Main Article Content
This article explores the impact of drone regulations on the narrative potential of drone filming. The central focus of this exploration is a Case Study analysis of the production of a multi-screen audio-visual digital installation, The Crossing (Patel, 2016). The Crossing , filmed in central London, utilized the use of a heavy weight Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) also known as a drone with a 5-kilo weight load capacity with the Alexa Mini WCU-4. Combined with the CForce Mini lens control system, the UAS gave unparalleled camera and lens control at extended ranges, providing complete pan, tilt and lens control and allowing dynamic moves in the air. The result was the ability to navigate through spaces to give intimate and playful shots that give the viewer ‘alternate’ versions of reality that only a ‘machine’ can provide. Artists, performers and filmmakers are finding new kinds of beauty through automated programming where the drones are not just capturing the story but the machines themselves become the story. However, the operational scope of drones is limited by legal and health and safety regulations, particularly within built up urban environments. These regulations govern the vertical and horizontal distance from objects and people, line of sight, time constraints, weather conditions as well as security implications. Further restrictions include requiring a trained and fully licensed crew with permission from the relevant aviation bodies. This article seeks to answer whether these restrictions limit the creativity of the artist or challenge the creator to consider alternate ways of using these Autonomous Art Systems to inform the aesthetic scope of the captured image. This article will draw on a combination of original filming and broadcast examples to examine how legal and security restrictions on UAS inform the narrative and aesthetic realization of the final art form and subsequent emotional and physical response of the spectator.