Drone shooting Sochi olympic TV

2014-02-11 17:38

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sochi - That drone you might have spotted hovering and zipping around the Sochi Olympic slopes isn't searching for terrorists or protesters hiding behind the fir trees.

It's being used to transmit live video of snowboard and ski jump competitions to a screen near you.

Unlike military drones, which often look like a remote-controlled aircraft, the creature floating around Sochi resembles a huge flying spider. Drones are increasingly common at sporting events, and these Olympics is the highest-profile showcase yet for their use in broadcasting.

Here's a few questions and some answers about the drone and its place at the Sochi Games.

Q: Why use a drone to film Olympic events?

A: "We can go really, really close. And we are really quiet, so nobody is distracted," said pilot and cameraman Remo Masina, who has used drones to film skiers in Switzerland for commercials.

And it's cheaper than a camera crew on a helicopter.

A drone with mounted camera can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $37 000 for a top-of-the-line Ikarus from Britain's Heliguy, which is advising broadcast clients in Sochi on using drones, said Heliguy's Justin Pringle.

That compares with the cost of a few thousand dollars an hour to rent a helicopter with pilot, not including the camera crew and equipment.

Flexibility is key. Drones allow unique angles and "allow more height than a crane, but are able to get lower than a helicopter," said a statement from Olympic Broadcasting Services, which provides the official world feed of all the events at the games and is using one drone in Sochi.

Broadcasting live from a remote-controlled device is more complicated than recording, but not hugely so. It requires an extra transmitter to send back live video, which adds weight and limits how fast the drones can fly. But Masina, who is not involved in the Olympic footage, said he can still fly a drone at up to 40 mph while transmitting a high-definition, live image.

Rotors

Q: How does the drones work?

A: The legs of this flying spider hold the rotors that spin around to keep it airborne. The drone then has a flight deck that holds the flight control system with GPS for navigation, sensors and receivers. Then there's the camera, which can be mounted in the middle or suspended below the flight deck.

Drones are being used to film major movies and television shows - Heliguy has provided drones for filming of the HBO series Game of Thrones. As demand grows, cameras are being designed with drones in mind.

Back on the ground, the pilot has a control deck, with monitors that show a real-time view of what the camera is capturing, as well as flight details including altitude, speed, rate of descent and ascent, and how much power is left in the battery.

Battery capacity is a limitation. Most drones can only run 40 minutes before they need to be recharged. But recharging video drones is still quicker and cheaper than refuelling a helicopter.

Also appearing in Sochi are cameras running on cables. They're also above the action, but have a more limited ability to move around a venue than does a free-flying drone.

Q: Couldn't a drone crash onto the crowd?

A: It could, but so could a much heavier helicopter.

Masina said chances of drone crashes are close to zero when a drone is handled by an experienced pilot, because the drones are programmed to return to base at the slightest problem - such as a low battery, rough winds or a malfunction.

There have been mishaps, however. In one case last year, a drone filming an imitation version of Spain's running of the bulls in Virginia crashed and injured a few spectators.

Hack

Q: Could hackers divert a drone?

A: It's possible. While military drones use encrypted GPS signals for navigation, the GPS signals used by civilian drones don't have that protection.

A team at the University of Texas successfully hacked a drone in an experiment in 2012 through something called "spoofing," or sending the drone incorrect information about its location. Todd Humphreys, head of the school's Radionavigation Lab, told a Congressional hearing it would be very difficult for an ordinary person to spoof a drone, although it might be within the capability of a terrorist or criminal network.

Cybersecurity has been a fear in Sochi, given the huge numbers of people in a relatively compact space and the sharp reputation of Russian hackers.

But since the video drones are not armed, there's a limit to the damage a hacker could do with them.

Q: Are drones legal to fly?

A: Local laws vary widely in terms of who can fly drones, where and for what purpose. Many countries impose restrictions for reasons of security and privacy, and so they won't interfere with aircraft.

For the Sochi Games, Olympic Broadcasting Services said a flight plan must be filed with the Russian civil aviation authority and permission obtained from local Russian police and the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

The Russian government also bought a fleet of drones to help spot terrorists or troublemakers in the Sochi area, operated by its security services.

In some countries, it's illegal to fly over crowds. Some countries require civilian users to keep the drone within sight of the pilot. Others have altitude restrictions. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration has been working for more than four years on regulations for the commercial use of small drones.

Q: So, is this the future of sports video?

A: Masina doesn't hesitate. "For sure."

- AP
Read more on:    sochi olympics  |  russia  |  technology
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Modderdam 14:07 PM
Road name: Robert Sobukwe Road

TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Amandel Road

Bellville 13:23 PM
Road name: N1 Outbound

ROADWORKS - left lane after the Old Oak Road exit

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.