Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off the Handle

Flying go-proI have seen the FUTURE of news gathering! At least I caught a glimpse of it before it buzzed that burning house. First though, a disclaimer: Here at Viewfinder BLUES, we pride ourselves on remaining calm in the face of emerging technology. Too often, practitioners of our craft set aside better judgment in the rush to be perceived as early adopters. No sooner does a new tool or technique emerge than a certain type of news shooter declares his (or her) fanaticism, until every story the produce features a tilted swish-pan, extensive wide-angle lens use or every overwrought auteur's favorite device: the infamous dip to black. (Guilty! Guilty!! Guilty!!!) Thus, the founding faculty of the Lenslinger Institute vows never to go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs when a sober endorsement will do. Having said that...

Sweet Lincoln's Mullet, THIS is the coolest thing to hit the news scene since the introduction of the wireless microphone cut workplace injuries in half! Officially, it's known First-Person-View or FPV. It's the latest craze among the RC Aviation crowd and no doubt has it's roots in the military. Basically, it's (one of those wonderful) GoPro camera strapped to a flying platform. But it's no mindless drone. Instead, an earthbound operator watches a real time feed through special goggles, enabling said joystick jockey to jam his flying eye into the very bunghole of calamity, all while feeding instant Hi-Def video back to its base and beyond. The possibilities of such a toy-like news gathering tool are endless! Okay, so one would last about five seconds in even a category 2 Hurricane and they probably wouldn't harvest much footage at that County Commissioner meeting, but imagine what you could do at a road-choking traffic accident or a spread-out ostrich farm or even some highly predictable controlled burn situation.

That's where the intelligent beings known as the Roswell Flight Test Crew broke out their tiny quadcopters and flew them through the plume of an abandoned apartment complex - a set of structures thoughtfully set ablaze by the Longview, California Fire Department. The results are staggering - even withOUT the pyrotechnics and driving metal soundtrack. The Roswell developers say it's still in the prototype stage, but whatever they fly it over next, it's sure to turn industry heads - provided it doesn't make an unceremonious splash. As for me, I'll be honing my (non-existent) joystick skills and reminding Mrs. Slinger how a GoPro camera would fit quite nicely in my Christmas stocking. For now, I'd like to hear YOUR suggestions for how this truly bad-ass hovercraft can enrich local newscasts. Just speak up, would ya? I'll be out back, practicing my swish-pans.

11 comments:

Amanda said...

Don't worry, you won't be replaced by a flying drone in the near future.

As neat as the creative news photography possibilities they present, the FAA frowns upon them - and quite severely at that. In fact your station's former owner is being investigated for flying one over US soil...

Weaver said...

oh yeah!!!

OJ said...

That thing is freaking awesome! I want one

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait to see how the cops react to us using one of these!
Rad

Anonymous said...

But does it record NATS?!
-Dustin

Chris said...

Replace that useless SD mast cam

kiggins said...

Dude... That was shot in my hometown. This world is getting too small too fast.

Tim Lewis said...

Their bird looks like a Canadian platform I've been day-dreaming about for a couple of years called a Draganflyer - www.draganfly.com / Figured it was a "cheap" way to have a helicopter become part of my students' daily newscasts up in northeastern Vermont / Someday... Homeland Security... and a generous benefactor willing... insert heavy sigh here!

Anonymous said...

WAY COOL for features…UN COOL for public venues. Crime scene/fire line tape may only be three inches wide but extends up to Tranquility Base and when drone crosses that line, you cross that line. Crew chief will come right to you and read you the riot act, don’t comply, and they’ll hit it with a spray from fire hose. Demonstration had permission and took a chance with all that heat and turbulence. Can see good uses though in many situations. Check out the RC riot act here: http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/105.pdf

Oreo said...

I think it would be great for those times that we can't get the shot from the ground, as long as we don't cross the line. I have been thinking about this sort of thing for a long time.

www.webhablada.es said...

The guy is absolutely fair, and there is no suspicion.