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New thinking, new technology for the creative sectors
A MediaTainment Finance supplement

Drones, those controversial flying machines, are inspiring entertainers and scaring regulators...

Cirque du Soleil, the captivating iconic Canadian street circus and theatrical production giant, and John Cale, co-founder of influential US rock band Velvet Underground, have been in the media headlines for their experimental use of drones in live entertainment.

Their novel adoption of those unmanned flying machines, normally associated with war and military surveillance, took place indoors. But had they chosen to take their concept outdoors, there are aviation regulators who might have preferred to clip their wings or shoot them down.

Filmmaking in studios and on location, indoor and outdoor photography, live entertainment, and sports events are among the applications that could be revolutionized by the creative use of drones.

These sectors have traditionally required expensive, noisy, clunky and weighty helicopters or awkward cable-suspended cranes to take epic aerial shots or film spectacular athletic stunts for movies, TV, commercials, print advertisements, sports events (from skiing to road cycling) or shoot videos of outdoor festivals.

Drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicle systems, remotely piloted aircrafts, hexacopters or quadcopters) offer a niftier and lighter (between 10kg-20kg) alternative to achieve the same goals for the production of out-of-home and on-stage entertainment.

They are compact flying gadgets with high-definition cameras attached, which can soar far and high thanks to hand-held computers controlled by people on the ground. These people use the computer screens to watch live-streamed videos of what these airborne devices are seeing, even when they are hundreds of miles away.

They offer the movie director a more flexible way to oversee action shots at massive locations, or give the concert promoter a potentially all-seeing eye looking out for the safety of hundreds of thousands of fans attending a festival.

But could their progress be stalled by overzealous aviation regulators internationally?

To continue reading this article and other coverage of technology disrupting the creative industries, access TechMutiny Issue No. 8.

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