Author Archives: Hal

Drone Video Publicity

Drone Video Gets Local Press

Jason Allard with Uncommon Sense Media posted the nearly two-minute drone video of Belton Court Estate in Barrington, RI. This is the ninth in his “Uncommon’s Abandoned” series, which traces the history of historical locations throughout New England. The series documents sites which are examples of urban decay. Many are former mansions which are slowly being reclaimed by nature. Aerial video is an ideal way to show these large estates.

He has a very interesting collection of short drone videos. Another of his historical location videos is of a drive-in theater that is also being overgrown. On his site he quotes Spike Lee “I just want to make whatever is exciting.”

I discovered this story in a local Rhode Island online magazine called GoLocalProv. The story included the YouTube video above, a short interview with the producer Jason Allard and a very nice blurb about his company. It looks to me very much like a press release. And if so, it is a very smart move. I don’t know if the article brought him any work, but articles like this are bound to make the phone ring.


Looney Tunes Returning

Looney Tunes Are Returning

Looney Tunes Are Returning

Warner Bros. Animation announced Looney Tunes Cartoons will return in 2019. These animated shorts relied on traditional slapstick-driven stories. They will be shorter than the originals. The new cartoons will range from one to six minutes. The first season will consist of some 1,000 minutes of animation. They will be broadcast both on television and the internet in various forms. Welcome back Bugs, Daffy, and Porky!

Enjoy Rabbit Fire (1951)


Flies Around Obsticles

Skydio Drone Flies Around Obstacles

Flies Around Obsticles

Despite promises to the contrary, drones cannot follow you down a mountain on a snowboard. But the video that showed that in 2015 was faked. The new Skydio R1, however, can do that. Just toss it in the air and shove off. This drone is $2500 and can follow you around in a challenging environment like overhead trees, dense foliage and going under arches. And it is completely unattended. The onboard camera is 4K. It’s hard to believe that some of the shots in the above video are hands off. Even if you try to hide behind a tree or other obstacle, the drone predicts where you might have gone.

There’s also a lead mode where the drone films you from the front. The Skydio R1 has 13 cameras so it can stitch together a 3-D Map so it knows where all the obstacles are. This is the technology self-driving cars use. On the downside, the drone does not have dedicated manual controls. It is intended for one type of shot – following a moving target.


Affordable Skycam

An Affordable Skycam

Affordable Skycam

You’ve seen Skycam in operation in NFL games and in feature films for those remarkable shots that seem to follow the ball in the air. Skycam is a computer-controlled, stabilized, cable-suspended aerial camera system. It maneuvers the camera through three dimensions often over a football field or arena. The camera package weighs over 30 lbs. and moves at up to 29 mph. Skycam was invented by Garrett Brown who also invented the Steadicam. As you might guess, it is expensive, well beyond the reach of most videographers.

But now there is what can be called an affordable skycam. It is called the Wiral LITE. It is designed for the light-weight GoPro, smart phones, and other cameras weighing up to 3.3 lbs. While this certainly does not do what a drone can do, it is much cheaper and safer. This affordable skycam is available from its crowdfunding site and can be ordered for $279 at the Indiegogo site.


1000 drones

1,000 Drones Make TIME’s New Cover

1000 drones

The drones are getting into final position to make the TIME cover animation.

TIME Magazine’s latest cover was made by 958 Intel drones that were preprogrammed to create a sky animation of the TIME logo with red border. The Intel drones were also used to create a sky graphic during the Winter Olympics. For the TIME cover, the drones could not go above 400 feet. The drones were programmed to be 1.5 meters apart. Not only were the logo and border made by 1000 drones, but they also wanted to shoot it with an Astraeus Aerial drone using a cinema camera. One of the major challenges was not running into other drones considering how close they were. A little unexpected gust of wind could be disaster. An additional challenge was shooting at night. This gave them the contrast they needed for the LED lights on each drone to register against the dark sky.

We first reported on using drones to make art back in 2015 in the article Make Night Art with a Quadcopter. A wide variety of drones are available at Amazon.

As an advertisement to get me to read the magazine this “animation” did the job for me. And to make sure I was not disappointed, there’s an article in the same TIME issue explaining how drones have revolutionized how films and TV are made.


Guerilla Branding

Clever Branding

Guerilla Branding

I was stopped behind an oil truck at a red light and could not help seeing the back of the truck. And then I noticed the phone number. Clever branding!


NASA Camera Melts

NASA Camera Melts

NASA Camera Melts

Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 22, 2018 started a bursh fire which melted this Canon 5DS camera. The blast of the actual rocket launch was a quarter mile away. The blast did not melt the camera, but the brush fire did. Bill Ingalls, a veteran NASA photographer said “I had many other cameras much closer to the pad than this and all are safe. This was result of a small brush fire, which is not unheard of from launches, and was extinguished by fireman, albeit, after my cam was baked.”

However, the memory card survived and captured video and stills right until the camera was broiled. The loss of this camera was bad luck, because Bill had four other remote cameras much closer to the launchpad and those cameras survived and worked perfectly.


The lecture


HAL write here

RED Holographic Smartphone

RED holographic smartphone

This phone has an added sensor and lens mount which makes it thicker, but can also supercharge the Hydrogen One’s camera capabilities.

They are calling the RED Hydrogen One the first “holographic media machine that fits in your pocket.” This phone can creates images that jump out of the camera like a big-screen 3D movie, but without the glasses. This phone/camera will be available this summer from Verizon and AT&T. The price is predicted to be about 10% more than the $1000 iPhoneX. It is a little bigger. Red makes cinema cameras that range from $1000 to $50,000

The RED Hydrogen One screen is 5.7-inches and can display 4-D images. So you should be able to look around, below, and even into the screen’s image. It comes with 128 gigabytes of internal storage, and has a micro-SD slot for additional storage. It also works as an Android phone.


faces places

Faces Places – Art Documentary/Road Movie

faces places

An 89-year old leading figure of the French New Wave, and an acclaimed 33 year-old French photographer and muralist co-direct this French art documentary/road movie. They travel in a photo van which has a photo booth and an oversized printer. Their mission is to make portraits of ordinary people. These portraits are super enlarged so they can be pasted on very large walls and other surfaces.

It’s a touching story of the unlikely pair and their wonderful art which reminds me of the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Also reminds me of the travels of Charles Kuralt. Made me want to learn how to make oversized photos. I found it on Netflix.