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This week's feature

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s… a Drone!

The Internet was developed by the military, and so were drones. The very first versions were designed for use in WWI. It’s a shame all those creative juices weren’t harnessed for peaceful aims, but hey, that’s a refrain we’ve been singing since the ‘60s. In mag82, we’ll take to the sky with drones in pop culture. Not those bellicose unmanned aircraft, but those wonderful gismos that bring a smile to our faces.:)

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So this week, with “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s… a Drone,” we take off for breath-taking vistas, spectacular sights, dare-devil feats, and wild special effects:

  1. Boogie-woogie drones
  2. The drone race
  3. An aerial extravaganza with 500 drones
  4. How do you film a surfer in the tube?
  5. The videographer who films earth with the help of his drones
  6. Drones have their festivals
  7. Interview with the founder of dronestagram

Fasten your seatbelts, destination pop culture!

As Romeo Durscher aerial photographer said:

We’ve spent the last 100 years taking images at ground level, so as soon you change the perspective slightly, everything looks different, everything looks beautiful.

Boogie-woogie drones

Music - January 04, 2017

They’re more than just gadgets or military ordnance. All kinds of unexpected uses are cropping up, including in the arts. Technology and stagecraft are teaming up to transform these little flying objects into stars. Several stage productions this year, notably by Intel and partnering engineers, featured drones. Like a flying constellation, a hundred or so drones with on-board projectors created luminous designs to the powerful strains of Beethoven, a pretty impressive performance, given that the drones’ movements had to be coordinated with the music. Unveiled in 2016 at tech’s most important annual gathering, the Consumer Electronics Show, this performance even wound up in the Guinness Book of World Records!

Another impressive performance, by the Japanese troupe Eleven Play and the Rhizomatics, was an astonishing combination of dance and drones. The dancers were fitted out with sensors, enabling harmony between man and machine.

Mount Fuji was the scene of an aerial pyrotechnic extravaganza in April of 2016 with the drones of Sky Magic. To the music of Japanese guitars, the drones executed tightly choreographed numbers against the backdrop of the famous mountain at dusk. A veritable mechanical ballet, complete with fireworks, music, and sparkling dances.

Zooming, sparkling, dancing, enchanting… The drones’ next stop may be the Metropolitan Opera House.;)

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The drone race

The infographic - January 04, 2017

Since 2012 when the first amateur drone races were held in Australia, the drone racing craze has spread around the world. Races now are regimented and international leagues have sprung up, generating hefty profits, world records, and championship competitions:

drone-racing-course-infographic-popculture

 

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3 questions to Eric Dupin, founder of dronestagram

The 3 questions - January 04, 2017

On the subject of digital, Éric Dupin is a walking encyclopedia. If you take all his cyber know-how and set it aloft to take aerial photos, well, the sky’s the limit! The founder of dronestagram sat down with us to talk about flight and new tech.

Orange Pop: How did you know drones and aerial photography was the next big thing?

Éric Dupin: I’m very interested in new technologies, and much of my other job, Presse-Citron blogger, is devoted to this. On a personal level, I’ve always liked gadgets and digital devices. The first remote-controlled helicopters arrived on the market in 2008 and could fit in the palm of your hand. I knew this technology would literally take off when they added embedded cameras to the aircraft. And that’s what got me into drones.

As far as technology and its uses, I immediately saw the connection between drones and the smartphones of the early 2000s; at first, only the geeks go for them, but sooner or later the general public hops on board and everyone’s got one. In the last two years the same thing has happened for drones. I realized that with an array of high-performance machines on the market, it’s now possible for everyone to take really unusual photos. On-board cameras allow for close-up photography of generally inaccessible views. The close-up and the wide-angle panorama are the two major assets of drone photography.

Other uses will be adopted by the general public, like dronies, selfies taken from above. Already available, these flying machines can be remotely controlled by your smartphone, which can also display the image the drone camera’s viewfinder is “seeing,” to check the photo before clicking.

O. Pop: You organized the Dronestagram Photo Contest in collaboration with National Geographic, a magazine that often leverages the beautiful (those gorgeous images of nature) for worthy causes (environmental protection).

ED: The first year Dronestagram was operational, we wondered how to attract more visitors to our site. We came up with the idea of a photo contest, but that meant partnering with an international heavyweight in the photo business. National Geographic loved the idea. It provided the magazine with unusual and beautiful photos for their magazine and provided us with a high-visibility contest.

The contest took place in the spring of 2014. This year, we are aiming to get tens of thousands of entrants, both drone professionals and amateurs. At a reasonable cost, anyone can take some pretty eye-popping snaps.

One of our slogans is, “Some want to change the world. We simply want to change the way people look at the world.” For example, you can get up close and personal with the earth’s flora and fauna without being invasive. Drones are discreet and can’t be heard or seen from 30 or more meters away, so they don’t frighten animals. That said, more and more parks in the USA are outlawing drones in their airspace.

O. Pop: Are you considering extending the reach of dronestagram to other platforms?

ED: This spring we’re releasing a book entitled Dronestagram, published by a prestigious English art-book house. It’ll contain the 200 or 300 most beautiful photos on our site and will be available in English, German, Dutch, and French.

We’re also raising funds to develop a smartphone app that would enable users to upload photos and videos directly from the drone to the dronestagram site and to social media. The idea is to anticipate and prepare for the sector’s full potential, i.e. for the new generation of superlight drones, better quality cameras, tightened security, and enhanced-reality options. This is just the beginning; unimaginable wonders await.

eric-dupin-dronestagram-photo

Éric Dupin and Dronestagram Photo Contest 2014 – The winning photo

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An aerial extravaganza with 500 drones

A picture says it all - January 04, 2017

After successfully sending 100 drones up simultaneously in 2015, the American giant Intel broke its own record in October of 2016, sending 500 tiny aircraft up at the same time – a giant swarm controlled by a single person. The aerial choreography only lasted a minute but the feat remains unequalled. Intel developed an algorithm that automatically orients each and every drone in the right direction.

Fitted out with LED bulbs to create the effect of levitating fireworks, the 500 drones lit up the sky over Krailling, near Munich, Germany. For the occasion, Intel unveiled a new feather-weight model, the Shooting Star, weighing in at a mere 280 grams and requiring zero assembly.

All that prowess and tech caught the eye of Disney, always looking for new ways to wow its theme park visitors. The two partners have put together an aerial ballet with 300 drones and a rainbow of colors. Disney’s already contemplating lighting up the Florida evenings with a fleet of LED-equipped mini-aircraft. A feast for the eyes and a feather in the geeks’ cap!

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How do you film a surfer in the tube?

The killer question - January 04, 2017

Payloads are still limited, but some ingenious surfers have come up with an idea: drone-towed surfboards. Hawaiian director Eric Sterman managed to get a drone to tow a surfer… and even to have a hovering drone film the whole thing.

Already known ‘round the world for his incredible drone-shot videos, notably footage of the mega pipes called Banzaï Pipeline, (Hawaii), the director has demonstrated the enormous cinemagraphic possibilities of this new technology.

Not only did he develop his own drone app (tells surfers where to catch that perfect wave, even surf without waves), he was one of the first to move the point of view from the beach to the water. His video expresses the water’s enormous power and beauty. As if we weren’t already green with envy for those flyin’ Hawaiians!

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Olivier Kmia films earth with the help of his drones

Who's who - January 04, 2017

Miami, Denver, Buenos Aires, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro… Oliver Kmia, American videographer and aerial film specialist, has captured all these cities with his ultra-sophisticated kit.

The result is as impressive as it is beautiful. The director, his crack mechanics, and the drones he’s dubbed Team Black Sheep, filmed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building ever built (828 meters). His footage from airborne cameras zipping among skyscrapers or skimming the coast of Puerto Rico and Lake Tahoe (US) not to mention his time-lapse videos of Miami’s famous glitz and glitterati.

His films offer an alternative vision of earth, and through his lens cities can appear microscopic or gigantic. His perceptive eye reveals the diversity and beauty of the everyday and the spectacular, alighting on a detail, taking in a landscape that only an aerial viewpoint offers. Oliver Kmia has the knack for making the familiar brand new!

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TOP 5 Drone films – Yes, they have their festivals!

Gimme 5 - January 04, 2017

The big international festivals in cinema and photography are familiar enough, but did you know drone films have theirs, too? There are a dozen or so around the world, and more will doubtless soon crop up. Here’s our selection of the best prize-winning drone films of 2016:

1. Afterglow, by Sweetgrass Productions, winner in the category “Extreme Sports & Best in Show” at the 2016 New York City Film Festival. This studio production, a virtuoso performance in ultra-stylized aerial photography, features LED-illuminated slalom skiers careening down mountains lit in day-glo colors. A blast!

2. The Drone, by Jordan Rubin, victor of the 2016 Flying Robot International Film Festival (US) in the category “Cinematic Narrative.” The Drone is a fake teaser for a film that will never be made, but whose preview is a riot: a drone with malicious intents upends the tame lives of a thirty-something couple. Hilarious!

3. Wild Scotland, by John Duncan, took home the 2016 “Wonders of the Natural” Prize at the Drone Festival (UK). It’s Scotland from above – 3 minutes of the country’s fjords, monuments, sea coasts, and highlands. Fasten your seatbelts!

4. Dizi, by David-Étienne Durivage, “Artistic Quality Prize” at the 2016 Festival Ciné Drone (FR). This Quebecker director takes us on a tour of poetic symmetry in HD, an artist’s vision on an engineer’s wings.

5. From Inside to Outside, by Stéphane Aboudaram, winner of the DroneUp International Film Festival 2016 in the category “Urban”. A drone escapes skywards, in a gigantic chimney silo of an abandoned electric plant for a 30-second video that will blow your mind.

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When skaters meet drones at night

Stories - January 04, 2017

Drones pictures are often spectacular, offering us a whole new perspective on the world we see every day.

Jeffrey Moustache, a drone lover, takes the Art of photography to a next level, with his project called Transient Eclipse. He uses his drone to make beautiful and impressive shots of skating while experimenting another innovative technique: aerial lighting.

The approach of Mr Moustache is very clever : instead of using his drone to perform the capture itself, he uses his engine as an assistant and carries a flash that he turns on at the right moment of the capture. It results an exclusive light effect, as if it was actually falling from the sky on the skaters. With this technique, he can both mix the use of a drone and a traditional camera reflex placed on a tripod, allowing him to take pictures pretty much anywhere. His portraits of skaters at night are full of poetry and a kind of magic. #congrats

Skateur au clair de drone ©Jeffrey Moustache Photography

Skate me to the moon… ©Jeffrey Moustache Photography

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Build your own drone with Lego bricks

Stories - January 05, 2017

Drones are getting as trendy as Lego and with Flybrix kits, building your own drone has never been so easy! Even if it’s not an official partnership, Flybrix uses Lego bricks and circuits to build your own flying engine. The pack also includes several engines, a flight control board, and an app for controlling the engine.

Good news, this is a “crash-friendly” and rebuildable drone. In other words, if it explodes, you’ll just have to build it again!

The founders, Amir Hirsch, Robb Walters and Holly Kasun, aim at getting teens interested in aerodynamics and geometry, and want to help children building their own drone. Do you want to know more about Flybrix? Check out the story of The Wrong Brothers as they are experimenting the drone in the video below:

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When a Porsche competes with drones, who wins?

Stories - January 06, 2017

When a mythic car meets drones, it gives an impressive race – and an impressive ad! Drones are becoming more and more popular, even among luxury brands and cars builders like Porsche who decided to use them to introduce their new model. Its latest ad actually looks like a real western!

Indeed, the ad shows a Porsche Cayman racing against 6 drones in Medway port in the UK. The stuntman Mauro Carlo drives the car with his copilot Ali-A (a Youtuber and a gamer). Between streets, sheds and other various obstacles, this giant game is really more than spectacular! Published on November 22nd, the video has already attracted more than 2 million viewers.

Can a Porsche outrun 6 Drones? Check out this great western and you’ll find out:

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Let’s fly with Drone Dudes!

Stories - January 09, 2017

From chasing a bike through rugged forests to shooting the sunrise on a dry lake, drones can capture the wonders of Nature. Drones can be an exclusive tool for Art and especially for aerial cinematography. One of the main specialists in the field is Drone dudes, a collective of filmmakers and designers, created by Andrew Peterson in 2005. These artists aim at exploring the sky, trying out some new things, learning new tricks, and showing landscapes from a different perspective. And it’s brilliant!

They’re producing movies, commercials for companies like Ford and even for Coldplay! As they explain on their website, their goal is “To give you the footage you envision—delivering beyond your wildest expectations. We will explore any approach, any angle, or concept— add vision, magic and awesomeness”.

To learn more about this great project, watch the exclusive documentary directed by Daniel Kaufman for Orange below. The cameraman operator Andrew Garret and the founder Andrew Peterson explain their dream and how they push their limits forward.

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When a Youtuber believes he can fly and touch the sky

Stories - January 10, 2017

Have you ever dreamt of flying on board of Santa’s sled? Well, your dream could become true soon… but on a snowboard instead 😛

Incredible but true, Samsung built a massive, state-of-the-art flying machine that can lift up a man and allow him to dance in mid-air! According to the video, it’s the first time in history that a drone can lift a human being… And yes, it’s quite impressive!

A snowboarder – which is none other than famous Youtuber Casey Neistat, is attached to the drone and is being pulled by the machine. He begins his journey on the ski slope in Finland, before taking off and graciously flying over cottages and cabins. Wearing Santa’s clothes, we just regret he did not bring his sack full of Christmas presents that he could have delivered to kids during his amazing trip in Finn sky 😉

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See you next week!

To be continued - January 04, 2017

Next week, you’ll see that your BFF is actually from another planet!

 

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