Photography has gained new perspective with the introduction of unmanned drones. Now the aerial footage and shots that were near impossible are made simple, via remote and control. Aerial photography also includes attachments to helicopters as well. Then there are sophisticated camera tracking solutions as well.
Traditional With Tracks
The traditional method for shooting aerial shots involved sophisticated camera tracking systems. These systems required a lot of overhead ‘tracks’ to not only support the weight of the camera, but in some cases, allow the camera to move (albeit limited).
These tracks allow for an aerial view for major stationary events: swimming competitions, concerts, etc. Additionally, the tracking allows for various cameras to be attached, in order to provide the best images possible, whether due to speeds of 12.5m/second or shooting in HD. These methods, however, are not conducive for nature photography. Those are best left more for aerial photographs by either helicopter or drone.
Helicopter Aerial Photography
Adding a camera to the bottom of helicopters has been a tactic used for decades. With the limits on drones, using a helicopter has certain benefits as well (although more expensive than camera tracking solutions). With more people in the helicopter, there is more of a human perspective while in the air, with a wider view from multiple people than just one camera attached to a drone.
Additionally, the helicopter can fly higher and for a longer duration than drones, which run on batteries. The helicopter is also more useful in that pictures can be taken, and people can be transported.
Next Generation Drone
The drone is the upcoming technology for photography especially. Drones have started being used in Saskatchewan, Canada to create aerial photographs and readings to benefit farmers and ranchers. It is a simple product that can go into the air up to 1000 feet before needing a license. And getting such a thing is relatively simple. The drone is battery powered, which does present some limitations on the length and ability to catch photographs, but it also costs significantly less than a helicopter and its camera.
Drones are being used to capture video as well.
Other sources of aerial photography include images taken from balloons, blimps, parachutes, kites, and dirigibles. All of these are additional means of capturing aerial shots using cameras and technology. Using parachutes and kites may result in less time to capture the perfect shot, since they are based on gravity and the wind, respectively. With a constant supply source (of hot air for the air balloon, dirigible, and blimp), the other options can provide more consistent photos or appropriate angle. However, the cost of renting these options can be more expensive than purchasing a drone.
Aerial photography has grown in popularity in the past few years. Camera tracking systems, helicopters, and drones are all useful depending on the type of photography wanted. Tracking systems provides more opportunities to follow an event as it occurs. For more natural photography, using a helicopter, drone, or other aerial platform may provide better alternatives, depending on the cost, type of view, and time readily available. These things should be readily factored into the decision before looking to capture the perfect shot: whether of the town, an event, a natural landmark, or just the sky from a bird’s eye view.