Uncle Toad’s live racing drone provides viewers of the Natural Selection Tour with an unbelievable point of view.
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
The Los Angeles based media group Uncle Toad’s, an award-winning production company, was recently chosen to develop and implement a first-of-its-kind camera angle for the Natural Selection Tour snowboarding event.
The Natural Selection Tour, a British Columbia based freestyle snowboarding event founded by professional snowboarder Travis Rice, wanted a camera angle that could follow snowboarders without requiring the physical presence of a camera operator on the event course. This camera would also need to be able to live capture any and all variations of a snowboard run, as the event features no set course. It became clear that a specialized drone was needed, but no existing drone met all of the necessary requirements.
In partnership with world championship racer Gabriel Kocher, Uncle Toad’s created the first ever live stabilized Racing Drone, or First Person View (FPV) Drone, used for primary coverage. Kocher followed each individual snowboarder during the event, and the angle that the perspective provided resembled that of playing a video game.
This process was not without its challenges, as the remote location of the event proved to be a significant obstacle. Uncle Toad’s collaborated with their partners at RF Wireless to carry out the almost completely wireless broadcast, which consisted of 13 different cameras shooting from atop a remote mountain, all while the production team was based in a parking lot two miles away.
Uncle Toad’s built five drones in total, each of which is a one of a kind stabilized racing drone. In addition to the Natural Selection Tour, this type of drone angle will have many other applications. Many other sporting event programs, such as motocross, mountain biking, cycling, and sailing, face similar challenges with filming due to also taking place in challenging and difficult to reach remote locations. For programs such as these, Uncle Toad’s FPV Drone could prove to be a game changer.
“We’re constantly seeking new ways to cover our programming; similar to the world’s first jet ski camera for surfing, this drone was purposely built for our needs,” said Uncle Toad’s Creative Director Chris Steblay. “It’s a one of a kind piece of technology and we know there will be plenty of other opportunities to fly this thing.”
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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