A birds eye view


Aerial photography has been around for a long time.

People are fascinated to see what the land looks like from high above.

It started in France in 1858 with photographer and balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon.

During the Amercian Civil War the Union held advantage over the Confederates by raising a portable hydrogen balloon to see what the enemy were doing from a height.

The army also found the balloons valuable for charting terrain and aerial mapping taking many of America’s first aerial photographs.

The first motion picture to make use of aerial cinematography was Wilbur Wright and seine Flugmaschine. It was filmed in 1909 near Rome.

After the First World War, there were lots of pilots getting into aerial cinematography and in 1931 the aviators formed a union called ‘The Associated Motion Picture Pilots’. At the time this set a virtual monopoly on motion picture flying.

Fast-forward to today and it’s a totally different landscape.

Remote controlled aircraft have made it more affordable and to some degree easier to capture low-altitude aerial photography and cinematography.

More and more productions including Hollywood and sporting telecasts are using remote controlled multicopters, or drones, for shooting aerial scenes.

For the past ten years Micha, featured above, has enjoyed flying remote controlled helicopters and has just recently moved to multicopters with a camera attached.

For Micha this is a hobby as he enjoys capturing the bird’s eye view and showcasing the beauty and tranquil of Geraldton from above.

Micha is well aware of the privacy issues that his new toy brings and he is well informed of what he can and can’t do.

Currently in Australia no formal qualifications are required to fly a drone, providing it is being used recreationally.

Commercial operators must be certified.

Micha says around two to three thousand dollars will buy you a decent drone but declares there is some uncertainty to the future laws of what people can and can’t do with drones.

CASA has proposed regulating unmanned aerial vehicles on a weight-based system in which operators of the smallest drones would be able to get online approval.

Operators of the smallest, Group A, two kilograms or less, would be able to fill out an online authorisation form and get electronic approval to operate.

CASA hopes to finalise a draft guidance manual by the end of the year, which most drone owners will no doubt be eager to see.

As with most electronic devices these days, they can be used for good or evil.

For the most part, the people in the video above were people Micha personally knew and was all filmed in public open spaces.

Drones can bring about many complex issues such as security and privacy, but I hope somehow, people like Micha will still be able to enjoy flying their machines and capturing the beauty below without anyone feeling that their privacy is being invaded.

A tricky balancing act, but one I’m sure can be achieved for the greater good.

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