Ford is working with MAKE to profile owners of the Transit Connect, a vehicle that offers creative types a small, modifiable vehicle to suit their passions and personal pursuits. In this series, we’ll be profiling Transit Connect owners and looking at how they’ve customized their rides.
Drone Dudes is a team of filmmakers and designers and when I first saw their work I thought: “Of course!”
When any maker completes building their first multirotor project, the immediate impulse is to see what the drone sees, to explore a familiar terrestrial location from the skies. That is, you want to put a camera on the drone. Cameras like the GoPro have assisted in this pursuit because they are lightweight and equipment is readymade for mounting them to the contraption of your choosing.
However Drone Dudes take this art to the next level.
Their most sophisticated rig combines a radial octocopter in conjunction with a RED camera mounted to a 3-axis gimbal to capture what can only be described as stunning aerial cinematography. As their name implies, piloting this setup requires multiple operators, so one dude flies the copter while the other controls the camera.
The capabilities of their custom-built “oktocopter” which combines two 7800mAh batteries in parallel and can hoist up to 12 lbs. for 11 minutes of flight time is impressive to say the least:
- 2 Axis or 3 Axis Gimbal
- HD Monitoring Station
- HD Live Broadcast
- Wireless Follow Focus
- First Person View + On-Screen Display + Mobile Ground Station
- Remote Photo Shutter
- LED Light Panel
- Autonomous Flight Plans
- Telemetry Data
And how they get all their gear on location is a tale unto itself, which is where their Transit Connect comes in. They’ve modded the vehicle to not only accommodate their mobile studio, but it also doubles as their camper cab on those longer road trips. We caught up with Andrew Petersen and Jeff Blank from the Drone Dudes crew in the mountains outside of Los Angeles, so you can see how they capture their footage, and how they journey from place to place.
From transporting copters for remote filming to camping to utilizing the sliding tray as an operating or pop-up picnic table, the Drone Dudes settled upon some simple, but sophisticated uses of their vehicle’s available interior space. They worked with Kevin Hornby who modified his own Transit Connect, showing that makers are increasingly looking to take their projects on the road with a vehicle that is itself a project.