Software doing the work of cameramen

“Software is eating the world” and “robots are taking all the jobs” are much used phrases these days. That’s because they are regularly proven to be true in new and surprising ways.

I was surprised earlier today when I read this excerpt from a Fast Company interview with Chris Anderson, founder of 3D Robotics:

“The first phase of our little adventure was getting robots to fly. That was super hard, but we got there,” he says. “The next phase was putting cameras on them, and stabilizing with a gimbal. That was pretty hard, but we got there, too.” What we’re missing, he says, is “the aesthetics of a good shot.”

Solo, in concert with GoPro, is designed to deliver that perfect shot, with very little technical skill on the part of the pilot. “There are these well-established Hollywood conventions about what makes a great shot; they have this combination of classic framing and paths, which are typically done by teams of professionals,” he says. “We turned all that into software.”

The first paragraph is a cool description of the challenges in getting drone mounted cameras to work well. The second paragraph is the best though. 3D Robotics have captured the art and craft of Hollywood camera professionals in software. If it works as well as Anderson implies then it could be the sort of highly visible development that helps people to viscerally understand that change in employment patterns is coming fast and that we should start preparing.

  • http://toodlepip.co.uk/ Sam Michel

    Interesting post Nic, follows so many other creative industries…desktop publishing, music production, suppose it was always going to happen to film, too. 3D Robotics aren’t the only ones, we found the coincidentally named 5D Robotics – http://5drobotics.com/ – who built robots that would automatically track & follow for filming. Needless to say all the tech is ex-military.