the sky’s the limit. Recently in a segment in Good Morning America, a company called DJI that manufactures drones for filmmaking, showed footage filmed by a drone of an erupting volcano in Iceland. Before the introduction of drones, such footage was almost impossible to take. It was too risky for humans and too far away for satellites, which neither had the lens or the angle to capture such unique footage. The footage looked like a piece from a natural science documentary. It was equal quality as ground footage shot by camera men.

DJI, owned by Chinese drone overlord Frank Wang, announced on the 17th of April the release of the most powerful drone ever to be used in filmmaking, the Matrice 600. A short video was released online demonstrating how powerful this new drone is. The video featured a cinematography director filming a martial arts scene using the drone in Beijing. The new Matrice 600 is compatible with a wide range of attachable cameras. It allows professional cameramen to use small DSLR cameras like Canon, Panasonic, Black Magic, Sony, Nikon, and large RED cameras as if they’re being handheld. The footage shown was spectacular, to say the least.

The Matrice 600 is only the beginning of a new line of powerful camera-carrying drones that is changing the very nature of filmmaking as we know it. Previously, large movie franchises like James Bond’s Skyfall and the Harry Potter series have used drones to film some famous scenes. With the success of these filming techniques, one can only expect that at some point flying drones and unmanned aerial vehicles will take over film cinematography entirely, rendering the regular cameraman obsolete and reducing his role to a remote control holder. Luckily for the film industry, directors are tinkerers by nature and learning new tricks always falls in the audience’s favor.

UAVLANCE.com, the one stop shop for all your UAV needs.

LOOKING FOR A DRONE PILOT?

Simply create a job and watch as the top pilots in the country bid for your work. And payments are held in escrow, so pilots get paid on time, and you don’t release payment until you’re 100% satisfied!

There is no job too big or complex. There are pilots on UAVLance qualified for EVERY aerial need.

.

Drones and UAVs in Air Delivery & Freight Services

The fact that drones are linked with military operations and unlawful trespassing behavior often overshadows the peaceful and important role they play in civil airspace. Nowadays, drones play a significant role in almost all fields of life. Farmers use them to water plants, camera men use them to capture exquisite shots, astronauts use them to explore planets, and recently mega corporations started to invest heavily in unmanned air delivery & freight services.

The recent increase in the rates of drone use encouraged big companies in the air delivery and freight industries to invest in drone based delivery. It even prompted corporations who aren’t associated with air delivery and freight services at all to experiment with the idea.

On November 28th, Cyber Monday, Amazon announced their futuristic delivery system that’s expected to deliver packages to customers within only 30 minutes. They played a video that showed an aircraft delivering a pair of sneakers to a customer with consummate ease. They announced that they service will be named Amazon Air Prime. In April 2015, Amazon Air Prime began testing their first parcelcopter. The date at which their first parcelcopter is expected to begin operating is yet to be announced however with development reaching its peak and the beginning of the testing phase, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, announced recently that they’re expected to start operation late 2018.

According to forecasts, drones based air delivery and freight services are expected to reach the large sum of $36.9 billion by 2022, achieving an unprecedented rate in the history of delivery and freight services.

The birth of drone-based air delivery and freight services isn’t geographically restricted to US only but also Europe. Earlier in 2016, Swiss Post Ltd. announced that they’re going to launch their own line of drone manufacturing to be used in post and parcels delivery. Such a breakthrough will change the nature of air delivery and freight services. The company announced that its aim to provide affordable drone based delivery to Swiss residents. If the project as imagined was successfully implemented it will mark another unprecedented milestone by creating a drone service affordable to the common man, as opposed to Amazon’s services which is expected to be expensive in pricing and thus available exclusively to the elite and rich.

The world as we know it will definitely see an irreversible change once the drone based air delivery and freight services kick in. Automation has already taken over a large portion of our lives and with the introduction of drones as integral part of our daily routine, automation will be thorough and full to say the least. The prophecies of science-fiction novels will be fulfilled and our lives will become easier than ever. At the end this was meant to happen, our lives were meant to be automated. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, our thinkers realized that machines are the future and humans are nothing but obsolete.

.

The Growth of UAVs and the Risks It Poses to the Public

UAVs are being used for a number of civilian and commercial purposes, from photography and videography, survey and mapping, inspections, transport to network swarming where they work together to complete a task. This article discusses some of UAV’s current commercial applications and the risk that the growth of UAVs poses on the public.

Agriculture and Wildlife

UAVs can be used to monitor many aspects of agriculture. Apart from offering an aerial inspection of the crops, they can help in inspecting soil erosion and other parameters that are hard to observe from the ground. Japanese were the first people to have used this technology for agricultural purposes. There are many types of UAVs that are being used in the agriculture sector nowadays. In addition to agriculture, they can prove to be quite helpful in forestry too. They can take photos of the forests as well as the wildlife present in them to keep a steady count of the animals living in there. Moreover, they can be used to assist in putting out forest fires that may erupt from time to time.

Earth Sciences

Although various satellites are being used for studying different aspects of earth there is still need for aerial inspections to completely understand weather phenomena. The use of UAVs in this field can help in this regard and make it a lot easier for scientists to predict climate and weather changes more accurately.

Security and Law Enforcement

The borders as well as internal security can be very well taken care of with UAV technology. They can also play a crucial role in law enforcement too. They can be used for assisting the police in catching criminals and collecting evidence, search and rescues, surveillance and more.

Commercial Sector

UAVs may replace manned vehicles in the commercial field as some services have little need for human involvement, including transporting commodities from one place to another with ease.

Despite all of the promise that UAVs have shown, the commercial use of these aerial vehicles is still in its initial developmental phase. You may not see transport activities being carried out with the help of UAVs in the near future because of the risks they pose.

Safety Risks Related to UAV Transport

It is the duty of the national airspace authority to make sure that the airspace remains safe. However, UAV transport poses a great threat to airspace safety as it is extremely hard to control the drone’s flight pattern especially when it is flying into an area where various airplanes carrying passengers and goods are present. The following are some of the safety risks that may arise because of UAV transportation.

Air Collisions

The risks of air collisions increase when an airborne vehicle is not operated by a sensible and trained pilot. So, when we are talking about a UAV which isn’t controlled by any pilot, the chances of a collision happening in the air multiply greatly. While the pilot of a manned aircraft can detect the presence of vehicles flying in their vicinity and take evasive action quickly, a drone cannot make that call unless it is directed to do so from the ground. Thus, UAVs are more likely to get involved in an air collision than piloted aircraft. Unless this safety issue is resolved, the future of UAV transport looks questionable.

Ground Collisions

It is not only the collision of the UAV with other aircraft in the air that may cause great damage. They can collide with objects on the ground too, causing damage to both people and their properties. There is always a possibility of the UAV going berserk due to loss of signal from the operator or some technical fault in the system. This will pose a risk of the UAV falling from the air and crashing in a populated area. This may lead to the debris entering the houses or people getting killed as a result of the direct impact. This, however will depend on various factors such as,

· The population size

· The size of the debris

· The reliability of the vehicle

· History of failure of the device

System Reliability

When it comes to relying on the devices and gadgets solely based on technology there is always an apprehension because of the history of failures that one has seen through the years. UAVs controlled from the ground that are operated using human intelligence can be manipulated as the on-ground pilot take decisions based on the situation. However, such systems too have been seen to crash and become the major cause of loss of lives during transport. The most common reason for accidents of this sort has been failure of various parts and machinery of the aircraft. So, when it comes to leaving decision making to machines that only operate as per pre-fed instructions, the risk of accidents increases many folds. It will take a lot of research and analysis to produce a system that is reliable in future. However, as of now the use of UAVs is still under observation and it will take many more years for them to share the airspace with manned aircraft.

Insurance Issues

Getting insurance is also an important issue as people find it extremely hard to get their UAVs insured. The main problem cited by many insurance providers is the susceptibility of the system to failure. In addition to this, the safety issues related to the UAVs is another concern why insurance companies are reluctant to insure these aerial vehicles.

Privacy and Security Issues

Privacy is a major concern associated with drone use as no one wants UAVs peeping into their homes while flying past them. Moreover, the UAVs themselves are not very safe and can be hacked any time. If a drone is hacked by terrorists then they can use it for their ulterior motives, risking the life of millions.

So, because of all of these issues and concerns, governments all over the world are reluctant to go forward with UAV transport for now.

UAVLANCE.com, the one stop shop for all your UAV needs.

LOOKING FOR A DRONE PILOT?

Simply create a job and watch as the top pilots in the country bid for your work. And payments are held in escrow, so pilots get paid on time, and you don’t release payment until you’re 100% satisfied!

There is no job too big or complex. There are pilots on UAVLance qualified for EVERY aerial need.

.

The History of Drones and How They Came Into Every Day Use

Like any other great invention, drones have been around for many years, although they were not available for general public and were not as easy to fly as they are today. The modern drones are now controlled with the help software applications and are capable of sending back real-time imagery in high resolution along with flight parameters and status to analyze the data for various useful purposes. These machines are now officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and they are found in many types and sizes depending on the functionality they offer and their purpose.

Why Build Drones?

The development of modern drones has remained a practice throughout the world and even in developing countries because these machines have unlimited uses. They allow you to remove pilots from areas of danger. Since the machines do not house a pilot, there is no need for a cockpit and other accessories that a pilot requires in order to fly an aircraft. This cuts significantly on the costs required to build an aircraft.

Cost is a major consideration when it comes to building aircraft and other defense equipment and machines as there is usually not enough budget to fulfill all requirements. Military drones are being used for a number of purposes, most importantly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Modern drones fulfill these requirements to a great extent as timely and accurate information acquisition is very important for the success of all military projects. The machines are able to provide continuous surveillance and a complete and accurate picture of enemy resources in order to plan a successful combat.

Drones have also been used extensively for weather research and monitoring. There is a need to inform the concerned authorities especially the Navy in case of a dangerous weather. If there is a failure to forecast a bad weather, it results in great loss of transport, cargo, and precious human lives.

Brief History of Drones

Today’s cruise missiles have a very well-known precursor known as the aerial or naval torpedo. However, this type of weapon was supposed to be dropped into water in order to reach its target and therefore was associated with the navy. These were first introduced in World War I and were still popular during World War II. These devices and other aircraft used by the military personnel without a pilot on board were later termed unmanned aerial vehicles. This term became popular in the early 1990’s when robotic aircraft were developed to carry out various operations. Drones were defined as;

Vehicles powered by batteries that take off the ground using aerodynamic forces and fly in the air autonomously or through a remote controller or transmitter and can also carry a payload are known as unmanned aerial vehicles.

Aircraft such as cruise missiles and ballistic vehicles do not come under this category. Also, unpowered vehicles, such as gliders are not included in this list. Aerial vehicles used for combat missions without a pilot are now more commonly known as “drones”.

In 1920’s, pilotless aircraft were tested by the Army and these were called “Bugs”. These machines were controlled by electrical and vacuum-pneumatic controls. After some time, the aircraft automatically turned itself off and would fall to the ground. It was a very heavy vehicle – weighing up to 80 kg and wherever it fell, it was considered an enemy target. Today’s guided missiles can be traced back to this forerunner that was discontinued around the end of 1920’s. A couple of decades later anti-aircraft target practice came into being and for this pilotless planes were used. Much later, USA started using drones that were not very technically advanced for the purpose of electronic intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, and surveillance. However, since data transfer was not as fast as it is today, the filming for intelligence gathering wasn’t of much use. By the time it reached the concerned authorities, it was too late. Another aircraft was developed in the 1950s that was powered by a jet and used rocket assistance for launch. This drone was used to carry out pre-programmed missions as well as reconnaissance and autonomous flights. This was probably the best match of today’s lightweight, powerful drones and has provided many of its useful features to its successors. Other machines were also developed and tested, but they didn’t become popular or successful.

Aircraft versus Aerial Vehicles

There is a need to differentiate between the terms aircraft and aerial vehicles. Aircraft encompass all airborne flying machines governed by some sort of government regulations and if they are operated by pilots these personnel need to be licensed. However, the term unmanned aerial vehicle refers to a machine that can be used even by a layman and requires no regulated training or license of any sort. Since the FAA is chartered to regulate aircraft, it coined the term remotely operated aircraft or ROA that defined all aerial vehicles remotely controlled by a user that didn’t need to be a certified pilot to fly these machines.

The modern aerial vehicles are successors of those machines that were developed in the 1970s by Israel. These flying machines were meant for battlefield data collection and were responsible for sending back real-time data for analysis. Other similar projects were developed for a number of different purposes including;

· Naval gunfire spotting

· Adjusting artillery fire

· Surveillance

· Target acquisition

Countries other than the USA and Israel that are working on the development of modern more sophisticated drones and aerial vehicles include China, Japan, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain.

UAVLANCE.com, the one stop shop for all your UAV needs.

LOOKING FOR A DRONE PILOT?

Simply create a job and watch as the top pilots in the country bid for your work. And payments are held in escrow, so pilots get paid on time, and you don’t release payment until you’re 100% satisfied!

There is no job too big or complex. There are pilots on UAVLance qualified for EVERY aerial need.

.

UAV Types, Classifications and Purposes

UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and it covers all remotely controlled machines that are also known as quadcopters as well as aircraft used by the US air force. These machines are mainly used by military and police officers to carry out an operation where a manned aircraft seems impractical or too risky. Unmanned aircraft are not new; they have been in use since the World War I. However, at that time the control was mechanical and the aircraft could only go as far as the fuel would allow.

Later on, devices that could be controlled with the help of radio or infra-red technology were developed. These devices became the predecessors of the modern quadcopter that employs integrated circuit or computer chips and can be programmed to fly for a definite time period in a definite direction fulfilling a definite purpose. This design gave rise to the latest quadcopters that are available on the market for hobbyists of all ages who love to fly them.

UAV Classification According to the US Air Force

UAVs can be classified into many different types depending on the purpose for which they are used. However, not all of these are available on the market for general public. The ones available on the market are usually called quadcopters that come with or without a camera and GPS meant for fun or entertainment purposes. Some commercial units are also made to achieve objectives specific to a company or business. However, the more advanced machines used by the US air force are classified into three main types;

1. Extremely small UAVs, also known as micro AV or MAV

2. Low altitude, long endurance UAVs

3. Medium altitude, long endurance UAVs (aka ‘MALE’)

4. High altitude, long endurance UAVs (aka ‘HALE’)

Examples of these UAVs include Global Hawk, Mariner, Hunter, Predator, and Fire Scout. These are large, sophisticated flying machines with a satellite data link system, cameras, radar, laser designators and weapons. Most of these are fully autonomous, which means they are intelligent devices capable of decision making during their flight. They capture battle damage information in real time and convey it back to the soldiers on ground. They are able to provide continuous operations for up to 7 or 8 hours of staying in the air.

Functional Classification of UAVs

There are six functional categories of UAVs and these machines are designed to achieve a particular objective. The purposes that they fulfill include target acquisition, battlefield intelligence, attack (also known as unmanned combat air vehicle), cargo and logistics, research and development, and commercial UAVs. UAVs are also classified according to their size and these are known as micro, miniature, midsize, and large military-specific or combat.

The main function that makes these UAVs different from the ones available off-the-shelf is their ability to fly autonomously. This means that the vehicle is able to make decisions depending on its flight to change direction, capture images, or return to ground. These machines come equipped with various sensors and in order to make a decision, the input from different sensors is merged. They are also able to communicate with other UAVs flying around as well as with ground stations and satellites. They are capable of determining the ideal course for achieving a mission. These powerful capabilities make them extremely sensitive and sophisticated devices and these operations are not available in quadcopters used for the purpose of fun and entertainment.

Hobbyist UAVs

Hobbyist UAV are the most common type and come in various sizes, designs, prices and functionality. Hobbyist UAVs that can be further classified into three main types:

· Ready-to-Fly (RTF)

· Bind-and-Fly (BNF)

· Almost-Ready-to-Fly (ARF)

Ready-to-Fly are the most commonly used UAVs among general public, hobbyists, and entrepreneurs. As it is clear from the name, these types of flying machines do not need much assembly as they come equipped with the required functionality and you only need to put in the batteries and you are good to go.

These RTF vehicle are designed to provide the user with many basic and advanced features, which are quite useful for a number of applications. The latest quadcopters come with a 12 MP camera for taking excellent quality aerial photos as well as record 4K video. They also offer live HD video streaming on your smartphone or any other hand-held device. The newest ones are associated with a mobile app to give you more control over its functionality as well as use a flight simulator for learning to fly. The flight times vary from model to model, but a fairly good quality quadcopter provides up to 30 minutes of continuous flight time.

Bind-and-Fly, on the other hand, requires you to first bind the machine with its transmitter before taking it off ground. Such a machine is not meant for hobbyists as it requires a little assembly, which only experts can handle. Similarly, ARF or Almost-Ready-to-Fly aircraft require some sort of assembly before they could be used. These machines come with an instructions manual so that anyone could assemble it easily and quickly. They are perfect for expert pilots who already have the radio equipment (the transmitter and the receiver) and are only looking for other parts to complete the structure of their vehicles.

All these UAVs are available off-the-shelf in the price range of $50 to $3,000 and even more depending on their specifications, model, and overall design. Most quadcopters are very robust and durable and therefore they last for a long time if handled properly.

Although these UAVs are considered friendly they do pose threat to public safety as they can mistakenly fly over private property and no-fly zones, or collide with another aircraft, damage something or crash land somewhere unknown. It is therefore advisable to follow the precautionary measures while flying these seemingly harmless quadcopters for the sake of fun in order to ensure safety.

UAVLANCE.com, the one stop shop for all your UAV needs.

LOOKING FOR A DRONE PILOT?

Simply create a job and watch as the top pilots in the country bid for your work. And payments are held in escrow, so pilots get paid on time, and you don’t release payment until you’re 100% satisfied!