Connect with us

Aerial Cameras

Spacial: Can Startup Compete With DJI As The Go-To Media Drone

Avatar

Published

on

spacial drone halo blimp

If you want to film an event from above, there are a number of obvious problems with using multi-rotor drones from manufacturers such as DJI and Yuneec. That’s why a New York startup called Spacial has decided to take a completely different approach.

Instead of building a multi-rotor drone, the Spacial team has designed and created a blimp that’s capable of doing many of the same things without the downsides. Spacial’s blimp – called the Halo – can film in 4K and is capable of autonomous flight at 10mph, although the team is working on doubling that top speed. It’s primarily being designed to be flown indoors.

So why does this concept tick all the boxes for anyone interested in filming their event?

Has Spacial Found The Solution To Drone Safety?

The one major barrier to the widespread use of drones at large events is safety. Whether or not it’s justified, the perception that the public and aviation authorities have is that drones are dangerous.

And that’s fair enough. A drone falling out of the sky, like the GoPro Karma has been known to do, could seriously hurt somebody.

This is the reason why flights in many countries are restricted over areas where there are crowds of people, like concerts or sporting events.

Spacial has the potential to ease those fears and offer the potential of filming events – indoor and outdoor – from above, without putting people below at risk. Because the Halo blimp is less dense and has a greater surface area than your average drone, if something does go wrong, it’s not going to drop like a stone and hurt someone.

In fact, if a power failure occurs it won’t drop at all. It will simply float in place. This is more cloud than a robot. There’s very little risk involved.

But, you might think, doesn’t the design of the blimp limit the type and quality of shots you can achieve? The answer is yes and no. There’s no doubt that this blimp isn’t going to be as maneuverable as say, a DJI Inspire 2. That will limit the range of movement for sure.

On the other hand, a blimp big enough could carry a heavy DSLR in the same way that a DJI Matrice can, so maybe the quality won’t be so bad after all.

spacial drone halo blimp

Halo, the Spacial Drone, next to a DJI Mavic

Disruptive Technology That’s Doesn’t Disrupt

The key to great photography is to capture a scene at its most natural. When people don’t know they’re being filmed, the footage is often better for it. One problem with many multi-rotor drones is the sound. These things are loud, especially when you are filming indoors or at a low altitude.

The Halo from Spacial is practically silent. This means that the blimp can hover above the action and capture it without disrupting people’s experience.

On top of that, the blimp has a flight time of three hours. That’s far longer than anything the multi-rotor drone industry has been able to produce. So that means no annoying landings to change batteries. Once it’s up, it’s up for the long haul.

Perception

We all know how influential public perception is when it comes to shaping regulations. If people think something is scary and/or dangerous, the authorities will step in.

Unfortunately for multi-rotor drones, they can be intimidating to people who don’t have first-hand experience with them. Plenty of people might see a drone in the sky and think that the pilot is up to no good.

With the Spacial Halo, that problem doesn’t really come up. Because it’s silent and slow moving, it’s likely that many won’t even notice it. But beyond that, it’s not very intimidating to look at. It’s makers have called it a “robot cloud”.

Spacial have also had interest from advertising companies keen to promote brands on the blimp. There’s plenty of surface area to take advantage of, so why not make it an advertising tool as well as one for aerial photography?

Advertisement
Comments

Our Videos