Innovative Norweigian tech startup Staaker has come up with epic cinematography’s answer to the selfie. As the industry continues to focus on developing drones to film other people – actors, sportspeople and live events – Staaker has come up with something decidedly new.
There is a hint as to its primary function in the name (Staaker is pronounced identically to the English word ‘stalker’), as this is a drone designed to film you and follow you around.
That might puzzle some people at first, as they wonder why they would need to have a drone follow them to the mall to do their shopping, or pick the kids up from school. If, however, the same person decides to run a half-marathon, hike a spectacular trail, take a boat trip out to see some whales, or even just simply go for a bike ride, the drone’s value becomes obvious.
By being able to film yourself while engaging in activities which would not normally allow you to control a drone, you are able to capture scenes which would have previously only been possible with the help of at least one other person, to fly the drone. Staaker eliminates that need. From now on, you don’t need a crew.
This also has huge implications for independent broadcasters, video bloggers and other independent media sources. No longer do you need to point a shaky mobile phone camera at your face and try to capture the events that are happening around you – instead you can behave and talk naturally, simply allowing the drone to follow and film you, choosing the best angles and shots. Staaker could single-handedly make poor quality amateur video a thing of the past.
As you would expect, such an ambitious drone would need to be ultra-user-friendly, and in this regard, Staaker doesn’t disappoint. There is no traditional remote control – it would be a big ask to ask a stunt cyclist or expert surfer to use one and perform to their highest ability. Instead, the user simply wears an armband fitted with sensors, and which sends signals to the drone to allow it to follow them properly.
The drone’s body itself indicates the future of ready-to-play drones – its sleek surfaces fold out and lock into place in tandem with its landing gear. Switch it on, it does a quick system check, looks around and then takes off, ready to follow you. If you want to manipulate the drone manually, it is possible to do so – there are simple controls to move it up and down, forwards and backwards, rotate left and right. But that is not what Staaker is about. This drone wants you to tell it how to follow you.
The simplest instruction is simply to follow you. In this mode, the drone will keep at a constant distance behind you at speeds of up to 80mph, so whether you are cycling or skiing, you don’t need to worry about it getting left behind. Alternatively, it can be commanded to circle you, for those triumphant shots as you stand atop the mountain you’ve just conquered. In stationary mode, Staaker will hover in one place and simply adjust the direction it faces to keep you in the shot. Finally, perhaps the future favorite setting of video bloggers is compass mode, in which the drone will keep filming you from the same direction, regardless of where you move to. This is ideal for keeping sunsets, skylines and other spectacular views in shot. The drone’s GoPro camera ensures the quality of high-speed, quick movement shots.
Staaker is being built by Foxconn, and is taking pre-orders for December for $1,200. After that it is expected to retail for around $1,800.