The evolution of skateboarding took another giant leap recently when a Czech company released this video, called 'Firefly,' filmed entirely from a drone aircraft for a result that is eerie, beautiful, and really fucking cool.
The short clip features a silhouetted skater ghostly rolling through the empty streets of Prague on a board lit from beneath. The skater is hardly visible, but the deck, bottom-outlined with tiny lights, casts a blue-white shadow the color of lightning, giving the whole production the feel of a magic carpet ride, both on the street and from the air.
A secondary behind-the-scenes video (below) reveals more about the project. Created by Samadhi Productions, a company with clients like Nike and Red Bull, the video was shot on a camera mounted to a hexacopter built by JamCopters, another Czech outfit, and was estimated by hobbyists (via Buzzfeed) to cost around $10,000 for the rig, camera, and lenses.
Drone technology has been in the works since the first areal combat missions in 1911, when Italy invaded Libya. During World War I, gyroscope inventor Elmer Sperry was hired by the US Navy to develop “air torpedos” and was part of a secret and unsuccessful program run out of Long Island. (Funding was cut after war and most bombs didn’t hit their targets.)
Unmanned aircraft technology improved with every war, but it wasn’t until the 1960s when Air Force engineers first coupled pilotless aircraft with surveillance equipment. These days, however, they're known more for killing -- and tracking Alex Cross. It's nice to see a more creative (and peaceful) adaptation.
Cole Louison is the author of 'The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler and the Fantastic History of Skateboarding.'