Author Archives: Hal

Drone Killer

Drone Killer: A Drone That Shoots Drones

Mount a shotgun on a drone. What could possibly go wrong? A Russian defense contractor has patented a 50 pound drone that uses an automatic shotgun to shoot other drones out of the sky. The shotgun has a 10-round magazine. Fortunately the drone is not autonomous. It requires an operator who wears a video visor. This enables the operator to fly the drone and aim the weapon. The shotgun is in the nose of the aircraft. The wider pattern of a shotgun compared to a rifle or pistol makes it easier to hit the target. This drone killer has an auto-follow system that takes over after the drone locks onto a target.

Drone Killer

It looks more like an airplane, but takes off and lands vertically like a conventional quadcopter. This prototype drone killer was built by the “Student Design Bureau of Aviation Modeling” at the Moscow Aviation Institute. It’s similar to a drone made for mining companies, farmers and pipeline surveyors. As one YouTuber commented “It’s amazing how passionate humans get about inventing new ways to murder each other.”

A smarter use of drones is the mini drone for under $30.


Marvel Movies

$1K to BingeWatch 20 Movies

Marvel Movies

If you love Marvel movies and want to make some extra cash, here’s a dream gig for you. CableTV.com is looking for someone to binge-watch all 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies back-to-back ahead of next month’s release of “Avengers: Endgame.” You will binge-watch more than 40 hours of Marvel movies. The binge watcher will be paid $1,000 cash and lots of Marvel prizes.

The requirements: you must 18 years or more, a US citizen. They also want a Marvel fanatic with an outgoing social media personality who would enthusiastically tweet while binge watching the Marvel movies. There’s no sleeping till “Endgame.” For complete details and an application form see the complete posting at CableTV.com. Applications will be accepted until April 15.


Protect Videos

Protecting Video From Manipulation

Protect Videos

Video from security cameras, body cams and many other sources is important evidence for law enforcement.

But this once sacrosanct medium is easily manipulated. Right now you can download free software that uses machine learning to perform a convincing digital video face-swap. See Changing Faces.This free software utilizes deep learning to recognize and swap faces in pictures and videos. And the software is getting better.

This presents a real problem for legal matters. Is the video true or false?
There’s a new tool that can tell for sure. It’s called Amber Authenticate./ The application runs in the background on any video capturing device. At regular intervals, it generates “hashes” which are cryptographically scrambled representations of the video data. These hashes are indelibly recorded on a public blockchain. If you run that same video clip through the algorithm again, the hashes will be different if anything has changed in the file’s audio or video data—tipping you off to possible manipulation.

The interval between hashes is a critical aspect of the technology. If, for instance, you set the interval to every second on a small business surveillance camera that would be overkill. But if the interval were set to every 30 seconds on a police body camera, there is too much that could be changed to mislead people. So the operator must choose the interval carefully.

When a video is entered into evidence it’s really hard to say what’s a fake. Just look at computer generated imagery in feature films. It’s pretty hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. Detection is not a sure thing. But with Amber Authenticate either the hash matches or it doesn’t, and it’s all publicly verifiable through the blockchain.
The technology has attracted the interest of the Department of Homeland Security and many others.

Amber Authenticate is built on the open-source blockchain platform Ethereum. It includes a web platform that makes it visually simple to determine if a video clip has been manipulated. A green frame appears around footage that matches its hashes. A red frame appears around any part that does not match the hash. Amber Authenticate also shows a detailed audit trail that lists when a file was originally created, uploaded, hashed, and submitted to the blockchain.

Now it’s up to manufacturer’s of security cameras and body cams to license the technology and install it on their video devices.


Scanning Art Object

Scanning the Original Tomb of Tutankhamun

Scanning Art Object

This company operates a Renaissance-type workshop, but uses 21st century tools. They scan original ancient art objects like the original tomb of Tutankhamen. Then they print it with 3D printers.

These copies are better than the originals. You can see the surface of the tomb better in the digital files than you can see with the naked eye on site. You can keep zooming in, so it’s like a doctor using a microscope.


Instant Replay 115 Cameras

Instant Replay 115 Cameras

Instant Replay 115 Cameras

At Sunday’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, CBS Sports has 115 cameras, including three SkyCams flying through the air, and 28 others squeezed into the pylons marking the edges of the end zones. As CBS’s Ken Aagaard said “You get these definitive shots right here on the sideline, all the way down to the 10 yard line…There isn’t a square inch on this field that we do not have covered.”

Replay producer Ryan Galvin knows that for every play he had just three seconds to choose which of those camera angles to air as an instant replay. There’s a digital tape machine for every camera. And each one has a name like leopard, Charlie, eagle which he has memorized with a hand-written map. Galvin has the help of 36 technicians who are controlling and watching all the camera angles.

The very first instant replay was in 1963 at the Army Navy game. In the 4th quarter Army was on the one yard line. The quarterback flipped over the line and made the score and this was the very first instant replay. Ironically the tape of that historic moment no longer exists. The TV viewers who saw that first instant replay thought that Army may have scored twice. They had never seen an instant replay before.

Watch the CBS Instant Replay Story

My Favorite Super Bowl Commercials 2019

One of my favorites was The NFL’s own commercial called “The 100-Year Game | SBLIII”
See 100 Year Game.

It’s just so funny and silly like a food fight in tuxedos. And it sells the idea of the fun of football. Unfortunately this commercial was much more entertaining than the game itself.

The second one “Google’s Jobs For Veterans” shows what you can do with simple close-ups of paper forms. The visuals couldn’t be any easier to produce.

It’s a powerful ad that relies on minimal visuals. As a video producer, think about how this approach could be used in a commercial or promotional video you produce. It is the script and sound track that makes this one so powerful. You can get a lot of mileage from this concept.

Want to see some more funny SuperBowl Ads? 10 Funniest Superbowl Ads from the past.


Animation and CGI Motion Course

Animation and CGI Motion Course from Columbia University

Animation and CGI Motion Course

This free online course from Columbia University shows you how to create lifelike animations focusing on the technical aspects of CGI animation and also give you a glimpse into how studios approach the art of physically-based animation. The course is rich in mathematics and science. For instance you will learn the fundamental concepts of physical simulation, including:

  1. integration of ordinary differential equations such as those needed to predict the motion of a dress in the wind.
  2. formulation of models for physical phenomena such as crumpling sheet metal and flowing water.
  3. treatment of discontinuities such as fractures and collisions.

The course is 12 weeks long starting Feb 4 and will require 8 – 10 hours a week.
For more information see this link.

There are more than 400 free Ivy League university courses you can take online in 2019.


HAL Keywords

Music Video Made with Printed Photos

The song is called “UnAmerican” by the indie rock band Said The Whale. It is a stop motion video created entirely by hand, no digital effects. This music video made with printed photos.

First they shot a video of the band performing the song. Then they printed 2,250 frames from the video as separate photo prints at a cost of $680. Finally they photographed each photo as a stop motion video. This stop motion photography took over 80 hours. Director Johnny Jansen says they timed the entire video as an animatic before they shot anything. Time code was embedded in each photo to synch with the stop motion software.

He says “Almost everything was planned in advance to make sure it was timed properly. For the longer traveling scenes like in the backyard, we measured out the distance and divided it by the amount of frames in the shot so we knew exactly how much to move the photo each time. Pretty crazy process.” Since it was uploaded, the video has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube.

This technique is something you could do for a business client. Study the video without the sound so you can slow it down and see it more clearly. Could you make a music video made with printed photos? For more inspiration see <a href=”https://www.videouniversity.com/the-greatest-music-video-ever-made/”>“The Greatest Music Video Ever Made!”</a>


3D Filmmaking Without The Headset

3D Filmmaking Without the Headset

3D Filmmaking Without The Headset

The Looking Glass is the first universal desktop holographic display designed for 3D creators. The display generates 45 simultaneous views of a 3D world at 60 fps. It does not require a VR headset.

Headsets have come a long way from the Google Cardboard, but even so they are still an impediment that must be worn or held.

The company is called The Looking Glass Factory. It is headquartered in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the home of the hologram. Their factory is in Hong Kong where they are assembling the first hundred Looking Glass units right now. It will come with a library of free apps. Shipping to begin December, 2018. Prices to start at $499.

The company has created a streaming video channel designed specifically for the Looking Glass. When it is released, you can open the Vimeo app on your Looking Glass and then enjoy curated holographic content. You will be able to interact with 3D scenes without using VR/AR headgear.

To record holograms or 3D video without the headset you will need:

• A 3D creation program like Unity (version 2017.3 or higher) https://unity3d.com/
• Vimeo Unity SDK (version 0.9.3 or higher) https://github.com/vimeo/vimeo-unity-sdk/releases/tag/0.9.3-beta
• Looking Glass HoloPlay SDK
• A registered Vimeo account

For complete instructions on recording holograms with The Looking Glass see
https://github.com/vimeo/vimeo-unity-sdk/wiki/Recording-holograms-with-The-Looking-Glass

See it on YouTube:


Download Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Legal Issues

Recording from the streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, and Hulu is strictly against the rules we agreed to when we accepted their terms. But is it legal? That’s another questions altogether. To consider that we must go back some 30 years to the Betamax Case.

In 1984 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the making of individual copies of complete television shows for the purpose of time shifting is fair use and does not constitute copyright infringement. This case was called Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios. Sony manufactured the Betamax VCR which ultimately lost the VCR war to VHS. Nevertheless, the Betamax machine allowed ordinary people to record TV shows and movies off the air.

Universal Studios and the Walt Disney Company decided to sue the Sony Corporation because they said Sony was manufacturing a machine that could be used for copyright infringement of the shows that Universal and Disney broadcast over the air.

This court decision made it legal for anyone to record anything on broadcast TV for the purpose of time shifting. So now with a DVR or other device we can watch a copyrighted show when it is convenient for us, rather than be required to watch at a specific time. This applies to TV that is broadcast in a linear fashion, one after another. But on-demand programs like those on Netflix are not aired in a linear fashion. They are already time-shifted. You can watch them whenever you want. So the question is can you record it.

Since 2011 a company called PlayOn allows all of us to record any streaming media to your computer. PlayOn is technically considered a screen capture software. So this is how they stay legal.

As CEO Jeff Lawrence told Consumerist, PlayOn does not circumvent any digital rights management (DRM), nor does it access the encrypted stream. It works as a browser-based screen-capture program. To use it you have to set up and play a movie or show so that PlayOn can record it. So far the company has not been sued by any streaming company. But remember, if you record streaming material, you are definitely breaking the Terms Of Agreement you signed when you purchased the right to stream.

These same questions often arise in the video transfer business. Just last week a customer brought a number of jazz videos by famous musicians. Some were commercial tapes, others had been recorded at home with a VCR. I had no qualms about making DVDs from these VHS tapes because the customer had no way to view them and he had purchased them or acquired them legally. As I told him, it would, however, be illegal for him to sell copies of the3 DVDs I made for him.

This also applies to the commercial reel-to-reel tapes and audio cassettes I transfer to CDs for customers. The same would apply to commercial films although most people don’t want those transferred. They just want their home movies on a media they can easily view.


Female Drone Pilots

Female Drone Pilots

Female Drone Pilots

The percentage of women who are FAA-certified drone pilots in the US is less than 5%. The percentage of female drone pilots who fly recreational drones is probably much higher. To support and encourage women who fly drones two women have launched Women Who Drone (https://www.womenwhodrone.co/). Elena Buenrostro and Laura Chukanov set out to create a community where female drone pilots, photographers, and videographers can meet, blog and learn from each other. The group offers workshops, online lessons and other educational resources. It features some great photographs from hundreds of women. The site also has a database of female photographers and videographers whose work can be licensed through Getty Images. The group recently celebrated its first anniversary at DJI’s New York City location.

Their blog at https://www.womenwhodrone.co/blog-1 features such posts as one about Coffee Copters which describes the movement to deliver coffee by drones inside office buildings; Another post profiles a female photographer in Stockholm who takes a drone on her travels including oceans views, but cautions she know many people “who have lost their drones to the ocean.” She says she did not know any other women who flew drones until she joined Women Who Drone. Another post explores the future of aerial entertainment including Drone Light shows See 1,000 Drones Make TIME’s New Cover.

There are a growing number of women-owned blogs and websites devoted to the art and science of drones. Another organization devoted to women and drones is www.womenanddrones.com.