Somewhere underneath the civil liberties issues and surveillance-creep worries about drones is something much more concrete: What if some peeping Tom with a drone caught me naked? What if it caught me fucking?
That fear is the impetus behind one of the world's first drone-shot pornographic films, which, to be fair, skews way more artsy and thought provoking than your average entrant into the genre. (This is of course the point.)
"We wanted to explore the whole idea of drone privacy and strikes—this idea of 'make porn, not war,'" Brandon LaGanke, one of the Brooklyn-based filmmakers behind "Drone Boning" told me. "It started as a kind of funny commentary on privacy and voyeurism, but it quickly became a conceptual grounding."
The plan for the shooting of the video itself, which was unearthed by the Daily Dot but was found by me separately, was a bit more straightforward. “The plan was to take beautiful landscapes," he said "and just put people fucking in them.”
The film features people—straight, gay, and lesbian—having sex on the beach, on a farm, in the mountains, on a forest, on the side of the road, in lots of places (much of it is simulated). Even then, not everything made the cut: One of the more thought-provoking shots, which had to be left out because of the difficulty of filming it, would have brought drones to the suburbs, where they've already been shot down by people who were worried about their privacy.
"One of the shots was supposed to be in a quiet neighborhood where you see a barbecue happening in someone's backyard," LaGanke said. "Then, the camera pans over and there's people fucking in the next yard over."
There are hundreds of lovely uses for drones and we've explored many of them here at Motherboard. But the truth is that some of the things that make drones such a potential force for good—the ability to take a camera and toss it in the air for a couple hundred bucks—brings a new level of access to a perspective that was previously unattainable for the layperson.
Thus far, drone pilots who have been accused of being peeping Toms have been exonerated, and the footage from most drones with most regular use don’t show anything that’s really personally identifiable. But, well, someone is certainly going to do something nefarious with a drone, eventually.
"We wanted to see the artistic value of this perspective," John Carlucci, LaGanke's partner, said. "It's an omniscient point of view, really. We did these shots in places where you couldn't see much from the ground, but then you put a drone in the air and you can see what's happening."
So, even though the two used hired actors in mostly isolated places outside of San Francisco, there's a certain amount of voyeurism that goes into actually watching the video. Carlucci calls it a "Where's Waldo" sort of thing: You see these amazing, beautiful landscapes, and you quickly want to see where, exactly, people are getting it on.
The filmmakers did, indeed, have one very real run-in with a local who was not too happy they were filming on the beach.
"A lady walked up to us and said 'Are you seriously shooting porn on my beach where I walk my dog and kid?" LaGanke said. "We couldn't even talk to her, we only got one shot off."
So, there you have it. "Drone Boning" now exists in the wild, but I probably wouldn't expect a whole new genre to emerge.
"I would never shoot a real porn like this," he said. "If you can't masturbate to it, man, it's not a good pornography film."