Drone journalism enters the mainstream - from covering Typhoon Haiyan to HS2 - Press Gazette

Drone journalism enters the mainstream - from covering Typhoon Haiyan to HS2

Press Association photographer Lewis Whyld has revealed how he used an un-manned drone to take pictures of a Typhoon-ravaged city in the Philippines.
The shots were broadcast by CNN and showed the scale of the damage as well as two bodies which had not been discovered by the authorities, the New York Times reports.
Whyld told the NYT that he is exploring using long-range drones which can fly up to 20 miles from their handler and that he is even thinking about equipping them with devices to detect chemical weapons in Syria. He said: "You can do journalism that wasn't previously possible".
The NYT also reports that in August a drone was used to observe the private wedding in Switzerland of singer Tina Turner and to film singer Beyonce on a rollercoaster in Coney Island, New York.
Whyld trained as a barrister before joining the Press Association and builds his own drones. He has also designed and built his own 360-degree camera system, which has been nominated for Innovation of the Year at the British Journalism Awards. 
Last month the BBC used a 'Hexacopter' drone (pictured above) to take shots of the proposed route of the HS2 rail-link in a way which would be impossible even with a helicopter.
In the finished film the drone begins with a ground-level shot of reporter Richard Westcott before taking off and flying over the countryside route of the train line.
It was manned by a specially-trained pilot and a separate camera operator.
  • fly within 50m of a road or building unless it's under our control
  • fly over crowds
  • As a safety measure the BBC device is programmed to automatically fly back to base if loses contact with the operator.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette