With support from our Five College Digital Humanities grant, several Five College students, faculty and staff devoted a November Saturday at the MacLeish Field Station in Whately, MA to learn some nuances of flying remotely piloted model aircraft (or drones). The workshop fulfilled our need to learn how to program and fly missions required for archaeological surveys and landscape analysis. We also reviewed different types of sensor systems and image analysis. Many techniques are transferable to other practices or situations in outdoor environments and we plan to host future workshops to support the Five College community.
Future workshops will adopt a similar framework, but we may invite specific scholars to provide more depth in certain research domains. For example, a workshop for faculty and students in film studies is now imaginable for spring 2015. Participants will not only learn necessary flight techniques, but how to:
- plan camera position,
- orient flight platform,
- adjust / program gimbal,
- configure shutter frequency based on time or distance, and
- use first person view to frame specific shots.
Clearly, drones offer unique opportunities for photographers and film makers. We look forward to supporting the film community, and others, with the skills we acquired during the workshop. Please let us know if you are interested in attending a workshop to begin using this emergent technology.