Drone adoption at the BBC all began when Tom Hannen, senior innovation producer for BBC's global video unit, started watching YouTube videos of flying multicopters.
"Why doesn't the BBC do this?" he recalled saying to himself, at a recent Frontline Club event on the future of drones and journalism.
He convinced the BBC to fund a small drone video project, with an outside company. When that proved successful, he and another colleague public media corporation got the BBC to purchase its first drone.
"We took it out of the box and said 'we really need to learn more about this,'" Hannen said, adding that his colleague then built a drone from a kit to learn more about the technology.
"I think it's really important to know how these things work," he said.
Hannen's video unit at the BBC has been concentrating on filming out in the countryside, where there are few obstructions or restrictions. Agricultural and environmental stories are in the realm of possibilities now, but the technology is not quite ready for news gathering or live news coverage.
Hannen explained some of the BBC's equipment, and spoke alongside David Goldberg, a legal and regulatory specialist for Unmanned Experts, Professor Robert Picard, the director of research at Reuters Institute, University of Oxford, and Gerry Corbett of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Safety and Airspace Regulation Group.
Richard Sambrook, professor of journalism and director at the Centre for Journalism, Cardiff University, chaired the event.
Video of the panel discussion is posted above. For more information about the event, Frontline Club has a summary.