Click is up in the air to find out how to fly and film from drones big and small. Plus the team go to flight school to hone their quadcopter piloting skills.
Browse content similar to 09/08/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
MUSIC OVER SPEECH
Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly. And welcome to Oslo in Norway.
If you are wondering why we have such a spectacular opening shot
this week, well, firstly it never hurts.
Secondly, it's because this week we
are looking at the latest unmanned aerial vehicles.
These are the drones.
Yep, we're up in the air to find out how to fly
and film from drones big and small.
We'll take you to flight school to hone your piloting skills
and we will get the lowdown on the research that could make these
things make themselves.
All that, plus the latest tech news
and the very best of this week's web in Webscape.
Flying high, dipping low.
Going fast or holding steady?
These are the easy to fly, ultra stable radio-controlled
aircraft many of us have been waiting for.
Coolest of all, they now come fitted with cameras.
In the last couple of years, drones have hit the skies
and are already being put to work in all kinds of fields,
from following the action on the pitch to getting that million
pound mansion shot for your property sale.
Hobbyists are also taking some pretty amazing shots,
and giving birth to two new buzzwords in the process.
Forget "Instagram" and the "selfie",
all rise for the "dronestagram" and "dronie"!
Of course, the word "drone" conjures up darker pictures too.
It's also the name given to the much larger remote-control planes
controversially used in warfare, and inevitably even the smaller
helicopters that we are interested in can and have been weaponised.
Like this one, which is fitted with a Taser.
But there is evidence that drones can save lives too,
by acting as eyes in the sky in search and rescue ops.
Some can even fly autonomously, following the owner,
as they do things where you really do need both hands on the job.
And of course, they are a godsend for low-budget film-makers,
who can now get the shots that they have only ever dreamt of.
-Are you hurt?
And that is where this chap comes in.
This is the Mini Pro, the first of its kind,
a really compact drone capable of carrying heavy stuff,
like professional film equipment.
And this is the kind of thing it can do...
This is the city of Trondheim as only the birds have seen it before.
Norwegian production company Fram Film specialises in filming
scenery from interesting angles,
and as camera operator Grim Berge explained,
drones give you many different perspectives from one camera.
You can do interesting aerials
that a helicopter can't do.
You can go a lot closer
to a subject.
You can follow someone through the park.
You can go from a close-up of you, for example,
and in one shot go up and see this whole park.
It seems it only needs a couple of people to do what previously
would have taken a lot of people.
Even if it is just going smoothly along the ground.
It's replacing a lot of dolly shots and crane shots that usually
would need ten people to do.
It's also something in itself, a completely new thing,
and when something is new it is very exciting visually.
The Mini Pro has eight blades,
two on each of four ultralight carbon fibre arms.
It's carrying a Canon 5D,
the type of stills camera that also shoots high quality video.
And this isn't the only drone that we have come to see.
As pilot Eric Solberg configured this eight-armed beast,
I got the tech breakdown from Grim.
I like this. It looks as if you are going shark fishing!
-That's to take the strain off your hands.
The drone consists of two parts.
One part is what I call the flying spaghetti monster...
..all these arms with eight propellers,
which is giving uplift and flying the drone.
The second part is with the camera and the legs,
and all these motors and wires and all that.
We can control the camera itself,
so we can tilt and we can shift and we can pan,
and do some interesting camera shots.
This is more than a one-person job?
This is basically two separate things stuck together?
It's possible to fly a drone, one man alone, but if you want to
do this professionally and you want good results, you need two people.
There's one camera operator, like me in this case,
and one pilot, which is Eric.
And with so much power and weight to control,
you can see why you wouldn't want to try and steer the copter
and the camera at the same time.
Oh, my goodness, it's gone!
In fact, they both recently took the drone to Svalbard
to shoot part of the video
for the UK band Clean Bandit's new song, Come Over.
One of the things that makes this work for professional film-makers
is the way it can shoot rock steady shots
even in an unforgiving environment.
As the aircraft tilts and wobbles,
the ultra-high-definition Black Magic camera is kept completely stable
by the auto balancing gimbal that holds it.
And how quickly can the gimbal react,
if you're buffeted by some wind or if you want to accelerate the drone,
can it react quickly enough to keep the camera rock-steady?
It's, er... 400 times per second it compensates,
so it's not going to be any delay that anyone's going to notice.
Steadier than our cameraman!
There's plenty more from the skies and the ground in a couple of minutes, after this week's tech news.
In what's said to be the largest data breach ever known,
a Russian group has hacked 1.2 billion usernames and passwords
belonging to more than 500 million e-mail addresses.
Hold Security, a US firm specialising in discovering breaches,
claimed the stolen information came from over 420,000 websites,
including many that it describes as leaders in virtually all industries
across the world.
The firm didn't give details of the companies affected by the hack.
If you don't know your tablets from your phablets, ask a six-year-old.
According to a study by Ofcom,
six-year-olds have a greater understanding of digital tech
than the average 45-year-old.
The report claims digital knowledge peaks around 15 and drops thereafter.
The study also reports that the average British person
spends eight hours and 41 minutes using technology every day,
more time than they spend sleeping.
And Europe's Rosetta Probe has become the first spacecraft in history
to be manoeuvred alongside a comet.
The probe has taken ten years, five months and four days to catch up
with Comet 67P,
and it's begun sending back some amazing pictures of its surface.
The probe travelled almost 6.5 billion kilometres on its journey
to reach the comet and will now follow it around the sun
before deploying a craft to land on its surface in November.
Rumours that Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck are leading the mission
are, unfortunately, not true!
So we've established that drones are really useful for companies
wanting to produce amazing-looking videos.
But the reason everyone is getting so excited about these things
is because they are small and affordable enough
for almost anyone to muck about with.
They are not, however, quite easy enough to unbox and fly,
and there are rules about where you're allowed to fly them.
For example, not near the Norwegian royal palace!
And that's why Jen Copestake, Mark Cieslak and I
decided to spend a day at flight school.
Few things compare to the tranquillity
of the countryside in summer.
Tranquillity we're shattering with our drones.
This deserted airfield outside of London
is the perfect location for us
to practise flying three different drones
from three different ends of the spectrum.
But before taking to the skies, it's worth seeking advice
from an expert radio control aviator.
Right, so things I want you to check before you fly.
Make sure you control the atmosphere you're flying in,
so check the sun, the wind,
make sure you're safe for emergencies and eventualities,
check transmitter control and any site rules.
If you're flying on public property,
can you control everything in that environment?
If a horse rider was to come through, or a dog walker,
can you make sure you're safely away from them?
A couple of other things to bear in mind -
if you're using drones commercially, you must be licensed,
and even if you aren't flying them commercially
but are using a camera on your drone,
you have to stay 50 metres away from people
not involved in your activity.
Right, so we're ready to go.
I'll be flying the Extreme Flyer's Micro Drone 2.0.
It's a great entry-level option,
and is the cheapest aircraft we're testing.
That's reflected in the quality of the camera,
which couldn't be called HD.
Its controls are designed for real pilots
so it can be difficult to get to grips with
if you've never flown an aircraft before,
but you should be in control with a few hours of practice.
A special algorithm helps you do tricks in stunt mode.
It's incredibly nimble, perfect if you're filming extreme sports,
and despite its delicate appearance,
it is very rugged, and if anything DID break,
its modular design means it's easy to replace any parts.
Some of them can even be 3-D printed.
One of the most amazing things about it is you can launch it
from the ground or from the air.
I'll be flying the Parrot AR Drone 2.0.
It's fitted with forward and downward facing cameras.
To fly it indoors, there's an indoor hull
with prop guards to protect against spinning blades.
It doesn't need them outside, which helps improve its manoeuvrability.
The AR drone doesn't come with a controller.
Instead, it uses Wi-Fi and an app,
which works with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
Controlling this drone using a tablet is nowhere near as precise
as any of the drones that can be controlled using sticks,
But it does have one advantage.
The cameras that are on the AR drone,
any footage that they record is sent directly to this tablet,
and it's really easy to upload it and share it online.
Owners of Nvidia Shield hand-held
can make use of that device's analogue controllers as well.
The AR drone has been available for quite some time,
and it has a well supported ecosystem of augmented reality apps,
including dog fighting and air racing games.
But at this price point, it's difficult
to ignore the occasional lag that occurs when trying to control it.
A fun toy, but hardcore quadcopter aviators
might prefer our next offering.
Finally, I'll be flying the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus.
This one is for more serious flyers,
and it comes with plenty of useful features.
It has indicator lights to tell you from a distance
of any issues with, say, the battery.
There's a dashboard app for your phone, giving you its status,
GPS coordinates, and a view from its camera.
Oh, and it goes like a rocket, really fast and really high.
What's really surprised me about this drone is just how stable it is.
I mean, it's really responsive to the controls,
but if you let go of them...
..it just hangs there.
Which is pretty incredible.
But if you want to talk about stability, check out that camera.
It too has a gimbal, meaning no matter how the drone tilts
during flight, your footage is as smooth as Steadicam.
So, with a bit of practice,
you can shoot video that will knock your socks off.
Now, it is worth mentioning just one more time
how important safety is when flying one of these things.
They can fall out of the sky for no apparent reason.
So, our flight training continues.
But there is just time for one flight school selfie.
We've looked at the rules for flying your drones at home.
The aircraft we're filming with in Norway are, of course,
much heavier duty than those you can buy in the shop.
In fact, they're custom-made
by drone pilot and ex-engineer Erik Solberg,
at his Oslo workshop.
I joined him while he was tinkering with the Mini Pro
that we filmed with earlier
to find out what makes him and his drones tick.
And he told me that these things wouldn't be here at all
if it wasn't for the mobile phone.
The development in the sensors and gyros, gyroscopes,
and accelerometers, which are actually a part of every iPhone
and every mobile device today, you know,
those that when you flip the screen, it turns it round.
Without those sensors, it wouldn't be possible to do this.
So, if it goes a little bit like this,
it sends a signal to increase the power here,
and decrease here a bit.
So it does about 400 adjustments per second.
What is the thing that you would still most like to do
with a drone that you haven't done yet?
Well, if you look at these big ones...
This one here can lift approximately 100 kilos.
I weigh 75, so my craziest idea is to actually make a harness
similar to those '60s jet packs, have the drone over me,
and, you know, just take off and fly.
I find this drone technology fascinating.
I think you can tell that, can't you?
It's already advanced enough to bring us something that can fly
that's this small, and something that can fly that is this big.
But the whole industry is still just in its infancy, and even now,
they're dreaming up new jobs for these things to do.
Here's Mark Cieslak.
Drones or UAVs, unmanned air vehicles,
are already controversially employed
by an increasing number of air forces around the world.
BAe Systems is building what it thinks will evolve
into the next generation of this technology.
Called Taranis, it's an aircraft designed to demonstrate
technological capabilities, from stealth to advanced computers,
which fly the aircraft to and from its missions.
Taranis is designed to have limited autonomy.
Human pilots can still control the aeroplane remotely
from bases thousands of miles away.
The aircraft is designed to be almost invisible to radar.
That drives the shape of the aircraft,
and by definition, that makes it quite difficult to control.
The aeroplane has to fly itself.
The pilot is too slow when it's on the ground to respond to that,
so what the pilot is doing is, he's commanding the vehicle,
he's actually telling it where to go,
but the detail of how the aeroplane flies is done on board
by the mission system and the computers.
Much of the detail of this project is still top secret.
BAe is more forthcoming about some of its other future concepts,
though, including the transformer drone,
which saves fuel by forming up into an aerodynamically efficient wing.
When the aeroplane arrives at its destination,
it can split into three separate aircraft to perform individual tasks.
There's also the drone with an on-board 3D printer,
which could print parts, equipment or mini-drones
as required while performing a mission.
Concepts like these, though, are still some way from making
the jump from computer-generated animation to reality.
We've pitched this as being a possibility towards the 2040s
Now, we don't imagine that every single
component of one of these mini UAVs to be 3D printed,
but rather where you have common components across a range
of possible UAVs that may be produced,
then we may simply have those pre-fabricated
and select them from a type of carousel.
Some ideas just might be a bit closer to
flying in the not-too-distant future,
using drones to rescue people from remote
or dangerous locations, for instance.
While drones might be able to save people in the future,
they're saving animals lives right now.
SkyCap fly drones of their own design in support of anti-poaching
teams in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Kruger are losing a thousand rhino a year,
so brink of extinction stuff is going on.
With the anti-poaching stuff that we originally started with
approximately two years ago, we used fixed wing aircraft to provide a
surveillance up to about 10km range.
We began to realise that you can't land a fixed wing
aircraft in a forest or in dense savanna scrub,
so we wanted to look at a way to use multi rotors to do that
kind of work. But the problem was that multi rotors,
because of battery technology,
can only stay in the air, usually, for about ten or 15 minutes.
So we have created a long endurance quadcopter,
which will give us 60 minutes in the air,
carrying a thermal camera of a spectral imager,
so that we can get our anti-poaching teams the time
they need to make an interception, as required, on the ground.
From military operations to rescuing people and preventing poaching,
it would seem that the skies are about to get an awful lot busier.
Marc Cieslack. And from the open skies
to the open road next in webscape.
Now, if you are of a biking persuasion,
you will love exploring the world on two wheels no doubt.
But, apparently, the very next thing you need to do
when you finish each trip is blog about it...
at least, according to Kate Russell.
Not many people get to live out their dream of exploring,
but for photographer Alex Chacon,
burning up 125,000 miles on his motorbike was just the start.
You can see the routes he took and enjoy the outstanding photos
and video he shot at modernmotordiaries.com.
The most epic journey Alex has undertaken
so far was a 500-day ride from Alaska to Argentina,
and you can experience the stunning and extreme roads that cross Latin
America, riding along with him in this first person perspective video.
POP MUSIC PLAYS
Other features include around the world in 360 degrees,
a selfie that took three years to film.
It's easy to feel jealous of the amazing places
this adventurer has visited on his motorbike,
but thanks to modern technology,
we can at least experience some of the wonder.
One app that might come in handy after a long motorbike ride
is Brainwave, which is £2 on iOS.
It has a selection of 30 binaural programmes designed to stimulate
brainwave frequencies associated with various states of mind.
You'll need to put on headphones or listen on decent stereo speakers,
then the effect of the tones at similar frequencies
playing into your ears is supposed to promote a third frequency
that can have a physiological effect on your brainwave activity
to do thinks like stimulate your memory, relax for meditation,
or de-stress you after a hard day and boost your motivation.
You can choose to play the binaural tone sequence mixed with
-music from the iTunes playlists...
-POP MUSIC PLAYS
..or one of the relaxing ambient background tracks,
like rainfall, ocean waves or the sound of the forest.
Just the ticket to send you off for a restful night's sleep.
Check up the latest update to iOS photo sharing app Lenshare,
which now integrates photos,
sound and text into a simple storytelling layout.
The addition of sound is a lovely touch,
as you can record the atmosphere at an event to let those
who couldn't be there really experience it.
The developers tell me an Android version is also in the works.
POP MUSIC PLAYS
If only everything in life was so clearly labelled.
Thank you, Kate.
And that's it for our drones special from Norway.
I hope you enjoyed the shots.
They were a bit more dynamic than normal, weren't they?
For more from us, check out our website.
And, of course, on Twitter we live at @bbcclick.
But that's it. Thanks for watching
and I will leave you with a pretty tasty view of Oslo.
Click is up in the air to find out how to fly and film from drones big and small. Plus the team go to flight school to hone their quadcopter piloting skills. And get the lowdown on the research that could see drones 3D printing tiny versions of themselves in flight.