In the last few years, we've become increasingly more video aware at Sulware. This is a natural progression in the world of the web really. As broadband speeds radically increase it's only a matter of time before video becomes front and centre of all websites. Video production, (which is a whole other topic I'll write about in another blog), will soon probably have to be a key item on all companies marketing budget plans.
We do a lot of work with the likes of www.starsystems.ie and www.tailoredfilms.ie two high end video production companies and of course www.onlinegrinds.ie, one of Sulwares clients that produce high quality video tutorials online. Obviously all of these companies take their video production seriously. In OnlineGrinds.ie we've been very hands on with both researching and using the video hardware and software that creates the content for the site. True, our speciality is in web development but sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones a bit to explore the external tech that our sites content and functionality depend so heavily on.
With that in mind we researched lots of cameras and what not, and from there my own interest in video tech really grew. I was fascinated with the various options available and amazed at the quality of what was available. Shooting high quality, high definition footage has never been easier or, really, as much fun. Look at the phone in your pocket. Chances are it shoots high definition video. My own Samsung Note 3 has so many video modes, the mind boggles.
Also look at the proliferation of those Go Pro cameras. They're everywhere, and the footage coming out of them is amazing. The image stabilisation technology coupled with the rugged build quality and mobile form factor is leading us to much more exciting video that up to a few years ago would have cost an arm and a leg to achieve, but can now be done for a couple of hundred Euro.
Send in the Drones
Recently I was on a working trip in Malta and went on a boat cruise with two colleagues on a free afternoon. At the dock we boarded our catamaran. Beside us was a massive boat styled like an old pirate ship with about 100 party goers on board starting the day off with an early morning mandatory holiday drinkfest!
What was interesting about this particular ship though, wasn't so much the décor of the ship or it's wild adventurous crew, but what was buzzing overhead.
A four propeller drone was circling the ship. Mounted with probably a Go-Pro or equivalent high def camera. The drone was being controlled by a guy on the dock who obviously worked for the boating company. The way the drone moved and accelerated around the ship was just fascinating.
I've always loved those remote controlled toy helicopters and planes but these drones really do take it to another level. The control is so stable and controlled, making it ideal for motion heavy video shoots. Take a look at the video below to get an idea of the type of footage you can do.
Drone technology evolution is moving very quickly, and it's very interesting to see how both it and video camera technology are starting to intersect and evolve together. A few Christmas' ago I remember getting a present of one of those small radio controlled helicopters which had a VGA camera embedded in it. The charge on the helicopter would last about 5 minutes and the range was maybe 10 Meters Max, but it still showed the potential of the marriage of video tech and drone tech. The footage was actually great (or so I thought at least!), and it also proved very popular with the dog, a side benefit.
The drones they have today have obviously much further range (700M for the DJI Phantom 2 Vision +) and charge (20 minutes for the same model) and have embedded camera's that can take the highest definition video footage.
Not only that, but new drones coming onto the market are fully GPS enabled and can link to your phone. Using dedicated phone apps you can control the camera and see live footage on the phones screen. Future iterations of the technology will produce drones that can fix on your location and shadow you as you move without any control intervention from the user. The applications here are fascinating. From a personal perspective being able to have a drone follow you as you're cycling, skiing, swimming, surfing, mountain climbing etc. opens up the field to much more interesting home movie footage at least. Of course the commercial applications are incredibly interesting, with probably the highest profile drone video footage case happening a few years back during the unrest in Egypt where footage from a radio controlled helicopter giving a unique perspective on the riots went viral.
Delving a bit further into what undoubtedly will become a future hobby of mine turns up some very interesting reading from across the pond, where the use of drones is becoming quite a hot topic as sales of the devices go through the roof, (literally). The leading drone in the market at the moment can comfortably fly to 1000 feet. This becomes a bit of a headache for the FAA and the law over in the States is scrambling to put together some new rules governing the use of these "toys".These new laws will probably see the requirement for users to obtain licenses and probably also result in some mandatory hardware restrictions to curb and better police their use.
Whatever happens, it's an interesting time to be a gadget geek!
I'd better get my drone before they become illegal.
Take a look at the video review of the DJI Phantom 2 Vison+ Quadcopter Drone. This is definitely on my Pintrest list!