Drone Aerial Photography

Drone Aerial Photography

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Updated Dec 03, 2017 at 04:47AM EST by Y F.

Added Aug 19, 2013 at 05:11PM EDT by Don.

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Drone Aerial Photography refers to the practice of piloting a remote-controlled, camera-equipped multirotor aircraft to capture images and record videos from the bird's-eye point of view.


The earliest known quadcopter was designed by French engineer Etienne Oehmichen in 1920. Dubbed Oehmichen No.2, the prototype carried out more than 1,000 test flights during the mid-1920s. In 1956, the Convertawind quadcopter was developed (shown below) with several improvements from Oehmichen’s model. In 1979, the aerospace product companies Bell Helicopter and Boeing began the joint development of Bell Boeing Quad TiltRotor quadcopter for the U.S. Army.

One of the first quadracopters created by Bell Helicopter and Boeing

Until the mid-2000s, quadcopters largely remained a military technology and didn't become commercially available. By 2007, Germany, Belgium, England and Norway had begun operating Microdrones quadcopters[1] for aerial imagery. In 2009, the company DraganFlyer[11] began selling quadcopters equipped with surveillance cameras (shown below).

On December 2nd, 2012, Amazon[6] began selling the DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone quadcopter with an attached GoPro camera.

On March 4th, 2013, NBC News[3] reported that aerial photographer Mark Bateson had been forbidden by the FAA to use a quadcopter aerial photographs for commercial purposes.

Online Presence

On March 2nd, 2005, the website FutureHobbies[7] was created to provide product information and recommendations for those who are interested in quadcopter aerial photography and remote-controlled aviation. On September 18th, 2007, the website for the professional aerial photography company SkyCamUSA[8] was launched. In February that year, the open source multicopter UAV platform ArduCopter[2] was released. On December 29th, 2009, DIY Drones Forums[9] member Doug Connell started a thread about quadcopter photographers. In the following years, online discussions of quadcopter photography continued to thrive in RC hobby communities as it became more commercially accessible, including on the RC Groups Forum[5] on January 21st, 2013.In February, the open source multicopter UAV platform ArduCopter[2] was released.

Notable Examples

On May 20th, 2008, Vimeo user Old Man Mike uploaded footage taken with a high-definition video camera mounted on a quadcopter (shown below). On September 7th, 2011, Vimeo user Robert McIntosh uploaded a video featuring quadcopter footage taken in San Francisco, California (shown below, left).

On July 19th, 2013, YouTuber Claytonias F. uploaded footage recorded with a GoPro-equipped quadcopter around Hollywood and L.A. (shown below, left), which was submitted by Redditor Diccfish to the /r/videos[4] subreddit the same day. Within the first month, the video gained over 1.28 million views and the Reddit post received more than 14,900 up votes. On August 4th, YouTuber WeddingMan123 uploaded footage of a quadcopter hitting a bride and groom in the head (shown below, right). In the following two weeks, the video accumulated more than 660,000 views and 500 comments. On August 16th, Redditor QSector submitted the video to the /r/videos[10] subreddit, where it garnered upwards of 1,600 up votes and 150 comments in the next 72 hours.

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