Monday, December 28, 2015

What's The Future of Your Video News Delivery?

London, UK--Since the inception of TV news other than a switch to color, the use and abuse of the green screen technology and live on scene live broadcasting not much has changed over five decades. 

Suddenly we have the Internet, cheap quality video cameras and big changes are rocking the world of video news delivery. 

Television news management miscreants often took great delight in making their talent that left or were jettisoned just disappear. No goodbyes, no thank you, just nothing.  

That left viewers to wonder where about the fate of those once familiar faces. Now thanks to Facebook and Twitter that vile practice has ended for good.  That along those bogus non-compete contracts preventing reporter from moving to nearby stations are gone.  

However sadly the shrinking TV news audience has cost countless jobs and made reporters in too many markets eligible for food stamps. Making a living as a television journalist seems more challenging than ever. 

The speed and quantity of news delivery today is unprecedented however the quality has faltered.  The explosion of quality video devices has at least provided a somewhat unfiltered and often unflattering view of our world.  

Even the best video is lacking watchability without creative editing and clever, well written voice overs. 

Will the population ever learn the proper and incredibly easy way to shoot, edit and publish acceptable news stories with their cell phones? Most will not but many are learning the art well. 

Unlike days in the past we no longer have to wait for news crews gather their equipment, travel to, set up and begin to cover breaking news events.  Anyone already there with a smartphone, the ability and the desire can begin on the spot reporting.  Getting content video broadcast live on platforms such as Youtube, Ustream, Livestream and Periscope is a snap. Alerting your potential viewers on Twitter and Facebook is a must. 

The only seemingly slow issue to get resolved is funneling the revenue for the content to the creator's pockets. Additionally those that publish their exciting content must also learn about promotion.

Anyone with a modern smart phone has the most important tool to report news.  After that comes photography skill, storytelling ability and effective use of editing software such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro X.  

Here is a one take video story I recently created in London about that giant Ferris Wheel called, The London Eye. Although not perfect, I simply wanted my viewers to get a sense of my experience visiting this iconic tourist attraction.  

This was all shot, edited and uploaded to YouTube on my iPhone 6 Plus.  Additionally, I used a Rode lavalier microphone and a selfie stick.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Using Drones in Governmental and Private Security Applications is Safe, Effective and Economical

Santa Barbara, CA--Private Security is really more about deterrence, and loss prevention.  Bringing in drones is a perfect application for security contractors to rid their clients of burglars, sex offenders and vandals. 

Of course homeowners associations can create their own in house program but it's generally not needed.  However there are times when criminals show up in soft target communities then it's time to call in a qualified security contractor with drones.  

Wether it's a burglary or vandalism problem drones operated and flying at less than 300 feet can can easily observe and record the deeds.  Ground security and police can be quickly alerted to handle enforcement activities.

Drones are excellent for all industrial security applications.  They can be sent up as needed to examine areas or for responding to various alarms and such. 

Drones have been used to smuggle contraband into correctional facilities.  Actually those kinds of facilities could greatly benefit from using the drone technology to watch their own facilities augmenting ground patrols.  

FLIR thermal imaging and drones go really well together making night operations incredibly effective.  

Any professional guard agency can easily add drone patrol to their list of services. 

The only real question is when the FAA will stop standing in the way of progress and public safety?  Despite the existence of three million drones in unlicensed hands there's not been a single fatality, serious injury or notable property damage anywhere yet the FAA has engaged in massive restraint of trade and prior restraint style enforcement activities. 

The FAA seems to be in far greater need of control than America's drone operators. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Woody Allen Move Over, an 800 Pound, Bright Blue Gorilla is Here!

Michael Glover, Robyn Rosenkrantz, Paul Huebl and Gregor Marvel
Berlin, Germany—I had the absolute pleasure to sit down with two expatriate Americans living in this great city.  Musicians and filmmakers Michael Glover and Robyn Rosenkrantz sold everything they owned but their musical instruments and the clothes on their backs taking the very bold step of moving to Europe. 
They’ve been making films with their own production company Bright Blue Gorilla.  I first met them through their European friends after getting invited to a Hollywood Screening of their farce film, Go With Le Flo.  It was a real Blue Carpet Event where I was handed a banana as I walked in the door.
The Film was terrific and the reception after was filled with cast members that flew in for the event.  It made for a delightful evening. 
I knew it was just a matter of time and I’d be visiting with them and another Berlin pal, Gregor Marvel that was in that film.
Imagine making a film in another country with several actors and crew members that have limited English skills.  A great director knows how to get the most out of actors and doing that with the accompanied communications challenges can be daunting. The Bright Blue Gorilla team has delivered in spades.
Thankfully far less expensive but sophisticated filmmaking equipment has become obtainable to these talented kids enabling their filmmaking visions.  In return they take the audience away from their own difficulties and entertain, delight and thrill them with their movies.
Internet Crowd-Funding has been a necessary part of their films and it’s been paying off for everyone.  Right now they are involved in yet another project,  Mr. Rudolpho’s Jubilee. I just know it will be another fun film to watch.
I have to ask what’s next for the Bright Blue Gorilla?  Will he come to the USA and make films here too?  If the monster talent agencies (like CAA) spies ever get wind of the Gorilla they will quickly sign him up and he may just bring his parents back to L.A.

I heard there maybe a surprise announcement regarding, Go With Le Flo next month!  I wonder just what that may be? 

Here is a trailer for GO WITH LE FLO!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Open Carrying of Firearms is a Recipe for Disaster!

Could the woman pictured be shot in the back and have her gun taken?
Phoenix, AZ—There is a significant contingent of gun rights advocates that are enamored with the idea of openly carrying handguns in public places. Yes, I believe it’s a right but is it safe or advisable? 
Let me begin by making it clear that such activity is constitutionally protected.  I have no desire for legislation prohibiting any form of bearing arms by the law abiding.   It’s a choice pure and simple. 
The truth is that open carry is a horrible idea.  I’ve seen the fallout of open carry over and over for decades. The ignorant advocate that seeing an armed civilian is somehow  a deterrent to violence.  Nothing could be further from he truth.
Let’s begin with reality and some cold hard facts. Until the 1980s when ballistic vests became the normal attire of cops more than half the officers killed where shot with their own guns. Better holsters and training has also helped protect our police. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports publishes circumstances concerning the deaths of every cop each year.
Civilians generally get limited training on weapon retention and they certainly don’t routinely wear body armor.
Carrying concealed firearms provide important tactical advantages.  Surprise is by far the best advantage to concealed carry.  Open carriers understandably become an instant target and are at a huge tactical disadvantage.
Carrying an unnecessarily exposed firearm opens the carrier to a host of hazards.  One is that some troublesome and or drunken fools love to provoke anyone they see that’s armed.  These same people love to call 911 and falsely claim they were victims of Aggravated Assault. 
Statements to police from an accuser along with a recovered firearm provide probable cause for police to arrest the gun carrier. Bail, lawyers, bad publicity, conviction and prison time may follow.  This kind of mess is also very expensive!  I know of numerous bogus convictions from that scenario. Ruined innocent lives are no laughing matter. 
If an armed robber sees an exposed gun he may simply shoot or otherwise disarm the gun-displaying carrier. Why give them the advantage?
I would say that exposed firearms may be a deterrent only for a group of armed people.  Also a group means there will be witnesses to derail phony assault complaints too.  But for anyone alone open carry is a nightmare waiting to happen.
There are those people that want to be seen with exposed guns for narcissistic or vanity reasons. Perhaps they want to shock members of the public.  Frankly I can’t imagine that kind of proclivity. I recommend psychiatric therapy for those people.  Unfortunately a number of states only allowed open carry making concealed carry a crime.  What I learned is that an exposed firearm is far more likely to be involved in regrettable incident than a concealed weapon.
Those of you that disagree with me and insist that open carry has some benefit should simply get help.  I don’t think you should be possessing any weapons. Saying all of that I won't suggest for a second that there could be some rare circumstance where exposed carry may have an advantage.  Think very carefully before making that choice. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Your “Toy” Camera Drone Can Save Lives, Really!

Los Angeles, CA—The word of the day is FLIR!  I knew this was in development but now it’s actually here!  FLIR became a major public safety and search & rescue tool more than two decades ago.  Now even civilian camera drones are in the FLIR mix! 
Flir has primarily been delegated to expensive cameras carried on board conventional aircraft for military, police, fire and every public safety application.
Recently the popular drone maker DJI and Flir teamed up to offer these now affordable lifesaving cameras.  They can now operate from the popular DJI Inspire1 and Matrice 100 drone platforms.  That means anyone with these drones can save or at least protect lives. 
Flir is simply an optical device that captures imagery of heat signatures or thermal patterns.  At 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit our bodies are normally warmer than the ambient air temperature.  At night the outside air is almost always colder than the bodies of humans or warm-blooded animals.
A human walking in total darkness in a desert or wooded are stands out as a bright shadow and easily spotted from either the ground or air.  In many ways the FLIR is superior to conventional night vision devices and is essential when looking for lost people, trespassing criminals, lost pets and other such suspects.
You can also spot recently parked motor vehicles by their heat signatures too.
For firefighting efforts hotspots can easily be pinpointed directing the efforts to extinguish fires faster and more safely.  More importantly firemen can know in advance if and when they need to evacuate rooftops avoiding potential agonizing deaths or injuries.
This is truly a game and public perception changer on the value of the popular camera drones.   At a minimum people will be locating lost pets, children or wild animals roaming in their surroundings.  Until now you’d have to wait for first responders to evaluate the need, and then for them to travel to the search areas.
In our world we have earthquakes, floods, tornados and wildfires. Drones can operate safely in tighter areas where helicopters cannot enter.  Civilian FLIR equipped drones particularly in remote areas can be worth more than gold.
At the 2015 International Drone Expo I interviewed FLIR VUE specialist David Lee about the new camera. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Media Reporting About the Islamic Inspired Massacre at San Bernardino, CA was Beyond Pathetic.

Berlin, Germany—I was nearing the end of a much too short European vacation here and I had just retired for the night.  I opened my iPad to check my email one last time before going to sleep. 
There were some flash messages appearing my screen about the San Bernardino, CA “mass shooting” with vague reports of scores of victims.  I went to the websites of the Local television stations as they were just beginning live coverage.
Live helicopter video images were being broadcast of paramedics who were just assembling triage areas and there were an amazing amount of police vehicles already present. 
News anchors were telling their audiences that police officials don’t know who, or just how many were involved. They were saying little more than that there were scores of causalities.  I could understand this at the very beginning but this pathetic and minimal information was broadcast for hours. 
The same redundant line about what the cops don’t know was being constantly reported.  Finally there was a press conference. 
Police officials took turns telling the world that scores were injured ant that as many as three unknown men armed with long guns, wearing military clothing and body armor were responsible.
Reporters were asking carefully worded questions avoiding issues of Islamic influence or terrorism.   What was worse they never once asked questions about what they were hearing on the police scanners. 
I had to ask myself the obvious questions about a possible cover up conspiracy by the media! 
Having worked for more decades than I care to admit as a cop and investigator I knew I was hearing lies and lots of them!
The cops responding this scene were fairly well trained and knew exactly what to do.  They quickly located and examined surveillance video images.  Likewise they quickly looked at expended shell casings at least so they can determine if the rounds were beyond the protection of their own body armor. 
Last but not least cops interviewed the frightened and excited walking wounded about who was involved and their verbal exchanges.  After all they needed to know who they shooters were and had to assess any further threat to the community.
The rank and file cops did their jobs well and obtained all the necessary information.  Police scanners monitored by the media were blaring out a name of one of the probable shooters. 
Within a half hour of the shooting I got an email from a cop friend that gave me the misspelled name of Syed Farook as one of the killers.  That name with similar misspellings popped up repeatedly in Facebook and Twitter posts by a few retired cops I trust to not publish wild rumors. 
Throughout the night (Because I was in Germany I was nine hours ahead) I watched every police official lie to reporters claiming not to know sex, race, age, names or specific information about the involved vehicle. 
I was absolutely shocked that the assembled  reporters would not ask even the simplest questions to challenge the obvious lies by police officials! 
During the press briefings I was screaming questions in my mind!  “Chief, do you mean to tell us none of the survivors had even a clue who’d have done this? Are you telling us none of your officers have bothered to examined video images or even bothered to look at shell casings?”
I’d like to give the police bosses the benefit of the doubt here but I can’t.  They could or should have simply said something like, “We are doing our job here and know many of the answers to your questions however revealing that information at this time may compromise our efforts.”
Soon cops were chasing a black SUV occupied by Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malic.  After a few hundred shots were exchanged finally the immediate threat was ended. 
The cops won the battle.  I’d say that the discipline, training and courage of the cops here was far superior then these two now dead Islamic terrorists.
Political lines were drawn here early.  From politicians, the Whitehouse down to the mayors that appoint the police chief were all like-minded Communist shitbags. 
They have an obvious agenda to protect their beloved Muslim friends so Americans wont fear or reject the ongoing dangerous Islamic immigration invasion.  
The media owners and bosses are simply Whitehouse propagandists rather than journalists. 
The rank and file reporters have their own scruples, but for the most part they are Obama loyalists too.  For  rank and file reporters it’s far more complicated.
If the reporters ask the wrong questions they may find themselves quickly unemployed. Right now the mainstream media is in a crisis because of the Internet and shrinking audiences. 
Pink slips are raining in every newsroom and reporters that want to be true journalists know they’d be through if they dare report anything that would embarrass the Left political elite.  There are currently legions of unemployed journalists out there.  
L.A. Television news has some of their reporters on actual employment contracts.  However a high percentage of them are just freelancers working without a contract and have no significant employment rights. 
The freelancers in LA are strung along for years without being actual employees of the news organizations. The bosses like that because the freelance reporters respond to commands like frightened sheep. 
What I absolutely detest is watching reporters allowing politicians and their appointed bureaucrats to control news content. 
Real journalists should have been out locating friends and relatives of those involved to interview.  They should have followed up on the investigative leads gleaned from police scanners. They could have, for example early on used resources to obtain the home address of Farook and talked with his neighbors. They may have seen a large police presence at his home had they bothered to go there.    
Politically sensitive news and its editorial content is carefully controlled by today’s mainstream media.  The infamous Nazi propaganda minster, Josef Goebbels’ spirit is alive and well.  His famous statement is still the case today, “If you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth.”
I must commend the rank and file cops that involved in this horrifying event.  Their courage, professionalism and devotion to duty was nothing short of magnificent. 
Well-trained and armed Americans are truly going to be the first defense to the huge threat of Islamic inspired Terrorism.  Gun bans and Gun Free Zones facilitates murder and terrorism.  We cannot make law-abiding people safer by disarming them.  However the media propagandists can be counted upon to suggest even more gun control instead.
Police can only respond after the fact and clean up the mess.  It’s our absolute duty to protect and defend families, nation and ourselves.  Politicians that obstruct American’s God given and Constitutional right to self-defense belong on gallows scaffolds rather than holding office.
I will leave you with a quote from that great visionary, George Orwell.  “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations.”

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Extortion, Criminal Racketeering and Our Beloved Government

Phoenix, AZ—When I began lobbying the Arizona State Legislature for the Arizona Association of Licensed Private Investigators it was a real eye opener.
There are 90 members of the Legislature and back then they were not yet subject to term limits.  Many of them were seemingly decent.
The self-elected leadership had the real power and they were difficult to talk to about the legislation that was with beneficial or damaging to the industry, taxpayers or both. Along with the power of leadership came magnificent arrogance.
There was a price for even minimal meaningful access.   Without campaign contributions or other payments there was no access to the leadership.  Access to the unwashed members was usually free but in general getting any significant help from them was also for sale.
There was an undercover law enforcement sting conducted in 1991 called AZSCAM.  It was named after the notorious FBI sting call ABSCAM.  
The late Arizona undercover operative named, Joe Stedino brought bags of cash to members of the Legislature and found several incredibly reckless and greedy takers.  Hidden video of these fools grabbing the cash made for great television!  They were quickly indicted, disgraced and served prison terms. 
Sadly the leadership of the Legislature was warned by the late director of the AZ Dept of Public Safety and avoided Stedino like the plague. 
I knew some the defense lawyers and prosecutors well enough that they told me about the tip off. However nobody could ever prove that was the case.  Arizona’s political leaders made sure that the AZSCAM investigation would never widen.  
It's politicians that appoint all of the top law enforcement jobs and chasing corrupt government officials is a quick career ender.  There are very rare instances where the leadership wants to exile some fellow member not considered a team player and he or she just might win a trip to Club Fed.   
Every AZ lobbyist knew that they were dealing with legislative pimps and whores.  Getting their needed leadership legislative access was anything but free.   Those that could paid up and were successful.  Since I had empty pockets AALPI always went without.  
The extortion game was somewhat reversed because lobbyists learn the unwritten pay to play rules.  Matching the success moving legislation with the contributions is simple.  However nobody ever gets in trouble anymore in any city council, state legislature of for that matter the U.S. Congress.
Recently I read something that amazed me.  A professor at a prestigious university wrote about something that just rocked my conscious.  A foreign government needed access to our Congress and Whitehouse.  Yes, they have ambassadors, but in order to get access they were forced to hire a high-powered Washington lobbyist! 
I actually saw that shameful lobbyist’s contract.  How outrageous is that?  That clear and convincing evidence may never get significant attention!
How can we stop this?  Oh, you say simply make a law outlawing the practice of lobbyists handing out money?  There’s just one problem the pimps and whores in every lawmaking body in America would never vote for that!  I don’t know the solution; our founding fathers sure fell flat on that one. 
Getting elected to any legislative position is a sure ticket to wealth.  For some people crime pays not only pays, it pays really big.  You can count on law enforcement turning a blind eye for obvious reasons.
What’s the answer?  When I’m in the right neighborhood I'm going visit a certain Political Science professor for his input.  Yes, I think it's time for another documentary film!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Things Just Got Serious in Paris, Have We Learned Anything?

Paris, France—One again Islam has spread its gut wrenching, deadly poison on totally innocent people that were defenseless soft targets.
My European friends have all been brainwashed their entire lives that law-abiding people will instantly become murdering bloodthirsty fiends if they were allowed to keep and carry firearms.
In Europe the propaganda war against gun ownership has been won with lies, half-truths and by spreading fear.  Political correctness in Europe today begins and ends with gun rights hatred.
The 12-year death grip that Nazis had on Europe was facilitated by European gun bans.   The established military organizations had no back up.  Instead there are endless unarmed millions of meek sheep waiting to suffer or die at the hands of tyrants.
Thankfully in the United States there are millions of well-armed, trained citizens that will fight for they and their family’s lives.  If the police or military become overwhelmed there is a back up of citizens that will be led by retired cops and veterans. 
Thankfully Barack Obama’s hatred for gun right has caused millions of more smart Americans to obtain and get training with firearms.  It was not fear of a gun ban that caused this but fear of Obama and his Leftist minion’s power grabs. 
The Islamic style attacks such as in Paris could only succeed in the gun ban enclaves like New York, New Jersey California and Chicago.  If they tried that crap in Houston, Phoenix or Atlanta a terrorist attack would be challenging to say the least.
Along with gun rights there is a mindset that was gallantly exhibited by three American lads who happened to be on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris earlier this year.  They first fought for their own lives and saved countless others in the process.
Europe has opened its arms to a “refugee” invasion from Syria.  With an onslaught of millions of military aged Islamic men in a peaceful and unarmed Europe what could possibly go wrong?
It’s a grand recipe for disaster.  Europe is about to change forever.
I began this asking, what have we learned?  Sadly gun control is a political issue rather than one of simple survival.  Politicized by politicians seeking absolute control form their governed.  I doubt anyone has learned much. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Really Love This Drone Video!

I shot this on November 11 in L.A. near the 405 Freeway and The Getty Center.  This was done with a DJI Inspire 1.  The highest altitude achieved was 300 feet and the further distance traveled was only 500 feet.  This is so addicting!  Please enjoy!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

We Drone Aficionados Must Secure or Lose Our Place in the Nation’s Airspace!

Washington, DC—Lies, lies and more damn lies are being spread about our multi-rotor camera drones like wildfire.
Months ago the FAA claimed they were investigating some 700 complaints of near misses with conventional aircraft.  Not one photo, video, captured drone has been ever produced.  Nor has there ever been a collision between any conventional aircraft and a multi-rotor drone. 
The nations pilots all know this drone technology will take them out of the cockpit sooner or later.  Aircraft will be operated from offices or vehicles on the ground.  There is no need to risk lives for aerial image gathering, firefighting or newsgathering. 
Despite two million drones in untrained civilian hands there’s never been a fatality, serious injury or significant related property damage reported anywhere.  Drones have a near perfect safety record.
However the lies have joined with fear and loathing to see ignorant politicians making many more well-intentioned bad laws.
They seem to have forgotten or chose to ignore our First Amendment Rights to capture and publish images with our flying cameras.  Absent any clear and convincing safety concern flying our drones is Constitutionally Protected Activity.
We can meekly whine and respectfully contact lawmakers.  Liberty has never been won from government by gentle, respectful or sheepish efforts.
Make no mistake our government has already seriously violated drone owners/operators rights to fly and engage in commerce with our captured images.
The FAA or NTSB won’t be discouraged in their shrewd efforts to expand their size by as much as 500% to over-regulate all the 12 year olds with small drones.
If we are to insure our rights in the airspace we must show anger at any and all governmental abuse of power. 
In the Bible, Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek
for they shall inherit the earth.”  The key word there is, inherit, meaning after death! If you want to fly your drone in this lifetime you must stand up for your rights!
We must always remember that It’s the squeaky wheel that get’s the grease.  We must be loud, proud and militant to preserve Liberty.   Freedom has never been won from any government in history by gentle persuasion.
The NRA conducted a similar battle and had it not been for their not so gentle rhetoric, rapid-fire litigation and militancy firearms would have been confiscated and destroyed long ago.
I don’t just like flying my drone I absolutely love it.  I will fly safe so I don’t damage my equipment or lose it.  I will not lay down like a sheep for slaughter for politicians or anyone. 
I will leave you with a great quote from a somewhat notorious fellow, “ You can get a lot more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.”—Alphonse Capone

Enjoy this flight!