Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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25 unmanned systems inside August/September 2017 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. of drone video isn't in the sky, it's six or eight feet above the ground. They're being used as mov- able tripods. You get incredibly steady shots even while the aircraft is moving. It's much steadier than a handheld camera. Instead of taking a walking shot, photographers can shoot with the drone. If you're shooting video in a corn field you could stand on a ladder or you could fly over it and get really interesting, beautiful shots without interrupting anything on the farm." When the team at NBC-2 first invested in a drone, they wanted something that would make it possible to broadcast live, Ofenbeck said, which is why they decided on the DJI Inspire 1 Pro. At the time, it was one of the few UAS that featured a video output on the controller that they could connect to the live truck. The signal isn't great, however, and the video tends to break up—so while they have the ability to go live during a news event, it isn't a priority. Before deploying a drone, it's important for journalists to make sure they actually add value to the story, said Bill Allen, assistant profes- sor of science journalism at the University of Missouri. The temptation is to f ly drones for every story just because they're available, but if all you get is a pretty picture that doesn't move the story forward, then it probably isn't worth it. "The drone collects video that sup- plements the story," Rose said. "The whole story isn't told with a drone, but in certain cases there are great pictures from a drone that help to tell the story with a big benefit." Change in Coverage Incorporating drones into reporting does tend to impact the way news- rooms cover stories. For WBNS 10TV News Operations Manager Timothy Moushey and the rest of his Columbus, Ohio team, it has become part of their thought process during the morning meeting. When managers, reporters and producers talk about that day's news, they also think about how they can best use the drone to enhance their storytelling. They deploy UAS multiple times a week, and recently f lew to capture video of f looding that resulted from a heavy rainfall, and to cover a promotional event at the news station. "It changes the way we think about ap- proaching a story," CNN's Agvent said. "Drones aren't right for every story, so it challenges our producer to story board and to think about how it adds value. If we can't answer how it enhances the story we're telling, then we tend not to use the drone. For every 100 requests GREG AGVENT, SENIOR DIRECTOR, CNN AERIAL IMAGERY & REPORTING FOR CNN WORLDWIDE, said one of his favorite stories focused on a rock climber. Instead of the photographer shooting from the bottom of the cliff to get basic static shots, the drone took footage next to the man as he climbed. "Using the drone gave us more context," Agvent said. "There was more power in the images and better understanding of the relationship between the climber and the rock. You really got the sense you were on the rock alongside him." The image above is drone footage taken during a tough mudder obstacle race. LETTING VIEWERS KNOW Every time NBC-2 airs drone footage taken from its Sky2 aircraft, a Sky2 bug is placed in the corner of the video, said Todd Ofenbeck, a photojournalist and UAV Pilot in Command for Waterman Broadcasting's NBC-2 in Fort Myer, Florida. The reporter will say let's take a look from above with our Sky2 drone. This helps promote the fact they're using the drone to provide their viewers with the best coverage possible.

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