Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shooting a Book Trailer with a Drone

Since Amazon is hyping drones I thought I would tell my drone story. We shot the first book trailer for my novel Rocket Man with a camera mounted on a drone. My friend is a filmmaker and he procured the use of the drone and since the book involves rockets I brought the model rockets to a field in Oak Park Illinois just west of Chicago. The drone we were using was worth thousands and the digital camera was worth more. Ok. Keep that in the back of your mind.

He set up the drone and I set up the rockets. It was cold and our fingers numbed out fast but we got to the point where I was holding the ignition switch and he was holding his laptop for the drone. His drone looks just like the ones we are now seeing in Amazon commericals and news footage. A spider with a bunch of propellers. So he lifted the drone off and got it above the trees and I hit the ignition switch and whoosh. The rocket blasted off.

We watched the footage in his laptop as the drone hovered and followed the rocket until the parachute popped out. We did this over and over. On about the tenth time we decided to put a bigger engine in the rocket and so we took the drone really high. We were staring up when the drone suddenly took off for Chicago. My friend jammed the keys on his laptop but the drone had slipped out of range and was now cruising for the West side.

We jumped into his car and started chasing the drone. It sends out a wifi signal he explained and I grabbed the laptop and started searching for the DRONE2 signal. We drove into residential neighborhoods. The drone had a fail safe where once it lost contact it was supposed to set itself down and send out its signal. That is if it didn't just crash into a tree or lose power and smash into the ground. We drove and drove looking for the thousands of dollars that would be lost if we didn't find the drone and the camera.

We were about to give up when we turned a corner and I picked up the drone signal DRONE2 searching wifi signals with my phone. We pulled over and looked up and down the street. It could be anywhere my friend muttered as we got out of the car. I turned and saw twinkling green diodes on a slanted roof. The drone. One in a million we would find it, but we were able to bring it down with the laptop.

So when Amazon talks about delivering your packages with a drone... know that it might get there or it might just take off and fly over Chicago and go land on someone's roof.
Rocket Man Book Trailer

Books by William Hazelgrove