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.”