Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ethics for Newsdronies? What New Rules Should We Establish?

Los Angeles, CA—Before I share my thoughts I want you to see what a seemingly thoughtful journalist, Matt Waite has to say about the use of drones for Electronic News Gathering or ENG.  It’s important that you first watch his video presentation. My response is below the video.
Okay, Waite made a really melodramatic example of anecdote from his reporting past to make a point.  It was a really unfair and simplistic overstatement of a highly unusual situation he once encountered. 
Waite’s dramatic example is one we all can resolve by simply keeping enough distance between the drone and the grieving woman that Waite described. Only the most soulless bastard would dare to bring a buzzing drone into that poor woman’s face! 
Additionally, Waite unleashed his little drone inside the theater where he’s speaking and the natural acoustics there exaggerated the multi-rotor drone’s noise substantially.   
At 40 or 50 feet outdoors that noise is barely noticeable.  Animals will hear it much better than humans.  Actually is it substantially quieter that any typical news helicopter.  We need to first consider the current ethics of a news helicopter ENG crew for comparison.   
Helicopters make much more noise and everyone knows they are probably using very expensive high definition telephoto cameras because they are!
The little drones are much less intrusive or noisy than helicopters unless and until you begin to invade someone’s personal space. Frankly doing that would interfere with obtaining video that you’re there to capture. 
I must of course, beg the question, would invading the personal space of a rapist, murder or armed robber with a drone causing the termination of a horrific act be somehow unethical?
It may not be the job of journalists to interfere with crime but we must remember that we all have a much higher duty when human life is at stake.   Or is it somehow more virtuous or ethical to give our content viewers a voyeuristic view of a horrible crime we may have easily thwarted?
News directors and journalism professors will be struggling these drone issues just like they did when the first helicopters were utilized for ENG decades ago.
The job of the ENG Newsdronies will be to get the images.  Most of the important “ethical” decisions will be made inside TV control rooms and editing bays.  
Live shots are different and everyone involved in newsgathering and broadcasting must consider the safety of hostages and cops.  A ten-second delay solves many problems inherent or pulling out for a wider shot may be what’s called for.  Simple common sense must be applied.
Actually drone propeller noise can be greatly reduced by using special, balanced carbon fiber propellers instead of the plastic ones that come with most mini-drones.
How close to the news-making event is too close for an ENG drone?  Obviously bringing a drone within 20 feet of people will change their behavior.  If someone were being viciously attacked would that drone distraction slow or stop the crime?  Could it also give a victim a chance to flee and survive? Is that somehow a bad thing?
I can’t help but think about the TV news helicopter video shot during the Rodney King Riot in L.A.   That image gathering provided a solid identification of the person trying to kill truck driver Reginald Denny in that shockingly savage attack.  As a result of the images gathered the offender was quickly captured by police and removed from our streets.  
Those people involved in news reporting really don’t need new drone ethics.  They simply need to apply the old ones to the current technology. 
The drones belong in ENG more than the helicopters we’ve grown accustomed to seeing at newsworthy events.   Technology now has provided a gift that will give us better news video at a fraction of the cost or danger of utilizing conventional helicopters.

Friday, December 26, 2014

2015 Will be the Year of The “Newsdronie” (TV News Drone Correspondent)!

Phoenix, AZ—My spies at the FAA insist that they will very quickly authorize the commercial use of multi-rotor, mini-drones weighing in at less than three pounds for among other things, newsgathering.
Any TV station news department that has not made plans for this new technology will be left in the dirt.  The very day the drones are authorized is when the promotions departments should be heralding their new newsdronie correspondents.
They all should be up and running with two or three of these prime time ready “newsdronies” to cover routine accidents, crimes and fires.  Sending a helicopter to a school lockdown for example is foolish when you can use a drone and only pony up a fraction of the price.  
That FAA weight constraint will limit the size of the cameras that of the GoPro types.  But they can really capture epic and stunning imagery.
What that means is the local television markets can dispatch a drone pilot that’s able to operate the device, camera and edit the video with voiceovers. It's just another needed storytelling skill.   
Many stations want live shots from the news making scenes for their newscasts.  That can be done easily with almost no delay of the aerial shots. 
The drone correspondent will be the ultimate multi-media journalist.  The drone correspondent should also carry gear to obtain ground shots and video interviews too. 
The days of the helicopter pilots are numbered especially in all but the largest TV markets.  Unlike helicopters the drones are inexpensive, inherently safer and completely green. 
The drones can be sent up in less than favorable weather conditions since there are no real safety concerns. 
Nearly any news story will be more watchable with quality aerial video.   News making locations, conditions and hazards can be brought to the viewer’s screen better than ever before. 
A picture may be worth a 1,000 words but aerial video takes everything to a whole new level.
Okay let me say I want to be the first newsdronie correspondent in America!  I certainly can teach TV news journalists how they too, can be Newsdronies! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Thoughts About 2014 as Christmas Arrives

Berlin, Germany—I can only wish I were writing this in beautiful City of Berlin.  The German people have not diminished or even denounced this great holiday as too many American’s have.  Instead I’m in Los Angeles at the moment.  
As many of you know I’ve become thrilled and addicted to using a camera drone to acquire amazing video.  I even earned an IMDB screen credit as aerial photographer for the Pablo Lewin short film production, The Roommate.
The word “drone” became a dirty term because of those infamous military weapon-laden killing machines.  The multi-rotor camera drone users like me have now clamed that term and redefined it as a tool for art and many exciting humanitarian purposes.
I hope to see the FAA end their ban on commercial use of drones to grow our stagnant economy and create new jobs.
We saw a racial divide like we’ve not had in this nation since the 1950’s.  I blame almost all of it all on high profile race baiting by Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson.
The fact is African-Americans murder each other as a form of genocide.  African-Americans accept this without batting an eye.  African-Americans murder whites in savage, cruel and hateful ways and nobody but the victims and their families care. 
When a non-African-American kills a Black even in self-defense everyone goes absolutely crazy.  Killing justified or not is an ugly subject we are far better off without predatory behavior in our world. We must respect the gift of fear and our instinct for survival.   
In the last several months thousands of protesters deliberately provoked cops every way they could.  The fact that none of the demonstrators lost their lives is a monument to restraint.
Politicians need to stop using cops for revenue enhancement and return them to protecting and serving citizens.  Cops are feared because of excessive traffic fines that can devastate working families and that’s wrong.
The race baiting, provocation and hate must end.   If Americans would simply learn to smile and be kind to one another it would be a wonderful world.  We all need love, understanding and help from each other.  Hate serves no one.
We are on this earth for a very short time.  We can use all of our creator’s gifts and talent for productivity, art, music and science or simply waste them.  We only get one chance and there is really no such thing as equal opportunity.  We all have to do the best with what we have.
I’m going to spend the next year being especially kind to strangers.  I’m going to encourage my artist, musician and other hard-working friends to succeed more than ever.  I hope the few good things I do become contagious. 
To my friends, acquaintances, blog visitors, I wish the best holidays ever and a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

American Cops have Allowed Themselves to become Political Scapegoats

New York, NY—Cops here like everywhere are being targeted for
violence.  Cops are not the cause of government tyranny.  They are the ones forced by politicians to enable tyranny.
Cops once existed to keep the peace and to stop criminal bullying.  However the politicians have perverted the mission of police into their evil extortion mission.
Politicians hate running for reelection and want others to fund guaranteed eternal employment for them. Those in power have found clever ways of converting taxes, fines and government ATM style programs to fund their reelections.
The only way to stop this is with strict term limits for politicians.  If they can’t run for reelection they lose motivation for extorting cash to fund expensive reelection campaigns.
Switzerland has a smarter idea for their Presidents.  The President there only serves a single two-year term.  Incumbency does not help anyone and if they elect a bad politician the pain from that ends quickly. 
Our politicians especially Democrats are constantly trying to create unnecessary programs for building or anything that will provide cash to government contractors. 
We may need some of these things but our politicians deliberately overfund everything to insure quid pro quo campaign contributions from the contractors. 
The contractors hire lobbyists to convince the politicians we need whatever they’re selling.   The lobbyists are also the ones dolling out the legal campaign contribution bribes.  Buried deep in this shuffle are the taxpayers.
A good example of this is that local politicians have in recent years have found automated traffic cameras to be a huge cash cow for their reelection financing. 
The traffic camera companies run the entire extortion programs and keep the lion’s share of what they collect from the public.  In turn the contractor’s throw maximum contributions to the politicians.  
You should also know that the records of the traffic camera companies are exempt from those pesky Freedom of Information requests unlike government, keeping the press out of our business.  That is just so convent!
Those automated camera and speeding tickets are nothing less than  a strict violation of an accused’s rights to a fair trial.  That’s because they defendant is denied their right to face and cross-examine their accusers.   That along with the fact that the data and photographs produced are purely inadmissible hearsay evidence.  The local judges hold their noses and always allow their courts to be used in this extortion scheme.
Local politicians appoint the judges they know better than to overrule the automated traffic monitoring systems.  Should they do that they will get canned in short order.  
The accused traffic violators can always appeal to higher courts but the extraordinary cost to appeal their fines makes getting any justice impossible.
Incumbent politicians are then guaranteed reelection, juicy retirement pensions along with eternally breathing the rarified air of wealth and power.
Our police have been turned into the enforcement and extortion bullies.  Cops are no longer to serve and protect us but to act as tax collectors.  Remember those that don’t pay their traffic camera fines face towing and arrests.  The guy with the uniform and the gun is now the face of this tyranny.
Then there are laws taxing cigarette and alcohol sales.  The taxes are excessive e4specially in the large cities all run by Democrats.  
That excessive taxation exactly what caused New York’s Eric Garner to begin selling bootleg cigarettes to his hopelessly nicotine addicted sidewalk customers. 
Police were forced by politicians to arrest the tax scoffing Eric Garner just as if he was an armed robber.  Garner resisted and due to his poor judgment and obesity he died during that pathetic arrest.
Politicians have done all that can to make tax-collecting thugs out of cops.  Cops have in turn allowed themselves to be used for political corruption purposes.
Citizens know that contact with the police will take food from their family’s tables and worse.  Police have become a bitter and feared enemy. 
As for cops, they always need to follow their oaths of office including our Bill of Rights. They also need to remember the huge precedent set at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.   That established that simply following politician’s orders is in no way a valid defense.   A cop’s duty is always to a higher power.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This is Audrey, She Needs Your help

Breaking news update:
I'm pleased to report that this was a bizarre but somewhat understandable mistake involving a caregiver and miscommunication.  It's not a criminal matter.  Little Audrey has happily been reunited with her father.  Case closed!  

Los Angeles, CAThe Grove is one of the better shopping centers in the world.  Movie stars shop here along with some of the wealthiest people anywhere.
It’s so close to Christmas and the Grove has one of the biggest Christmas trees anywhere.  The decorations are beautiful and every child is brought here promised a special visit from Santa Claus.
Little Audrey was abandoned here yesterday.  Now she has nobody.  Santa does not know where she lives to deliver her exciting toys like he does for the other children. 
I never had any children of my own and find this story incredibly heartbreaking.  Right now there will be no Christmas for Audrey. She is in custody of California child services.  That's a horrible place to be on Christmas. 
With all the wealth in Los Angeles, someone has to step up and makes sure this precious child get’s all the love, care and future she deserves.
KTLA-TV ran this story and people wishing to help should contact them.  I’d love to see a monster trust fund established that could put this child through the best education.  I hope two loving parents quickly adopt this little sweetie.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Enjoy a Little Drone Porn. Two minutes of a Sizzle Reel. Come Fly With Me!


Locations in order of appearance:  
Lake Sherwood in Westlake Villiage, CA
Sunset Blvd and Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, CA
Sunset Blvd in Hollywood behind Sunset Plaza 
Carmel By The Sea, CA  (That gorgous white beach)
Pescar Drive in The Town of Paradise Valley, CA
Theater Palisades in the Pierson Playhouse, in Pacific Palisades, CA

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sony Pictures, Political Correctness and Total Cowardice

Los Angeles, CA—Free speech is dead in America.  Political correctness has an evil twin.  It’s call deception.  It’s one thing to hide your feelings about religion, cultures, politics or sexual preferences.  It’s another to pretend you don’t have some negative thoughts.
Fear of being hated and attacked drives Americans to deceive as they lie to each other about their true feelings.  We will never come together as a nation if we can’t truthfully express ourselves.  It’s far better that people control offensive culturally based conduct than their feelings.
There are stereotypes everywhere in reality.  Most are not offensive and others are downright evil.  It’s not about skin color but culture.  Some cultures are bankrupt, destructive and even violent.
If refined, educated and law abiding people pretend to accept bad behavior, rudeness and excuse others for culturally based evil deeds nobody is being served.
Children learn culture from their parents and if culturally based bad behavior is accepted there will be no evolution.  It’s important that people freely express dissatisfaction with stereotypical corrupt behavior.
The so-called insensitive private e-mails of Sony Pictures management folks are based at least part in truth.   The Sony e-mails deserve no attention unless they exposed fraud, threats or efforts to derail careers of others. 
Privately making a bad joke about Barack Obama’s choice of film themes does not deserve a second glance.  We all should be free to make bad jokes about our politicians and their proclivities. 
I’m not suggesting for a second that we be unkind, malicious or intolerant to people of different cultures.  It’s far better that clashing cultures find common ground and adapt to each other.  We can be kind without being patronizing.  We never should have to accept ignorance, insults or violence.
In America we’ve forgotten how to laugh at ourselves.  We can have significant differences and still enjoy wonderful diverse friendships as we help each other.   We will all disagree about something.  Honest discussion beats deceptive political correctness anytime. 
We all hate two-faced people but yet we are promoting just that by fostering a politically correct society.  Hate hidden behind a smiling face is even more sinister.
I have a prominent and cultured African-America lawyer friend.  He is a real achiever that has earned respect, political power and high profile career.   He reads my blog and considers me at least a closet racist.  He’s got it wrong unless he considers skin color and a bankrupt culture one in the same.
Adding fire to our clash is red-hot politics.  He’s a Liberal Democrat and I’m a Conservative Libertarian.  In the end we both want the same things; peace, prosperity and a great life for all.  It’s how we go about making this happen that makes us different.
We argue in e-mails and such but we are friends.  We know only too well that we’d both come running to help each other in bad times.
Sony Pictures is a Japanese corporation that acquired the old MGM properties and their management has their own cultural issues.  The greatest difficulty they have is trying to guess how Americans feel about their current crisis and more importantly how to respond.  It’s messy for sure.
Heads are expected to roll as Sony Pictures quickly folded on their $50 Million project, “THE INTERWIEW”.  The total fallout will be much more expensive before it’s all over.
The faceless Internet threat to murder Americans in the style of 9/11 caused gutless motion picture and film venue executives to take the coward’s way out.  I would have made a point to see the film but that won’t happen now.
The damage to the filmmakers that apparently created a comedy based on the somewhat amusing and young North Korean dictator is huge.  This is more about the future than this current mess.
Why make any film when someone can threaten and destroy years of labor with a simple crank Internet posting?
We suspended our Fourth Amendment and created the TSA after the 9/11 attack.  Now we are forgoing our sacred Free Speech rights out of sheer cowardice.  The once strong America has become a nation of cowards.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Week’s Los Angeles Downtown Inferno, an Update

Los Angeles, CA—Last week’s fire at the downtown Da Vinci Apartments under construction seemed to me to be an obvious case of arson.  Motives in significant arson cases are nearly always financial. 
The fact that the fire engulfed the entire, well over one million square feet evenly and suddenly indicates, at least to me a very large amount of accelerant like gasoline or paint thinner was used.
Arsonists often mistakenly believe that fires will consume all the evidence of their crime.  The reality is gravity preserves arson evidence.  The temperatures of fires are the coolest on the bottom of structures conserving precious clues.
Investigators are being understandably tight lipped about the things they know.  I also suspect that because the vast amount of real estate involved this crime involved multiple arsonists.
In this case the first arsonist that can get to a lawyer, contact authorities and snitch on everyone else wins!  With compelling information and testimony a, “Get out of jail free” card will undoubtedly be available.
I think it’s very safe to say arrests will be made in this case.  
Released LAFD video shows at least one male being aggressively pulled from the construction fence fire by firemen.  I’m amazed they did not hold him for police.  I’m waiting to hear that strange story for sure.
This fire was faster and more furious than any I’ve seen and that causes me to suspect that as investigators scour the scene that may find one or more bodies of arsonists that burned to death.  If that’s the case murder charges will be certainly brought against anyone connected the arson. 
The fire department just released a video of two men found by firemen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  A mere coincidence? Somehow I don't think so.  
They are suggesting these two are simply witnesses and that’s laughable.  The LAPD and BATFE investigators can’t wait to slap the handcuffs on those clowns and sweat full confessions out of them.  Extensive search warrants will be served I'd be shocked if they don't catch at least one really big fish to fry. 
Right now authorities are simply hoping that these lads are dumb enough to fall for the ruse thinking they might even be treated like heroes. 
Stay tuned because this story is just getting started!  Just who will we see caught up in this obvious conspiracy? 
Here are at least two of the obvious suspects:



Saturday, December 13, 2014

The First L.A. Drone Expo, a Review

Los Angeles, CA—I really looked forward to the first ever L.A. Drone Expo.  It happened today at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. 
The exhibitors came with products and displays.  Hundreds of drone enthusiasts stormed the venue and there was real excitement.
It was terrific to talk with many of the engineers and inventors that have made contributions to this specialized technology. 
Products were for sale everywhere and for the attendees it seemed like their first trip to Disneyland. 
Additionally there were speakers on all of the creative and regulatory issues. 
Speaking of regulatory issues there are those that want cumbersome regulations and those like me that don’t.  It’s seems so un-American to use regulation as a way to reduce competition by making things difficult for the unwashed newbies.
This country was number one in technology, design and innovation.  Somehow we made a Left turn and fell behind.   FAA regulation has already sent to much off our technology and revenue off shore. We may never succeed in catching up.
This technology is moving fast and furiously with new advances every day! 
Now for the ugly:
Perhaps that’s unfair to criticize here because this was the first such an event.   The show management should have put some rules in place for exhibitors. 
I came to cover the event as a journalist and get some important video interviews that were suitable for broadcast.  That proved absolutely impossible. 
One of the larger exhibitors hired a D.J. who flooded the exhibit hall with incredibly loud music.  I like most music but this garbage sucked in a huge way.
I was also very difficult for the attendees to communicate because everyone was shouting at each other to be heard over the DJ’s blaring speakers. 
This drawback is a serious one since no TV news organization would be able to gather broadcast quality interview audio depriving exhibitors needed publicity. 
The music disturbance did not prevent me from meeting terrific people with similar interests and enjoying the event. 
I learned, more information that I really about mapping and the affordability of using FLIR cameras. 
I fully expect that next years Drone Expo will be a lot bigger and a much larger venue will be needed.  I also think the exhibitors learned they need more booth space and workers to deal with the surprising number of attendees.  
I could not resist flying my drone over the venue and sharing the video with you!