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The Future of Drones and Filmmaking

Cinema has had a long and storied history that can be told alongside both past technologies and the latest innovations in the world. From  Louis Le Prince's invention of celluloid film to the emergence of sound films, there's no questioning the essential relationship between cinema and innovation.

Today, the connection between technology and cinema is stronger than ever. And nothing embodies this relationship more than Industrial Light & Magic, and the real-time 3D projection system that they've dubbed as StagecraftTech Crunch explains how the Stagecraft system is transforming film and television as it allows filmmakers to create sweeping landscapes and complex worlds without ever leaving the set. However, this isn't the only piece of technology that lets filmmakers capture stellar sights from new angles and perspectives. The rise and popularity of drone technology has also greatly improved the way we make films today.
Considering how much more can be done when it comes to improving upon drone technology, the possibilities for filmmakers seem truly endless. If you want to know more about this, read on for a quick run-through of how drones are being used in films and what it could mean for the future of cinema itself.

drone-1Drones are unmanned flying devices that are either controlled remotely or fly autonomously by following pre-programmed flight plans. While they initially began as a novelty, they were soon utilized by the military in covert operations. However, the innovations in drone technology have allowed it to branch out into different industries such as agriculture and entertainment. Adorama’s array of drones and accessories are a testament to the diversity of drone technology. The range highlights how in terms of filmmaking, drones and drone cameras have allowed for more dynamic cinematography and unique points of view. Through the use of drones, filmmakers broke through the physical limitations set by ground-based cameras. 

The use of drones also allowed filmmakers to shoot in areas that could prove to be dangerous for humans. This is significant, as directors no longer need to take such huge risks. These were common not too long ago, with films such as Werner Herzog's masterpiece, Fitzcarraldo, putting the crew in mortal danger due to the hazardous shoot location. This particular shoot even led to a literal lost foot for one of the unfortunate crew members, all thanks to an unexpected snake bite.

A great example of how drones circumvent these risks is seen in scenes such as Skyfall's motorcycle chase, as it makes use of drone tech to capture all the action, while minimizing the risk of accidents for the remote camera crew. Drones were utilized quite a bit in the making of Skyfall, as they had to shoot in some pretty exotic locations even by Bond film standards.

Considering where we already are when it comes to drone technology in film, how much further can we really push the envelope? Well, as mentioned above, drones can either be manually controlled or be autonomous as long as they've been programmed to follow a specific flight path. And this is where the future of drone filmmaking lies – one where the drone acts as an extension to the film director is certainly not out of reach.

 highlights how drones can make use of machine learning</a> to learn what particular elements of a shot make it visually appealing for audiences. While a system that completely removes the human element from filmmaking may never be achievable, smarter devices will certainly be a great help when it comes to the filmmaking process as a whole.

[If you're looking for more articles on how technology is shaping how we produce and consume media, check out Film Festival Traverler's articles under our Gadgets & Stuff section. Mpre stories on the sbuject are coming.]

The Love Bottle: Less is More

The holiday season tends to involve either perilous ventures into crammed malls, or sitting vigilantly by the front door waiting for your 3X expedited online orders to show up in the nick of time, just so you can end up practically drowning in discarded boxes, wrapping paper, and junk no one really asked for or wanted. Sometimes it helps to remember when less is more. Less junk, less pollution, less useless gifts. That’s where the Love Bottle comes in.

According to their press release, the Love Bottle is “...proudly made in the USA… crafted with up to 40% recycled, eco-friendly glass. The handcrafted lid has two water droplets coming together to form a heart, and a raised heart on the chest serving as a reminder to always wear your heart out. When you take a sip, you’ll look through the mouth of the bottle and see that UR Loved. On a mission to reduce the use of single use plastic, Love Bottle is a friend to the environment and a positive voice for change!"

"With her journey in neuroscience and nutrition leading her to look for an easier way to improve health, founder Minna Yoo created Love Bottle. Believing that bringing love into our water experience can be powerful, each sip from a Love Bottle is an opportunity to change the way we feel and to remember the things that are most important in life. Committed to giving back and helping people who need it, Love Bottle donates 5% of every purchase to Global Water. Helping to get clean water to people who need it, Global Water knows the devastating statistics on access to healthy drinking water.”


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Casio Celebrates G-Shock's 30th

Thirty years later and Casio's G-Shock still continues to make their mark in the annals of watch history.  What started out as a "Triple 10" concept for an "unbreakable watch" - 10 year battery life, 10-bar water resistance, and 10-meter dropping resistance - has transformed and revolutionized performance watches into lifestyle watches. With over 65 million watches sold globally during its 30-year period, G-shock continues to shock the world with its performance, fashion and innovation.

The annual "Shock the World" event is normally held to announce the brand's latest releases as well as the next phase in its evolution. However this year marked its 30-year anniversary and what other place better to celebrate than New York City?

Members of the press and special guests were first treated to an exhibit of the extensive line of G-shocks spanning from its inception in 1983 to present day. Next came a press conference presided over by Vice President of Timepiece, Casio America David Johnson, G-Shock creator Kikuo Ibe (Director of the Timepiece Development Department), Casio Yuichi Masuda and, rolling in on a motorcycle, CEO and president of Casio America Shigenori Itoh, as well as celebrity guests/ spokesmodels (actor James Marsden, supermodel Jessica Stam, Brooklyn Nets player Brook Lopez and professional snowboarder Louie Vito) who introduced the latest product launches.

Casio showcased a range of almost a dozen new lines, models, and special editions to whet consumers’ appetites.  New “Ultimate G-shock” models included: the Ultimate Iceman, Ultimate Heatman, and Ultimate Frogman.  Expanding on their revolutionary Master of G collection, G-SHOCK introduced the Rangeman: a military inspired timepiece for first response professionals to truly master all natural elements.  Other announcements included the launch of the new 2nd Generation Bluetooth model, Lightening Yellow schemes (available on a number of G-shock models as part of their 30th Anniversary celebration), G-Aviation model and many more.

jamesBrooklyn Nets player Brook Lopez introduced a revamped G-SHOCK classic: the iconic 6900. Now almost 10% larger in size, the GDX-6900 is also packed with G-SHOCK's latest performance technologies. This will the same large model used for the collaboration piece between G-Shock and Eminen, the GDX6900MNM-1, set to be released in Dec., featuring the hip-hop legend’s hometown skyline of Detroit. Supermodel Jessica Stam, following singer Kesha in 2011, unveiled the ladies collection, Baby-G (BA110, BA111 and BA112), which has been updated with layered 3D metallic faces and available in nine different colors.

James Marsden showed off the pièce de résistance, a highly anticipated new luxury timepieces from G-SHOCK: the metal twisted MT-G Collection.  Aimed at the affluent consumer, the MT-G Metal Twisted G-SHOCK collection is a completely new timepiece incorporating metal casing components.  The piece, featuring a new case design and available in three versions will be available exclusively at Tourneau and the G-shock store in Soho (NYC).

Continuing its success with snowboard company Burton, G-Shock announced its latest snow-sport collaboration with pro snowboarder Louie Vito.  
"It is with immense pleasure and satisfaction that we can come together to celebrate 30 years of G-SHOCK with such an amazingly supportive community of G-SHOCK fans," said Shigenori Itoh, Chairman and CEO of Casio America, Inc. "Personally, I'm very happy about the future of G-SHOCK as we are entering a new era for our brand."

Topping off the G-SHOCK's 30th Anniversary celebration was a line-up of exclusive musical performances by New York rapper Yelawolf, star DJ Mick Boogie and hip-hop legend Eminem.

Speck MacBook Cases Save You a Trip to the Genius Bar

speck case oneSpawning a raft of competitors, patent rivals and legal action, Apple Computers has done a remarkable job for itself in the history of technology and humanity at large.

It has also prompted the design and development of better computer casings than ever before.

Not only do we have to worry about what we transport the damn things in -- especially now that tablets, smart phones and laptops are nearly ubiquitous -- we have to fret about the bangs, scrapes, occasional floor crashes and things bouncing off touch pads or the keyboards.

So while everyone else is agog over their iPad, iPhone, or even the MacBooks Air or Pro (or the Android equivalent), I wish for the better multi-terabyte hard drive and, ultimately, solid state systems -- without moveable parts. 

As the technology keeps humming along, there are mega-storage devices for big business enterprises that can contain all our past, present and, possibly, future. Solid State/Mag drive hybrids that manage more data in a second than all the computers in the world did 20 years ago.

But for us lowly consumers we still have to carry our lives around in a metal-encased machine which houses the magic mechanisms that pull from the ether our knowledge and lifeblood.

So now we are aghast at the cracked screen proliferation seen more and more frequently as we drag these devices everywhere, risking life and limb in subways, cars, at street corners texting, talking and etching away...

It’s almost a special club now -- “I have a phone even more fucked up than yours and it still works.” 

Well that’s one of the great success of the touchscreen phone -- I see so many iPhones and some of the Androids -- like my G-Phone 2 which still runs fine even in its glorious cracked-screen state.

Though they do work -- and maybe a cracked screen is not just a reverse status symbol, but a way to ward off theft as well -- it’s still better to protect them. There are some good cases, skins, containers, bags or whatever that can offer defense against all our abuse.

And that’s why the protection of these ever-shrinking slabs and tabs has become even more critical than ever.

As a writer, my adventures take me to various tech showcases where I see demos of new tools and accessories. Sometimes, though not always, I am graced with a freebie or two that does more than take up apartment space waiting for me to test its strengths and weaknesses.

At one of those events, I will forever appreciate getting one of Speck’s line of durable plastic skins for my 13”MacBook Pro. Though I am not sure whether it was a CEA line show or a Pepcom or maybe both, they provided a valuable opportunity to encase both my Mac and Android.

That hardened translucent plastic accouterment has protected this darn device from moments of near-death and destruction. Thanks to carrying it into every air conditioned Starbucks, subway train and irate girlfriends’ apartments, my console of memory has endured abuse but not the need to see the Genius Bar.

This royal blue Speck case embracing my MacBook Pro has really kept my Mac from many a calamity. It seems to provide an air cushion between the aluminum Mac frame and it’s own surface insuring a buffer against my battering.

Speck case two

The only downside: when the Mac-perts had to do a look/see inside my baby’s innards to replace a logic board it was tough to pull my protector away. When I went to remove the skin, one of the little plastic latches that held it in place cracked away. But nonetheless it has held up and held on sans latch. It still offers a buffer against damage.

Apparently Speck entered the fray as an early entry into this accessories market. Since then competitors have slid into place -- InCase now being a dominating player with a wider range of variants-- all to be found on J&R’s website. 

Though Speck still offers the best value -- their prices seem to be about $4.00 cheaper than InCase’s similar styled products -- these competitors offer some a wider range of options from a metalized version to a hard rubberized one.

As for protecting my wounded G-2, it’s been harder to get the right service provider for that. I looked at Lifeproof and Armored shells -- all look good and multi-environmentally sound. But looks like until I adopt a Samsung Galaxy 3S --which I am hoping will appear in my mail box any day now-- I will have to want for the better wrap.

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