Homemade drone captures stunning unseen views of Cuba

Posted: 27-Oct-15 18:39

Brilliant footage captured by a local team of engineers has revealed Cuba in a new light; and the hope is that this could boost tourism on the island.

Homemade drone captures stunning unseen views of Cuba

Despite their prohibited nature in Cuba, one plucky group of natives have fashioned their own drone camera and captured exclusive footage of the island that had previously gone unseen.

The Cuban government is quite conservative when it comes to matters of surveillance, and there have been reports of drones being confiscated at customs as tourists enter the country. Reporters covering Pope Frances' visit in September were even warned in advance by government officials that drones were not welcome.

So it must have come as quite a shock to the assembled islanders who witnessed the small flying camera overhead. Its operators were a group of Cuban engineers, who have been granted permission by officials to capture aerial footage to help bolster the country's tourist industry.

Photographer Fredy Landa, who headed the project, said:

"Everyone, Cuban or foreigner, as soon as they see the video their first reaction is always the same: Wow!"

He and his colleagues had become fascinated by aerial photography after enjoying international movies sourced from the black market. Inspired by the Hollywood blockbusters they watched together, the group began building their own planes and helicopters before progressing onto drones.

The Havana natives found parts hard to come by due to the US trade embargo, and so had to fashion items from readily available items, such as printers, as well as relying on components being brought in from China by friends on their travels.

They created a drone with a GoPro video camera attached, and captured footage that had yet to be seen by the naked eye. The resulting film was then shown to tourism officials, who instantly recognised its potential. They commissioned the drone to fly across Cuba, and it captured more captivating images from all four corners of the island.

The subsequent video content has been used heavily by the Cuban tourism board, whilst Landa and his gang have been hired by some of the finest acts on the island to film their music videos. Mr Landa explained:

"Why should we have to wait for a foreigner to do it when we Cubans can show the truly beautiful Cuba that we have. These are times to challenge ourselves and to try new things, and that's what we are doing."

The plan now is to put together an exhibition of their work, so that more people can appreciate the true beauty of the island.


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