There are spies in the skies, and they're trying to catch you doing something awesome. As remote controlled flying drones have become more sophisticated and stronger, they've opened up a new field of amateur cinematography - the recording of extreme sports. Whether it's surfing, skiing, or paragliding, RC helicopters fixed with durable cameras allow you to get aerial footage that will blow the minds of your friends and enemies alike. Catch some of the phenomenal shots captured by these miniature aircraft in the videos below. These clips are a taste of the extreme forms of lifelogging we can expect in the future as cameras and RC drones continue to improve.
The videos above are showreels for three different professional aerial recording companies: DediCam.TV, Extreme Aerials, and Got Aerial. While there are many more such businesses, I chose these three to illustrate how global the RC copter camera craze has become - these videos each come from a different continent: Europe, Australia, and North America, respectively. The variety of services you can purchase from businesses like these are fairly broad, everything from a video shoot for a day to creating an online digital video map of your property to building an RC rig of your own (~$3500+ for the last one). When it comes to what you want to record the sky's the limit, if you'll pardon the pun.
Yet the global presence of these companies should by no means convince you that the RC aerial recording craze is strictly for professionals. Far from it. Go to YouTube and look up quadrotor first person videos (FPV). There are hundreds of people just using that one kind of rig to shoot their videos. Others prefer hexacopters, or even octacopters to get the lift they need to put a camera in the sky.
While the videos these amateurs create cover a wide variety of subjects, the one I see most often is extreme sports. It makes sense. Traditional video rigs can't go where the most daring athletes tread. We've seen wearable cameras that let you get an up close and personal perspective, but sometimes you really want to see everything that is happening. It's hard to get a better point of view than when you're flying by overhead. With battery lives reaching upwards of 30 minutes, some of the larger RC drones give you plenty of time to capture all the trials, falls, and triumphs that make extreme sports so addictive.
As I've said before, I think it's possible that the culture of extreme sports will not only push us to develop cooler ways of recording videos, it will push us to record many more parts of our lives. 24/7 lifelogging could be getting started now on the slopes and beaches around the world.
Even as extreme sports could pull lifelogging into the mainstream, first person videos are going to keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible with RC drones and high definition cameras. We've seen a remote controlled plane buzz through Manhattan, and people have been collecting low Earth's orbit footage from high altitude balloons for years now. As cameras get smaller and RC vehicles get better (and cheaper) the amateur videos we'll see are only going to get more outrageous. Flying through the Himalayas or taking a trip through your intestine...it's all coming soon to an RC controller near you. Get ready to be recorded.