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They Promised Us Jetpacks

Here’s your real life Tony Stark flying his jet suit around Hiller yesterday. Richard Browning of Gravity Industries, British inventor of the Daedalus Flight Pack, is as close to Iron Man as anyone has gotten. Just don’t ask how he scratches his nose.

Aerial Imagery Presentation at Dorkbot

I was invited to give a presentation on advanced aerial imagery techniques using drones at dorkbotSF on September 20, 2017. Here’s the recored presentation, thanks to dorkbot videographer James Young.

Eddie Codel, Advanced Aerial Imagery Techniques with Drones, Dorkbot-SF, 2017-09-20.

Aura Pet Collections

Aura is a beautifully designed connected picture frame.  We created this promotional video for the introduction of Aura’s new pet collections feature.

3D Modeling and Photogrammetry with DroneDeploy

I’m enjoying capturing images of iconic architecture and creating 3D models using photogrammetry.  This is a screencast video of a model I created of an old abandoned grain silo in San Francisco using a DJI Mavic Pro and DroneDeploy. DroneDeploy makes it easy to create missions to capture images, created 2D maps and 3D models using drones.

Drone’s Eye View of Richmond, VA

I was back on the east coast for the holidays visiting family and friends. I brought the new DJI Mavic Pro with me (fantastic little drone btw, best one yet) while visiting Richmond, Virginia. The mighty James River runs through this historic city, a perfect place for capturing some aerials. This short aerial film was shot during the closing days of 2016 during an especially magical golden hour.

Circuit Classics Crowdfunding Campaign Video

Today marks the launch of Star Simpson’s Circuit Classics crowdfunding campaign, which aims to bring Forrest Mims’ vintage hand-drawn circuit designs to life.

Anyone who has grown up in the Radio Shack era of electronics will instantly recognize Forrest Mims’ hand lettered book, Getting Started in Electronics. Star took three of Mims’ popular designs and is bringing them to life as electronic kits with Mims’ circuit diagrams rendered as lovely, functional circuit boards.

Star approached us to create the campaign video for her project, which we were extremely excited to take on. Not only is this such a cool project, but it gave us the opportunity to come up with creative ways to present Star and her work in the video. The design of the circuit boards, Mims’ books and the workbench setting all lent themselves to visually rich possibilities. Have a look at the video and see if you agree.

Aerial Tour of the Port of Oakland

Take a 3 minute tour of the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest container shipping terminal in the US. Things to see: Big cranes! Big ships! Lots of containers! Be sure to click the gear icon to watch in full 4K glory.

I shot this while on a walking tour of the Port in support of the The Container Guide by Tim Hwang and Craig Cannon. Flying camera used was a DJI Phantom 3 Professional.

Of course, any self-respecting walking tour with a drone requires a dronie.

Time-Lapse of Karl the Fog Rolling Over San Francisco

Time-Lapse Fog Rolls in Over Twin Peaks from ekai on Vimeo.

I shot this quick time-lapse of fog rolling over San Francisco’s Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower. Shot from a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter above Bernal Hill. Original 6 minute clip was sped up 10x.

Drone Highlights of 2014

A lot has happened in my drone world this past year, though I really haven’t made much mention of it here. A quick recap of  some of the highlights:

  • In February, I acquired a 3D Robotics IRIS, a fun ready-to-fly quadcopter with autonomous flight capabilities.  I shot this fire aftermath video soon after.

  • Built my first quadcopter in April and participated in the Game of Drones – Aerial Action Sports League competitions at the Bay Area Maker Faire in May. Didn’t win any battles, but did hang out in the net a good bit.

First Drone Build: Von Drone California Special

  • Presented at dorkbotSF about my drone build and Game of Drones Maker Faire experience.
  • Shot a few dronies with friends using the 3D Robotics IRIS and a new DJI Phantom 2 Vision+.

  • Built a FPV 250 racing quadcopter. Needs a bit of tweaking and more air time, but she flies.

Second Drone Build: Turtle 250 FPV Racer Quad

  • Built a quadcopter based on the Game of Drones Hiro “indestructible” airframe.
My build of the Game of Drones Hiro "indestructible" airframe.

Third Drone Build: Game of Drones Hiro “indestructible” Airframe.

  • Shot a ton of aerial videos in exotic locales that are in the ever growing edit queue.  Soon, really!

Media Coverage

I can only imagine what 2015 has in store for our drone future.

Why I’m Giving up on Creative Commons on YouTube

CC HeartI’ve been a long-time supporter of Creative Commons content licensing, which facilitates the proliferation of art and culture through sharing. On Flickr, I license the majority of my photos CC BY-NC-SA. It’s a good implementation and I’m happy to support people using my stuff non-commercially as I have other artists’ works.

Not so on YouTube. I recently came across this opportunistic individual who took my drone video of Burning Man 2013 and reposted it in its entirety to YouTube under the inaccurate and misleading title “Drone’s Eye View of Burning Man 2014.” A few issues here.

1. It’s not a video from 2014. This guy just reposted my 2013 video using a very SEO friendly title, as apparently a lot of people are searching for Burning Man 2014 drone videos. Google is happy to send people his way.

2. He’s monetized my video, I have not. I explicitly chose not to monetize the video as I was abiding by Burning Man’s noncommercial ethos. At almost 100k views, this guy is surely profiting.

3. There’s not much I can do about it.

The reason I can’t do anything about is I originally licensed my video CC BY, YouTube’s only Creative Commons license option.  CC BY means that a user can do whatever they want with it, just as long as they give proper attribution to the creator (more on that later).  Commercial use is allowed, which YouTube makes very easy by letting the resulting video be monetized with ads. Combine that with an SEO friendly, yet inaccurate and misleading title, and PROFIT!

YT Licenses

I never expected that someone would repost the video in its entirety and monetize tons of views from it, or that YouTube would make this so easy.

The intention of CC licenses, as I’ve always believed, is to grease the wheels of culture. To create a repository of creative work that can be drawn upon to make new creative works. There are a handful of different Creative Commons license options that allow a creator to decide how they wish their works to be used. I generally go with CC BY-NC-SA which stands for “By Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike.” By using this license I’m stating that you are welcome to use my works non-commercially in your own work as long as you properly attribute it to me and share the resulting work in the same manner. If you want to use my works commercially, you are welcome to contact me and see if I’m open to a deal. Otherwise, there is no need to get my permission as long as you adhere to these terms.

The real issue is YouTube’s remix tool is horribly broken. Of the 68 videos that users have “remixed” from my video, 36 are wholesale reposts of my entire video (many of which are monetized with ads). 28 are by accounts that have since been deleted by YouTube for various TOS violations and a whopping THREE are actual original new works in which a sample of my video appears.

YouTube Videos Using This Content

How YouTube fulfills CC’s attribution requirement is also broken. CC BY license stipulates, “If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material.”  To find this info on YouTube, you must go a video’s landing page and first click the “SHOW MORE” text in the description below the video. Here the Creative Commons Attribution license with link is clearly displayed. Below this, there’s a “View attributions” link which needs to be clicked to discover the original author’s credit and source video link. There’s no way the average YouTube user is going to go through these steps to learn what they are viewing was partially or wholly created by someone else. 

Drone_s_eye_view_of_Burning_Man_2014_-_YouTube_1

2nd click

It’s really unfortunate that YouTube doesn’t offer different flavors of CC licenses like Flickr has been doing for years. Had BY NC been an option, monetization could be prevented. I guess it’s not in YouTube’s interest to offer video hosting for videos that can never be monetized.

As long as YouTube’s CC implementation is broken, I will not participate in it. I’ve rolled back the CC licenses on 35 of my videos to YouTube’s Standard license. Not ideal, but at least I have some recourse if someone now tries to profit from my videos.

It’s a real bummer as Creative Commons is a great resource for source material for making art and furthering remix culture. I really hope YouTube cares enough to get it right.

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