Klaserie River Sands

BeetleCopter captures the Serengeti

Will Burrad-Lucas launches an innovative contraption called the BeetleCopter. This device has incredible potential in wildlife filmmaking and photography; it is quieter and more manoeuvrable than a normal helicopter so it can get closer to animals with minimal disturbance.


After building several multiroter copters, which can accommodate different sized cameras ranging from a GoPro up to Canon 5D Mark III, he took his new BeetleCopters to the Serengeti in Tanzania for testing. He found the best camera to use was a GoPro Hero 3+, suspended under the body of copter, as the light camera allowed for long flight times.

The following footage is a result of two weeks of experimentation. To get this footage he was sometimes a kilometre away from the copter, operating it via a live video feed.

The BeetleCopter is the successor to the BeetleCam which is an armoured remote-control buggy for a DSLR camera. Will Burrad-Lucas created the BeetleCam to safely position his camera in places where no human could go. With this invention he is able to photograph predators from the perspective of their prey or elephants as they pass inches from the lens!

lion-kill lion-cub wild-dog elephants leopard

Burrad-Lucas had this to say about his unique devices, “Most wildlife is photographed or filmed with a telephoto lens from far away. This results in a narrow field of view and shallow depth of field. Getting closer to the subject and using a wide-angle lens gives a completely different result … you are able to connect more with the subject and get a better sense of the animal in its environment.”

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