(Photo above courtesy of Fly Boys Aerials, who are doing some cool stuff with aerial photography.)
If you caught this past Sunday’s 60 Minutes piece on drones then read on. If not, catch up here.
After watching this feature I’m terrified. My family had a spirited discussion/brain-storming session about all the crazy, nefarious shit we have to worry about in the future with these: invasion of privacy (think paparazzi w/ NSA style tools), a bomb delivery mechanism for terrorists, mid-air collisions, etc. After getting that out of our system some positives emerged, namely the inherent possibilities drones offer in the world of sports broadcasting. Drones will make the SkyCam look downright archaic. There’s a long way to go before this is reality – first step is the FAA figuring out a set of rules, certifications, and regulations (good luck with that), then production crews experimenting, then leagues accepting the new technology but drones will be a reality down the road.
And when that time comes, golf will be a prime area to put drones to good use. it should be a boon for all parties involved (except maybe the tour pros) as production quality will go through the roof and production costs will fall. The aerial shots provided by blimps (and sometimes by helicopters and small planes) are such a large part of the telecast already, imagine having twenty or thirty blimp-like vantages around the course. The possibilities are endless (Imagine putting the pro-tracer feature on a drone? Or using one to find a lost ball?)
Obviously there’s a downside – players would treat drones as if they are a complete nuisance and would surely resist at first. After all, drones do make noise, constant whiny noise. Aside from the sound, are they really much more distracting than a boom camera behind a tee or on a green? Those float above the ground and are operated by professionals. Drones wouldn’t be any different – they’d be operated by professionals at a distance determined by tour standards. Wouldn’t be any more distracting than a bird (and Stevie Williams would have trouble nabbing one of these and throwing it in a lake).
Bottom line: drones are going to be a big part of lives in the future, we might as well seek out some cool uses for them. Read on for a deeper-dive…