Skywand VR is a new software tool utilizing virtual reality to bring pre-vis (and pre-planning) capabilities to aerial cinematography.
There is a lot of buzz at this year’s NAB, on how virtual reality can potentially be a major tool for directors and DP's in pre-production, essentially allowing them to step into the locations they will film before actually getting there. Skywand VR's new system allows you to manually walk through your location (in the sky) to set keyframes for a drone to follow. Essentially you plot these points using GPS on maps taken from Google Earth, but what's really special is that you can also give the camera commands to zoom, focus, tilt, pitch, roll, etc., within those keyframes.
Currently the product is only compatible with DJI drones (including the new M600), but it is more than likely that once it passes through beta testing next month, more drone manufacturers will be looking to partner.
Skywand is an advanced motion control system for aerial cinematography that combines ease of use, repeatability, and precision. Harnessing cutting edge technologies in virtual/augment reality (VR/AR), animation, and drone flight, Skywand allows users to create precise aerial filming plans by intuitively placing key frames in the 3D virtual world that meet all cinematographic needs, and the drone follows the path precisely in the actual world and captures epic, smooth and high precision aerial shots. Filming, not flying. Skywand removes technical barriers to achieving expert drone cinematography by automating the flight process, giving imaginative filmmakers a powerful partner in the sky.
The makers of Skywand boast that the technology behind Skywand is the most advanced robotics control algorithm and state-of-the-art virtual reality interface. The sophisticated algorithm guarantees that the drone captures epic, smooth, repetable and high precision aerial shots every time. The company claims their virtual reality interface is the most intuitive way for filmmaker to transport their framing idea into the real production. The interface and robotics technology of Skywand is currently patent pending.
Skywand is just one of the examples of VR potential in cinematography. What are your thoughts on using VR in filming? Feel free to share in the comments below.