Ghost droning became quite the phenomenon during the last Halloween holiday. Many new drone owners saw the potential in creating their drones for Halloween ghost pranks. The idea is pretty simple.
Operators attach drones to a frame that they program to fly around in stable flight. That frame is then covered in a Halloween costume – often a ghost.
The ghost then flies around a neighborhood, scaring unsuspecting children as they go door-to-door for candy. The footage is then uploaded to YouTube, and everyone has a good laugh.
The concept is so simple that many people are still playing with the idea in the attempt to better past attempts. Developments in drone tech, flying skills, cameras and battery lives mean that Halloween 2017 is sure to see a surge in interesting ghost drones.
It may seem like a complicated idea, but ghost drone building isn’t all that different to general drone building. Creators simply need a strong, stable frame, with all the right parts in all the right places for prolonged, balanced and easy flight.
This means rotors positioned in the right place with good wiring to a reliable flight controller that has the gyro in the right place. It also needs a good battery and the right programming.
The major difference here is that the frame is a T-shape, which is not really the most typical or aerodynamic shape. With the right design and shape, it is possible to offset the weight of the battery and parts to remain upright in flight.
An unbalanced ghost, with the controller off-center or the battery misplaced, will just look a little drunk and un-threatening.
Part of the appeal in this ghost droning trend is that the ghosts can film the action. This ghost eye view of the situation provides a new angle on holiday.
There are some great shots online of ghosts following children as they run down the street. It is effective, however likely it is that they staged the footage. This aerial footage requires a steady hand, a good controller, and a high-quality video camera.
Designers can mount the camera to the frame and hook it to the transmitter, just like with a regular drone build. The quality of the camera and its movements depend on the model bought and the capabilities of the drone.
When it comes to the costume over the frame, there are lots of different approaches that creators can take. The basic ghost costume is the most obvious and easy to make.
Many people used to create ghostly shapes from old bed sheets and cut eye holes in them as kids. The principle is similar here with the drone ghosts.
A white sheet is the ideal starting point to drape over these T-shape frames. That is as long as users leave enough clearance for the propellers and camera.
Others may decide to take the design to new levels. It is not just white ghosts that can fly around the neighborhood on Halloween.
This is the night when witches, ghouls, and demons of all kinds come out to play. Perhaps there is an urban legend to bring to life. Some also take inspiration from the movies, such as the Dementors from Harry Potter.
The more time and dedication that designers can spare, the better is the prop. Also, there are some designs that take lighting into account. A simple string of LED’s will make the ghost drone spookier, and more visible, during night-time pranks.
A good ghost drone is sure to be a hit with trick-or-treaters.
In the end, the main goal here is to scare little kids as they trick or treating, and a few adults for good measure. Naturally, all operators need to make sure to follow all relevant guidelines for their drones and play safe. This means not getting too close to the property, people or power lines.
The image of a witch going up in flames on a power line may be horrifying, but it is not worth it. Those that play responsibly and take the time with a good design and set-up will reap the rewards.
The best ghost drones quickly gain notoriety, and good video footage will get plenty of hits online. The only problem for designers is coming up with an even better drone-based prank for next Halloween.