Students’ Drones Take Flight in Syracuse University’s Indoor Sports Arenas

It’s been almost a year since Professor Dan Pacheco first brought drones into the S.I. Newhouse school to experiment with aerial footage for journalism, and a lot has changed since then. Most notably, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun to flex its regulatory muscles to effectively shut down outdoor drone flights by state-funded universities by requiring certificates of authorization that don’t yet exist.

Participants of the first indoor drone test flight at Syracuse University's Manley Field House on October 4, 2013. From left to right: Prof. Dan Pacheco, Pacheco and SU students Jay Getman, Arland Whitfield and Erin Miller.

Participants of the first indoor drone test flight at Syracuse University’s Manley Field House on October 4, 2013. From left to right: Gabriel Smadi, freshman in LC Smith; Prof. Dan Pacheco, Chair of Journalism Innovation at Newhouse; Jay Getman and Arland Whitfield, freshmen from SU’s iSchool; and Erin Miller, advertising student at Newhouse. (Photo by Lenny Christopher).

Because Syracuse University is not engaging in outdoor flights at this point, we have not received warnings from the FAA, but we are closely monitoring the regulatory environment as the clock counts down to September 30, 2015 — the date by which Congress has mandated that the FAA create a method to certify and authorize commercial drone flights.

Meanwhile, student interest in drones is increasing. The first multidisciplinary student-run organization, which is advised by Pacheco, is starting to form with representatives from several SU schools, including Newhouse, the iSchool and Smith College of Engineering.

With outdoor flights on the back burner, Pacheco, with the support of SU Athletics, is helping the student organization get indoor flight time in SU’s indoor sports arenas. The first flight happened on October 4, 2013 in SU’s Manley Field House using iSchool student Arland Whitfield’s Naza drone. Whitfield was accompanied by two students from the Newhouse school, another from the iSchool, and one from LC Smith college of engineering. You can see the results of their first test in this video.

Pacheco also recently sent two members of the student organization, Jay Getman and Erin Miller, to the DARC Drone & Aerial Robotics Conference in New York City. You can stay up to date on Getman’s research into drones on his blog, which is part of an independent study with Pacheco focused on new technologies for media.

So where do things go from here? Pacheco is actively discussing next steps with SU Athletics. Apart from what we may do with them, the area of Drone Sports Journalism is ripe with possibilities. Have an idea for using flying cameras in sports? Post your comments here.

– Dan Pacheco, Chair of Journalism Innovation

 

Professor Pacheco in the Press

2016 Mirror Awards Ceremony - YouTube

Comments:

  • Nonny de la Peña had this to say about Professor Pacheco after her acceptance of an I-3 Mirror Award.

    “Once the [Oculus] Facebook sale happened, $2 billion dollars, you’re not so nuts. But before that happened, a lot of people thought trying to do journalism in virtual reality was crazy...

Students, Faculty to Create Content for HoloLens Augmented Reality Headset

Comments:

  • Prof. Dan Pacheco has been accepted into the HoloLens developer program and will work with Newhouse students and faculty to create content for the device. - Dan Pacheco

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Immersive journalism: What virtual reality means for the future of storytelling and empathy-casting - TechRepublic

Comments:

  • Prof. Pacheco was interviewed by CBS Interactive's TechRepublic about using virtuality for journalism in the story: "Immersive journalism: What virtual reality means for the future of storytelling and empathy-casting." The piece also referenced Pacheco's Virtual Reality Storytelling course and included a link to a 360 video of the SU football team by class member and football player Eric Jackson...

http://storynext.gannett.com/state-of-vr.pdf

Comments:

  • Prof. Pacheco co-authored the primer on virtual reality in this report on The State of Virtual Reality in Journalism for Gannett and the Knight Foundation. - Dan Pacheco

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Daily Orange: Universities should embrace experiential media courses

Comments:

  • "There’s a virtual reality course being taught this semester in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications called Virtual Reality Storytelling. (Full disclosure: I am taking the course right now. It’s awesome.) The course’s professor, Dan Pacheco, says demand for the course is high, and for good reason in that it may set you apart in a job interview...

StoryNEXT conference features virtual reality – Hypergrid Business

Comments:

  • Professor Pacheco has been added to the advisory board for StoryNEXT, a new annual conference focused on innovators in virtual reality storytelling. - Dan Pacheco

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Recent Breakthroughs In Virtual Reality Go Beyond Simply Playing Video Games | ThinkProgress

Comments:

  • "“The more difficult and complicated the subject, the more we seem to want to close the news app and open up Candy Crush,” said Daniel Pacheco, a journalism professor at Syracuse University who specializes in VR storytelling. “VR can counteract this tendency because of its ability make you feel physically present somewhere and to comprehend information by exploring it in an almost physical way...

The Des Moines Register wins Murrow award for Harvest of Change VR Project

Comments:

  • The Des Moines Register's Harvest of Change, which was the first project to incorporate virtual reality in a commercial news setting, has won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award. This emerged from Professor Dan Pacheco working as an innovator in residence at Gannett Digital, where he brought an Oculus Rift and knowledge of how to create VR experiences in Unity...

HoloLens Brings 3D Media Into the Physical World

Comments:

  • Professor Pacheco reports on his experience with an extended HoloLens demo at the E3 conference and provides ideas on how it could be used in journalism and media. - Dan Pacheco

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"All the President's Avatars"

Comments:

  • Professor Pacheco is interviewed by a Swedish tech magazine about virtual reality journalism. - Dan Pacheco

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Adobe Adds Mixamo 3D Animation Service To Creative Cloud Mix | TechCrunch

Comments:

  • "Students in Pacheco’s VR Storytelling course (http://vrstorytelling.org), most of whom have no 3D modeling experience, use Mixamo to easily and inexpensively add interactive characters to scenes that are viewed in Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets" -

    Welcome to the Washing Machine

    Comments:

    • Prof. Pacheco predicts the future media-disrupting technologies for CommPRObiz: "Part of my job as the Peter Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation is to look on the horizon and identify trends that might lead the next waves of disruption. I also challenge my students to do field tests of disruptive technologies, then use what they learn to predict where things will be in another 5 years...

Our list of the best 11 journalism experiments

Comments:

  • Columbia Journalism Review just listed the "Harvest of Change” virtual reality journalism project that Professor Pacheco co-produced at Gannett as one of 11 noteworthy journalism experiments today. BDJ senior, now graduated, also contributed as a developer. -

    Virtual Reality Storytelling - From Screen to Beam : Documentary Campus e.V.

    Comments:

    • Creating Your First VR Experience
      Practical tips for getting started in VR using freely available software and 3D assets. Prof. Dan Pacheco will draw upon material from his Virtual Reality Storytelling class at the S.I. Newhouse School to provide practical steps for creating interactive scenes in Unity3D that can be exported for web and the Oculus Rift...

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