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? Take me out to the boat race … ?

As part of the research in MultiDrone, we investigate how drones can support journalistic work in an innovative way. Our project plan foresees a set of evaluation scenarios, but those are not due until the third year, when the custom-made MultiDrone UAVs are ready to fly. So in order to gain more experience with hands on drone-cinematography, we started experimenting with off-the-shelf drones. One of those experiments was the trip to the Meteora region in Greece. There, our colleagues from DW used three drones (Mavic Pro, Mavic Air, Inspire 2) to closely follow two climbers exploring the wonderful mountain peaks in the area. (If you haven’t already checked out the video, it’s really worth taking a look).

This time, we took it a step closer to the actual production scenario we had in mind for MultiDrone: A live rowing regatta. Not just any regatta, but the ‘Rund um Wannsee’, one of the longest races in the world, set in the beautiful lake area in the southwest of Berlin.

Overview of the rowing regatta track including the positions of all drone and camera teams.

To cover as much of the race as possible, we set up two drone teams along the track, a third drone was used for areal overview and two additional standard camera teams covered the rest. In order to comply with regulations and for safety reasons, the drone teams consisted both of a pilot and a spotter, to always keep the drones in the visual line of sight.

The positions were chosen both on the usefulness for covering the race as well as restrictions due to regulations and conditions (landscape, visibility). As you can see from the map, a single team would not have been able to make it to several positions, due to the distances and infrastructure. All this posed quite a few challenges in terms of planning and getting the necessary permissions, including the one time opportunity of such an event. Once the boats have passed your position, and you missed them, there is no second chance for another shot.

As we will discuss this in another article coming soon, let’s stick with the obvious for now: The overview drone (flying above the track at 100m) was nice to view, but not useful for a professional reporting format because of the lack of details. Introducing drone close-ups however gave us some great perspectives, that would not have been possible without deploying UAVs. You can watch the exciting footage here:

We will continue with these experiments and share more of our insights. But for now over to you: What do you think about the material? Tell us your opinion in the comments below. ??

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