Elevated Lens | Part 3

By Ryan Rizzo ● May 03, 2015 14:05

PART 3 | The Future


With the tech landscape ever-changing, I’m not going to claim any secret insight into where I think cinematography will evolve with regards to drone technology. What I can say with certainty, however, is that new opportunities will multiply by leaps and bounds, due to floods of people getting into the field and new technologies developed by hot-item companies that are rushing to push out the next best thing.

I recently had an opportunity to talk in-depth with CFC Media Lab’s ideaBOOST accelerator alumnus Perceptiv Labs. The products these guys have in the pipeline are exactly what you would expect coming out of science fiction.

After talking with Prasenjit (PJ) Mukherjee, CTO, I learned that not only will the future of film tech be focused on ease-of-use, but that the technology is being designed to be “smarter” than the people using it now.

First off, we need to grasp the idea of a drone that can fly itself. Pretty fancy stuff right? Well, how about a camera that can lock onto a subject - make that two subjects - and fly at a set distance keeping each subject in the frame at all times no matter how fast or far apart they get?!  This will allow filmmakers to focus their energy on lining up the next shot and tinkering with other visual elements that allow them to push the look and feel further and further.

Digital camera tracking software will allow for an autonomous craft to find its subject and follow it, keeping perfect line of sight. Currently Transport Canada doesn’t allow commercial film drones to fly in autonomous mode, but that is about to change … we hope!

As you may be aware, Amazon has recently proven itself capable of pushing out a drone product that will be able to sense and avoid obstacles while carrying products for delivery, using 3DRobotics hardware and software.

Virtual Reality applications will also be a big thing in the not so distant future, allowing you the freedom to choose which direction and which angle you’d like to explore, and the ability to view films shot in 360° will storm the home and theaters within months. Attaching a camera with the ability to shoot unobstructed 360° film from drones offers a new sensation of travelling totally immersed within the film.

Recent tragic events in Nepal highlights another path drone technology is taking. Companies like Pix4D and Aeryon Labs of Waterloo, ON are sending their technology to disaster sites in hopes of finding faster routes to get relief to people in need, where the road infrastructure is compromised and time is of the essence. Although this doesn’t strike us as film technology, it is. Cameras, mapping software, and drones are finding the fastest way to get relief to people, with the data and film being collected shared with troops and relief workers deployed to the disaster area.

These are all are great technologies to look forward too. I’m definitely for innovation that supports the artist and allows for new, creative ways to tell a story, as well as having a direct impact on society. It sure is a great time to be a filmmaker!

This is final article in a three part series on drone technology written by Ryan Rizzo. If you missed his previous two articles, please see Part 1 | The Past and Part 2 | The Present.

Ryan is a CFC Media Lab alumnus (2011) and a recent graduate of the Digital Futures Initiative at OCADU. His passion is to push the envelope of discovery between the inherent creative potential of digital media technology and its relationship to storytelling. Ryan is currently consulting with several drone filming companies, and is a certified Transport Canada UAV pilot and operations manager. His portfolio ranges the gamut from television commercials to epic films and series like the Amazing Race. Ryan is currently working on a documentary studying and mapping the many ravines throughout the Toronto region. Research and development of 3D mapping software and sensors are also a direction for video game development he finds himself investigating. As long as he can fly it and collect data, he will! You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RYERIZ