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Digital Storytelling: Drone Protagonist

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Sam Noakes

on 27 October 2016

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Transcript of Digital Storytelling: Drone Protagonist

Contemporary Skeptics
Drones are robots
.Some have argued that our anxieties about drones connect back to our discomfort with robotics more generally…Journalist Hannah Gais, for example, suggests that strong feelings about drones play into broader concerns that our creations will somehow rise up against us.
Speculative Trajectory
What I've Done...
“A camera merely sees … but a drone seems to watch.”
Digital Storytelling: Drone Protagonist
J, Brogan, 2016
Audience perception, I believe, can be changed with the narratives or ethnographic showcase from this device that brings in a new ‘Disembodiment gaze’ and/or wonderment from a new perspective.
New Technologies Promote this...
do with these devices and
these be encouraged to extend the lifespan of the technology?
Current Trajectories of the Drone

What people collectively apoint as the main introduction has been for ie. Military & Surveillance
Drones emerged during military advancements post World War 2. Countries were developing ways they could remotely pilot aircraft to spy on and take out their enemy from the comfort of a airport or control centres that would decrease human casualties. This created a new paradigm of warfare. Suddenly stealth and precision gave advantage to whoever mastered both.
However, while military drones can seem scary and off putting, this can be reversed and applied laterally in the decrease of human casualties. This positive trajectory can be applied to how the machine is an extension of the human capability and shifts the fight from humans to perhaps an unnecessary point. (If its robot vs robot what's the point?)
Nesta, 2016
UAV vs. Quadcopter


A quad-copter has 4 multi-rotors that act as a helicopter type design usually with a camera mounted to the device.
A UAV Drone usually takes the form of an aeroplane and can be fitted much easier with weapons and often fly longer distances and higher in space.
For this project, I've focused on the application of quadcopters, and how they've taken the negative stigmas of the military drone.

What the device was invented for?
The Drone quadcopter was initially seen as a photo/videography tool that would capture panormaic type footage that wasn't previously available with SLR camera tripods, GoPro's or Video Camera Apparatus
The Invention was simple. A device that could bring a new medium to audiences and convey a new narrative for a story from the sky. Progression and development has automated this so that the user can now be apart of the story with the introduction of a "follow me" feature
Based on the research I’ve undertaken, the ideologies of “Media Audiences and Ethnography” as well as “Personal Devices in Public Spaces” I’d like to combine these ideologies to put together a collection of individual case studies that indeed aim to “Persuade an audience to think about how media practices and experience are spatial in nature”
Using this base from the Couldry reading, I’d like to explore the mulitplications as the various entry points to the usage of drones (VR, 360 cameras) and the multiple layers of user control they allow for commercial and leisure flight. Spatializations will look at the drone itself, the speculation from the public as well as the narratives the user and device create in a public space. And lastly mutual recognition I will apply to the policy and regulation of the human and drone technology in modern day public spaces and how this arises external thoughts of privacy.
“Three main dimensions of a digital storycircle are explored: multiplications, spatializations (or the building of narratives around sets of individual narratives), and habits of mutual recognition. “
N, Couldry 2004
Contemporary/Intentional Drone Storytelling
This Drone footage was all entries into potential real world applications that I've used both commercially available drones in stores, as well as, custom built drones from scratch.

What else is happening now in the world of drones?
3D Mapping
Real Estate
However, authorities have practiced the negative static nature of drone progression with limiting the citizen journalist gaining footage over a protest.
Does this promote harmful reactions to done usage ?
If the authroites don’t trust them to provide raw and real time footage how can the public?

These aren't to be confused. With Quadcopter Drones that will be the main focus of this presentation. Military drones and UAV 'fixed wing' devices (that look triangular in shape) sometimes draw connections to the negative connotations when using the same word for multiple builds of drone.
Fixed Wing UAV
Quadcopter Drone
If negative attitudes persist. When it comes to legislation, the public’s disapproval of drones could very well turn into support for tight restrictions or even an outright ban on drone use by private citizens
While drones can be anthromorphized into believing that unmanned is always autonomous, this isn’t always the case and the inventive narratives of the quadcopter and the UAV date back to pilots being required for both surveillance and military purposes. However, the idea that drones can use cameras to detect and avoid as well as track and network, their independence can often suggest a self-thinking motif. This doesn't always have to interfere with daily human life, nor does it have to be an anxiety amongst the public.
“a world where the ‘network’ begins to gain physical autonomy. Drones become protagonists, moving through the city, making decisions about the world and influencing our lives in often opaque yet profound ways.”
SuperFlux, 2015
Where does the potential stop? How sa can we make our communities? How advanced can positive interaction be with autonomy?
360 degree showcase of a Custom built drone along a beach side. The 'Click and Drag' feature almost feels like the user can control where the drone looks. Giving this type of freedom allows new perspectives and new narratives to the flight path and changes the constraints of viewing a space, now the audience doesn't have to abide by what the drone relays back.
This was an inventional narrative that I created to improve the well-being of surveillance engineers, as well as the quantity of inspections that could be acheived that in turn, made the motorists and community safer too. This was changing everything that was set about drones, attaching firstly a camera to the top of the device, as well as using a 360 degree enabled camera.
The initial project was to create a prototype from an idea that could be applied to a real world problem that wouldn't encourage a "fear of robotics taking over the world" but instead lead to an interaction between autonomous technology and a new perspective of the world from an extension of the human eye. These cybernetic relationships formed what I now call the "lookup". It is the result of many failures, iterations and external skillsets. Drones have a long way to come in terms of public interest and harmony, however changing the narratives into "what you can do" with them starts to already change the attitude of the user. When given complete control of this technology the potential increases immensely, and this was the driving force to my passion to create a prototype to solve one problem within the RMS Bridge inspection process, but also pioneer a new paradigm of quadcopter technology. To give a new angle of footage and to make this an inspiration to others to take something great, and apply personal touches to make it better. This product isn't limited to one task, by attaching a camera mount to the bottom, this can be released commercially for anyone to try it out performing tasks they desire.

These kinds of DIY leaps and ambitious collaborations of new technology allow trajoectories to be filled. What
we do with this new perspective, and how can we challenge our audiences that want to see their potential in both public arenas and niche application.
My Own Nano Drone Footage
Aesthetic...Think outside the square...
FPV (First Person View) Racing
Not Mine
Not Mine
First Aid
Back Yard Delivery (Amazon)
Autonomous Action Sport Coverage
"Dronie" The Drone Selfie
'Freestyle' FPV
Drone Long Exposure Painting
Science Fiction Remake - Star Wars Drone Wars
"Drone Hunting"
What do you think?
The pamphlet is acknowledged as a safety precaution but majority suggest the general aesthetic of the guidelines could be targeted different
The demographic this was taken with seem to have a positive outlook on the drone technology. Perhaps greater/ wider survey involvement would have seen mixed responses.
This showcases within the research group, the camera attachment seems to be causing the most anxieties. People don't want their privacy invaded and a seemingly "watching" device is something people responded to.
Another point to consider is the size of these devices (big or small), possibility to harm others and the name of the drone being negatively connotated.
Interesting response that the public should have access these devices for the actions they choose, but when given to authoritative personnel the opinons sway. Perhaps the privacy issue, risk of being identified easier or simply that the narrative of the device is an aesthetic open path.
Similarly, the research group surveyed suggest for news and informative style content, drones have a real world application and the public support this new way to view content.
Some individuals have a basic understanding of the applications and potential…Creatives perhaps need to continue to make their footage and works available online and showcase the positive influence they’re having on society.
Generational shifts seem to be something that from the survey results maybe another field of research to undertake… does generational influences make new technology in media and communication a public anxiety.
People, based on the responses, believe the current trajectory or pattern of drones is okay. The size then relates back to question 4 in that the smaller these devices get, the more the public are threatened by its potential invasion of spaces we can't see.

Perhaps a positive direction would be to keep the size the same, the functionality the same but have an "industrial" drone. A big, safe, quiet and long-lasting drone that could perhaps act as a personal assitant. Start connecting the Internet of Things and have a personal tweeting drone. Perhaps something continue and develop would be the following example. It eliminates risk of harm, isn't threatening in appearance and is seemingly easy to operate for the general public.
If negative attitudes persist. When it comes to legislation, the public’s disapproval of drones could very well turn into support for tight restrictions or even an outright ban on drone use by private citizens.
general public perception and interaction is limited and it's up to creatives to trial and error with the technology to fully understand its real world application and potential.

Feel free to watch as much or as little of these videos as possible.
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