Evan Bryce Riddle


Joystick Films – The RC Camera

In last week’s Networked Media symposium, the bulk of discussion surrounded databases. Having already touched on this in a previous post, as well as the topic being a little underwhelming at times, I’ve decided to delve into something else that was mentioned.

In 8 years time we could have cars that drive themselves, and remote control camera’s. We will have remote control cameras. – Adrian Miles

His certainty of that comment is exciting. I agree that it is highly likely that the typical consumer-quality camera will have RC features. Similar things even exist in the modern era. Think of drones, Go-Pro‘s, and Mini Helicopter Spycams. This lead me to wonder, how will this affect the film and television industry? I can only think of benefits.


Let’s assume that high quality RC cameras become available to the public. Let’s also assume that they can be airborne to a reasonable altitude, say 20 metres. Every single amateur filmmaker will be able to do things on a minimal budget that they couldn’t do before. Crane shots will become redundant, and the average Youtuber will be able to produce blockbuster-esque birds-eye and high-angle shots. The cost of renting equipment will decrease, as will the cost of crew. Multiple cameras could be set up and monitored by a single operator, lowering the human resource needs. Although the big production companies won’t mind too much about this, the benefits I perceive are targeted more at amateur filmmakers or students.


Set-up tripod and position camera. Record shot 1. Adjust tripod and reposition camera at different height and angle. Refocus and correct white balance. Record shot 2. The time commitment of that 5 step process could exponentially decreases with access to a remote control camera in 8 years. As the Lytro camera already exists, I assume that future cameras will have automatic focus and white balance.  There will be no need to adjust positioning by hand, simply at the tilt of a joystick or flick of a switch.


For student’s who can’t afford high-quality equipment like cranes or cherry-pickers to have access to high-angle shots way up in the sky, some resort to methods such as climbing trees, standing on top of fences, cars, or even upon rooftops. Simply combine the shockproof, waterproof, high quality GoPro, with a kid’s Heli Spycam toy, and these dangers will be a thing of the past.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the ways in which films are created have already taken leaps and bounds since the days of Classical Hollywood Cinema. What if Ernst Lubitsch had access to an RC camera? What effect would that have had on his brilliant B&W classics? What will the cinema look like when Spielberg gets access to a 4D camera and a cloning device?
RC Camera Helicopter by Copter Kids












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