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Special Report: Using Drones in Journalism


Ben Kreimer had plans to go to India to film a documentary with his dad. What he didn't plan, was using a drone to help.

"We were shooting these wedding marching bands," Kreimer said. "So basically these small parades of band members playing brass instruments, drummers, pushing a cart with a big amplification system."

Because the FAA restricts the commercial use of drones in the United States, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Matt Waite, who started the UNL Drone Journalism Lab, had an idea.

"We were talking one day before he left, and I was like take one with, you can't really use it here," Waite said.

Most of the documentary shooting took place at night, so Kreimer had to find other ways to use the drone. He heard about a soccer tournament in town.

"It was fairly easy for me to talk to the event organizers and basically get the VIP access I needed to be able to fly," Kreimer said, "and not only fly but fly low over the players."

From goal kicks to penalty kicks, Kreimer covered the entire pitch. 'The Times of India' even published some of his shots in the paper.

"Because it became sort of a novelty at the tournament, they even took photos of me secretly. I didn't know this was going on, but then they published photos of me along with the coverage," Kreimer said.

Once the India trip was finished, Kreimer was supposed to come back to Nebraska, but he wanted to make another stop along the way.

"We had been working with this African group, the African SkyCam project, which is based at the Nairobi Star in Kenya," Waite said.

With the drone, Kreimer was able to get within 10 feet of one of the most endangered animals in the world.

"It was unbelievable," Kreimer said, "flying that close. My father, watching the footage, said the rhino doesn't even look real. I mean it kinda doesn't, it was kind of an unreal situation."

Both professor Waite and Kreimer said one of the best things about flying a drone is it only takes about 10 seconds to see things in a whole new perspective.

"Just watching some of that video you get the idea that you're right down in the bed of a creek and you're moving right through it. All of a sudden it just goes up, and suddenly you realize your place in the world, and just how small that place you just were really is," Waite said.

As for the future use of drones, both said we're only just taking off.


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