Sep 13, 2017

Robert McIntosh has always dreamed big. Whether it’s creating videos that make the viewers feel like they’re flying or machine masterpieces that make these videos possible. Inspired by this pursuit of unreal imagery, McIntosh transformed his GoPro intro a tiny done and took it for a run of a lifetime. The footage of Venice Beach, California, captured by the GoPro-turned-tiny-drone is as stunning of an achievement as the machine he built. We asked Robert to share what inspired him to capture this moment.

GoPro: Tell us about what inspired you to make the “world’s smallest drone?”

Robert: I've always liked the idea of making the viewer feel like they are the drone or they are the ones that are flying. I think that tiny drones and the wide angle of a GoPro are the perfect match for giving that visual thrill of flying really close to something and missing it by inches. I think it gives the viewer a little bit of rush to be so close to crashing into things. I had made some smaller drones in the past to do this but this one was to see what the absolute limit would be. I think this is pretty much the limit here.

Why did you decide to use a GoPro for this?

As far as small video cameras go, GoPro is the best.  Protune is what really separates GoPro from the pack.  The color on all the competitor's cameras just doesn't hold up.  Can't wait to see what HERO6 has in store!  

 How did you transform a GoPro into a tiny drone? 

The build involved stripping off as much weight from the GoPro and the drone as humanly possible.  I was pretty obsessed about it. I even glued the 2" propellers to the motors rather than using screws to save a fraction of a gram in weight. The final all-up flying weight of everything came in at 120 grams. That tiny rig combined with video stabilization using a plugin called Reelsteady for After Effects is the only reason this is even possible. There is no way something this small could carry the weight of a gimbal. The effect is pretty stunning actually

 What did you learn through filming this?

I learned that sometimes you get really lucky. I really did not think I'd be able to fly through that ring and all the other obstacles all in the same flight.  We only tried getting the ring after we had a couple of takes in the can without it.  It was really exciting when it happened.  It was also on the last battery we had left, a real hail mary, buzzer beater type of situation.

 What do you want viewers to know about making the drone, the video, content creation etc.?

The battery only lasts 2-3 mins, it can't handle a lot of wind, and you have to spend a lot of time stabilizing the clips with Reelsteady in post-production to get it looking like that.  But I think it's worth it to get a crazy shot like this.

 What did you want to capture with this flight? What story did you want to tell?

I was walking by this area one day thinking about how there is so much pop culture history jammed into this tiny little area.  I thought it would be really cool to make a little flying historical tour of these famous spots.  If there's any story to this, I guess it's that a lot of really cool stuff has gone down at Muscle Beach over the years.