Filmmakers Destroy Drones in Service of Capturing Unseen Angles From the Inside of an Active Volcano

San Francisco-based tech employee turned adventurer/filmmaker Sam Cossman told National Geographic how his team lost multiple DJI drones as it worked to capture footage from unseen angles inside Ambrym, an active volcano on the island nation of Vanuatu.

The drones enabled us to navigate around the gas plumes and perpetually shifting clouds (something that satellite imagery is unable to do) to shoot a series of thousands of images which could be stitched together with photogrammetry software to create the first true to scale, 3-D model of a volcanic crater and lava lake. With drones and GPS, we are able to reproducibly report real-time measurements and dimensions of the crater and track change over time, which improves our knowledge of the volcanic process.

Cossman also took a more hands-on approach, donning an aluminized fiberglass and Nomex suit to get closer to the 2,000-degree lava bed.



images via National Geographic