We love a meta blog here at Studio 24-7. As we sit here writing this, Gatwick – one of the Uk’s busiest airports – is in chaos. It’s been on lockdown for over 24 hours after drone sightings on the runway. Hundreds of flights are cancelled and hundreds of thousands of people’s Christmas plans and holidays are ruined. All because of some utter #*!? breaking the law. (We’re low-key impressed that he or she is still going. That’s a lot of drone batteries and some good hiding).
So, at the risk of irritating the masses at Gatwick and really adding salt to the wounds, we thought we’d write a quick blog about why we love drones. When you’re responsible and flying them legally, like 99.98% of the pilots out there, they really are the best piece of technology. It’s important to remember that this incident is just one guy out of thousands. We’re really, REALLY hoping that the ensuing laws and legislation changes won’t be too detrimental to this emerging industry.
First and foremost – drones have been an absolute game changer for our own industry. They open up a whole other world of possibility. Being able to get such stunning wide angle landscape shots that really establish a location weren’t always so easy, you see. Before drones we would’ve had to hire a helicopter, or a jib arm. Can you imagine how much more these things cost? If we couldn’t afford the helicopter or the jib arm, we wouldn’t get such enticing shots. The drone has made them pretty much redundant and saved us a tonne!
Alongside that, they’re just bloody good fun aren’t they? Humans have always been infatuated with the ability to fly and when you’re at the controls of a drone, you’re one step closer. Experiencing the birds-eye view is special and it allows us to view locations in completely different, unique way. In an industry where every single shot of every location has been done one hundred times before, to suddenly have all this new ground to break was really exciting. Check out our drone reel below to see how we’ve been using them over the years.
Construction and surveying
These new angles haven’t just opened up new opportunities in filming. The use of drones in construction has grown massively over the last few years. Being able to send a drone up and get a close-up view of what’s going on whilst remaining on the ground has saved humans a lot of time and money.
Just imagine if you’re the project manager for a new suspension bridge and some cables have snapped in high winds during the night. Rather than send two of your workmen up to survey the damage which comes with all sorts of health and safety paperwork and logistical issues, you can now mitigate the risk by simply sending a drone up. Within five minutes you can see what the problem is, record the necessary data and land. It’s almost too easy.
“Drones lower the costs of projects, increase productivity and enhance data sets through improvements in photographic visualization. Improvement in surveying accuracy would be another benefit of using drones in construction which would help in saving both time and money. Increased use of drones in the construction industry will create new jobs and add value to the economy” – GeoSpatialWorld.
Speaking of bridges, have a read of this article documenting how the Kentucky and Minnesota state transportation departments recently used Intel drones to make photogrammetry models of their state bridges. The bridges were far too busy and important to shut down, so drone technology was the perfect answer!
They’ve been used in building surveys, construction site inspections, health and safety briefs, maintenance inspections, project progress reports, promotional photography, live feeds/virtual walk-arounds, site logistics, point cloud/laser scanning and thermal imaging recording. For more detail about that we can highly recommend this excellent article.
Impressive stuff eh? Alongside surveying construction projects and buildings, they’ve also helped in surveying the damage from natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes. In July 2018 the Indonesian Island of Lombok was rocked by a series of huge earthquakes. In the aftermath, drones helped to survey the damage and aid rescue workers. Check out some of the harrowing footage in the video below.
The Volta delta meanwhile, located along the eastern coast of Ghana, is a hot spot for erosion and flooding. Kwasi Addo Appeaning and his team used drones to monitor flooding in Fuvemeh, a vulnerable coastal community in this delta. You can read the full article here. And if you have a lot of time, you can even check out the full study and its findings here. It’s a fascinating read!
That last bit there linked in nicely to this next section. It’s almost as if the author of this blog planned it all out.
Drones have been utilised to save people’s lives which is just the most awesome thing. Notice how badly California and other parts of the world have been suffering from wildfires out of control? Drones are now at the forefront of the fight to tackle and control these blazes. Check out the brilliant video from CNET that does a much better job at explaining it all.
Their article is pretty good too. Great stuff, CNET.
Another one of our favourite stories on this particular topic comes from the land down under. Lifeguards in Sydney have been using drones to quite literally save lives. When two young swimmers were caught out by a gnarly rip tide last summer, lifeguards (who at the time were only flying on a training exercise) suddenly had to use the drone in a live situation. They flew over far faster than any human could’ve reached them and dropped an inflatable rescue pod. Good on ya, fellas. There’s even a video on the BBC article that shows the dramatic rescue.
Drones have also been busy saving lives via delivery. Check out this Telegraph article where a drone managed to save a woman’s life in rural Africa. Having gone in to labour and quickly losing blood, her doctors sent a text. Within 25 minutes, a drone had flown in from 50 miles away and dropped a parachute of vital blood. Absolutely incredible.
There is of course, the classic ‘delivery’ drone development, huge corporations like Amazon and DHL have been pioneering the way so that if not already, in the very near future it is not going to be uncommon to have your new online order dropping from the skies like the stalks that deliver babies in Dumbo. THE FUTURE IS HERE!
At the risk of droning on (I’m so, so sorry), we’ll bring things to a close here. This is probably the easiest conclusion of all times. Drones are awesome. The end.
No really, if you can’t get excited about some of this technology and how it’s changing and shaping the future, that’s a shame. Yes, the incident at Gatwick over the past 24 hours has been inconvenient but – as with any emerging piece of tech – there are mistakes to be made and lessons to be learnt along the way. Hopefully, we won’t see this kind of incident again. The overwhelming majority of drone pilots and users are safe and abide by the rules and long may that continue. Over and out.