B Quadp

Virtual Runner goes airborne

I’ve been thinking of different ways to add smooth video running content to my Virtual Runner project. These Running Events (REs) need to be shot at  30-60 fps, 5-6 ft off the ground, and at 5-6 mph. To start working on the REs, I purchased a few gimbals to work with the GoPro and iPhone 6 Plus cameras.

On smooth straight surfaces such as an asphalt running path, a bike, seqway, or IO Hawk would work. But for running on the beach or mountainous trails, this ends up being a challenge. It’s not easy to run with a steady hand at 5 mph for these REs. I’ve tried walking, but a 5k/30 min run ends up being about 50 minutes of continuous shooting where the video content is just not up to the quality I want.

So after discussing this with a number of people, my father was the one who came up with the idea of using a quadcopter. I’ve now talked to a number of leading companies that make quads for filming.

With technologies advancing in the areas of gyroscopes, axial design, GPS, long range communications, and photo positioning, there is potential here to position or pre-map a drone’s flight path in order to shoot REs. Unfortunately, apps for controlling drones only involve filming of the subject where the camera is a follower.

Nonetheless, APIs are available for some of these drones. This means I can develop my own app to make the drone a leader. This will allow the drone to fly and film smooth HD or 4k content in front of me, while I attempt to run on a sandy  beach or struggle up some steep slope.

The other approach would be to create an app that can add way-points to a preprogramed flight/running route, allowing me to film the RE. Some apps already have this latter capability, but one of my goals for Virtual Runner is to allow other people to make REs that they can share (or sell) to the Virtual Runner community. So by creating an app specific to my endeavor, I’ll already have the tools for others to create running content.

There are some exciting projects ahead!

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