Dronies vs. Selfies: The Latest Way for Runners to Capture Race Day
19 Oct, 2016By: Michael Popke
In 2013, “selfie” was the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. Given the rise of its use in sports events, “dronie” might be the one in 2017. A running event has debuted commercial drone photography to catch not just individual runners but crowd shots. And savvy sports planners just might want to look into it – provided it’s legal in their areas.
Running USA reports that the Austin American-Statesman Capitol 10,000 in Austin, Texas, which took place in August, debuted the dronie:
The dronie uses a drone to capture selfies of runners, starting around eye-level then propelling upwards, while capturing the styling and profiling of its audience.
It might sound a little scary, and mind you many cities have restrictions on when and where drones can fly, but Cap10K race director Jeff Simecek was more than a little excited after this year’s dronie success and is ready to see how the technology can enhance his race even more in 2017.
Running events are far from the only sports using drones — small, unmanned aircraft flown via remote control in order to obtain aerial shots — to enhance the participation and spectating experiences.
Last year, Cape Productions, a Redwood City, Calif.-based startup, began offering skiers and snowboarders drone rentals and then upped its game considerably this year. Fox Sports increasingly is making video captured via drone part of its live coverage. And drone racing is actually a thing, with televised competitions.
The popularity of drones, though, has created some turbulence within the event industry, especially after one crashed in the stands at the 2015 U.S. Open during a tennis match. As Sports Destination Management reported at the time, that incident highlighted the need for tighter controls on who should be able to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV in tech parlance) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and whether training should be required.
Over the summer, the Federal Aviation Administration revised its rules regarding UAV/UAS operation. The changes took effect in late August and prohibit drone units from weighing more than 55 pounds. According to ComputerWorld, the new rules replace a series of temporary restrictions that have required thousands of companies — including Amazon — to apply for special permission to use drones as part of their job. Many of the rules are similar to the temporary restrictions including the requirement that drones be kept within line of sight of the operator at all times.
All that said, Simecek might truly be on to something with the dronie —which, by the way, follows the new rules.