Video edits are big business in the action sports industry these days, for both professionals and amateurs alike. While the arrival of GoPro cameras has significantly improved what can be captured, anyone who’s used a helmet, pole or chest mounted GoPro will appreciate its limitations.
If you want more than some shaky footage with handlebars, pole or weird shaped board flapping around in shot, it generally needs to be filmed by someone else, preferably from above. Previously the only way to do this has been to employ a film crew with helicopters or man-operated drones, which is fine if you happen to be sponsored by Red Bull, but makes it unobtainable for us mere mortals.
However, Californian start-up Squadrone System has invented an ingenious aerial drone that will follow you as you move, without the need for a filming partner.
The Hexo+ is designed to carry a GoPro camera and tracks its subject via a smartphone app. The six-rotor device is capable of travelling at up to 45 miles per hour and can track and film its subject within a range of 164 feet. You can also programme the drone to film you from a precise distance and angle.
The device does have its limitations. Firstly, it only has 15 minutes battery life, which means no time for endless retakes. It also has no capacity for obstacle avoidance, which is fine in the open mountains, but might be a bit problematic if you want it to film yourself mountain biking down a forest trail.
However, this hasn’t proved to be a deterrent to the huge number of supporters who’ve already backed the project. Hexo+ was launched on Kickstarter on Saturday (15 June) and smashed its $50,000 target within only 2 hours. At the time of publication it had reached a massive $548,000 of backing with 27 days still to go.
It also has the some of the biggest names in action sports behind it, including 3 times world champion freeride snowboarder Xavier de la Rue, who like many others, sees it as having the potential to revolutionise the world of action sports filming.
Early backers can get the Hexo+ for $599 (£353) on its own, or $699 (£412) with a GoPro Hero 3 White Edition camera, and are expected to receive the device in May 2015. When it goes on sale it will cost $899 (£530) without the camera.
What do you think?