Onkel Toad’s live racing drone offers viewers of the Natural Selection Tour an incredible perspective.
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
Los Angeles-based media group Uncle Toad’s, an award-winning production company, was recently selected to develop and implement a unique camera angle for the Natural Selection Tour snowboarding event.
The Natural Selection Tour, a British Columbia-based freestyle snowboard event founded by professional snowboarder Travis Rice, wanted a camera angle that snowboarders could follow without requiring the physical presence of a cameraman on the event course. This camera should also be able to capture all variations of a snowboard ride live, as the event does not have a fixed course. It became clear that a specialized drone was needed, but no existing drone met all of the necessary requirements.
In collaboration with world champion racing driver Gabriel Kocher, Uncle Toad has developed the first stabilized live racing drone, or First Person View (FPV) drone, which is used for primary coverage. Kocher tracked every single snowboarder throughout the event and the angle the perspective offered was similar to that of a video game.
This process was not without its challenges as the remote location of the event proved to be a significant obstacle. Uncle Toad’s worked with its partners at RF Wireless to handle the almost entirely wireless broadcast, which consisted of 13 different cameras taking photos from a remote mountain while the production team was stationed in a parking lot two miles away.
Uncle Toad has built a total of five drones, each of which is a unique stabilized racing drone. Besides the Natural Selection Tour, this type of drone angle will have many other uses. Many other sporting event programs such as motocross, mountain biking, cycling, and sailing face similar challenges when filming as they also take place in challenging and hard-to-reach locations. For programs like this, Uncle Toad’s FPV drone could prove to be a game changer.
“We’re always looking for new ways to cover our program; Similar to the world’s first jet ski camera for surfing, this drone was specially designed for our needs, ”said Chris Steblay, Creative Director of Uncle Toad. “It’s a unique technology and we know there will be many other ways to fly this thing.”
Ian attended the Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now a contributor to DroneLife.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional marketplace for drone services, and a passionate observer of the emerging drone industry and regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for emerging technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry, email Miriam.
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