An Interactive Tool for Designing Quadrotor Camera Shots
SIGGRAPH Asia 2015
*Authors contributed equally
Cameras attached to small quadrotor aircraft are rapidly becoming a ubiquitous tool for cinematographers, enabling dynamic camera movements through 3D environments. Currently, professionals use these cameras by flying quadrotors manually, a process which requires much skill and dexterity. In this paper, we investigate the needs of quadrotor cinematographers, and build a tool to support video capture using quadrotor-based camera systems. We begin by conducting semi-structured interviews with professional photographers and videographers, from which we extract a set of design principles. We present a tool based on these principles for designing and autonomously executing quadrotor-based camera shots. Our tool enables users to: (1) specify shots visually using keyframes; (2) preview the resulting shots in a virtual environment; (3) precisely control the timing of shots using easing curves; and (4) capture the resulting shots in the real world with a single button click using commercially available quadrotors. We evaluate our tool in a user study with novice and expert cinematographers. We show that our tool makes it possible for novices and experts to design compelling and challenging shots, and capture them fully autonomously.
This video shows a more technical explanation of our system:
* Authors contributed equally
We would like to pay our respects to our friend and co-author Floraine Berthouzoz, who passed away unexpectedly shortly after this paper was accepted, well before her time. Floraine, you were an incredible and inspiring collaborator; your contributions to this work and your impact on us as researchers is immeasurable. You will be dearly missed.
This project would not have been possible without the generous assistance and support of many individuals.
We thank Maxine Lim for creating figures and designing our project website.
We thank Jane E, James Hegarty, Wilmot Li, and Jerry Talton for their valuable feedback on early drafts of this paper.
We thank our user study participants: Patrick Tierney, Romeo Durscher, Sebastian Burke and James Hegarty.
We thank the photographers and cinematographers we interviewed: Eric Cheng, Romeo Durscher, Russel Brown, George Krieger, Colin Smith, Barry Blanchard, Jeff Foster, Joe Picard, Blake Marvin, Brian Streem, and the Cape Productions team.
We thank Andrew Tridgell, Randy MacKay, and the Ardupilot team for their software support.
We thank Brandon Basso and the 3D Robotics team. We also thank Fergus Noble and the Swift Navigation team. We are thankful to our industry partners for their hardware support and encouragement throughout.
We thank Stephen Boyd for the helpful discussion about the optimization problem in Section 7 of the paper.
This work was supported in part by a NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship.