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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.

Aerial Footage from Burning Man 2013

I’ve been really getting into shooting aerial drone video lately. I took my rig to Burning Man recently and here’s the results. This was shot using a DJI Phantom with an Arris CM2000 gimbal and a GoPro Hero3:Black in 1080p60. Be sure to watch in HD at full screen. Enjoy!

Drone’s eye view of Burning Man 2013 from ekai on Vimeo.

Dead Drop in Former NSA Spy Station

While in Berlin, I had met up with @tbx for a dead drop install. Documented in photos and this video.

Dead Drop Installed at Abandoned U.S. Spy Station in Berlin from ekai on Vimeo.

Flying High Above the Black Rock Desert

I was out with some friends camping in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada over the Fourth of July weekend. Since the area is large, flat, desolate and mostly dry, my pal Paul was able to fly out a plane and join us. I mounted a Contour HD video camera to the landing gear of the plane to produce this fun little video.

Ustream update – 2 months in

In the 2 months that I’ve been working at Ustream, a lot has happened and I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some exotic locations. Part of what I do is to support Ustream’s paying customers and partners with production resources for their live broadcasts. Typically, this is someone or someones who can setup and operate cameras, switchers, audio gear and streaming computers. Some times, this is me, such as with the Le Web conference in Paris this past December.

Ustream command central

Often times, and will be more so, it’s finding reliable and available people around the world to work with to do this. We are doing more complex multi-camera switched broadcast productions, which sometimes involves working with local production companies in the cities we find ourselves in. I’m building out a global network of trusted streaming resources we can hire when events come up. People resources and equipment resources. If this something you do, you should get in touch with me.

Another thing we’re doing is streaming events with a completely portable, self contained “satellite truck in a box.” This is essentially a completely mobile backpack PC with 6 cell phone modems load balanced across 3 mobile network carriers and chock full of batteries. It can push a 1Mb out, making it ideal for roaming events or places without an Internet connection. I went to Vegas recently with one of these to broadcast a nightclub opening with Diddy. Will.i.am also uses one that he likes to use to crash LA parties with sometimes, as does Ashton Kutcher.

West coast is the best

Another fun highlight, Snoop Dogg stopped in to our recent company meeting to tell us what he likes about Ustream (direct interaction with fans) and what he wants out of it (more kinds of interactivity with fans). Snoop’s got his Wake n Bake show on Ustream where he smokes endless blunts while DJing music and interacting with his fans. Snoop told us he got into Ustream by learning from Soulja Boy, watching how he built his success using the Internet.

He also had our mobile Broadcaster app installed on his Android phone, which he was very stoked about. Snoop loves the tech, understands how it helps him do what he does better while making him more accessible to his fans. Very genuine player, in it for the love all the way.

Now, I’m in Tokyo. I’m streaming some events, one being a concert by the Japanese goth anime pop duo sensation Hangry & Angry.

Oh, also the Shiba Inu puppies are back!

Mardi Gras World Photo Tour

While in New Orleans for SIGGRAPH last week, the organizers threw a welcome party at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. This place is a massive warehouse and prop shop that houses tons of floats used in New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras parade. Here’s my full set of photos.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

Since 1947, this is where most of the floats and props have been designed, built and stored.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

Walking through the space is like taking a tour through Disneyland. Many props and floats come from mythology, history, movies and pop culture.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

My favorite are the Halloween and evil monsters section, of which there are many.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

If you find yourself in New Orleans, you really should stop in and take a tour of Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World.

Speaking on panel at Siggraph: DIY Media & Distribution

Siggraph 2009
I’m heading to New Orleans in the morning to attend Siggraph 2009, the “36th international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.” Long time pal Spot Draves, the super genius computer generative artist behind Electric Sheep, asked me join him on a panel he’s moderating titled DIY Media & Distribution. Pioneering musician Todd Rundgren was originally slated for the panel, but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. Here’s the full description:

DIY Media & Distribution

Thursday, 6 August | 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM | Room 243-245

A discussion of how low-cost or open-source development and distribution tools are affecting creative production. It features creative pioneers and programmers who have irretrievably altered musical composition, computer graphics, the future of journalism, and the definition of art. Like every advancement since the stone age, their work enlists the help of machines to improve upon what humans once made by themselves – fundamentally modern but also timeless.

The panelists explore people-oriented ideals, like creating design programs that are free for everyone to use and build upon, television programming that allows amateurs to acquire air time, one-person symphonies, and artwork to which non-artists contribute small drawings. They also discuss the users, who help the internet live up to its potential by taking part in the myriad opportunities to show off their creativity in ways never before possible.

Do we live in a brief renaissance period where the gates are down and all bets are off, little realizing that the window will soon close and economic, corporate, or government forces will restrict the world’s media again? Or do our times mark the beginning of a permanent openness, where you don’t have to be established to have a voice, and where large-scale collaboration happens without financial incentives.

Moderator
Scott Draves
Google Inc.
ElectricSheep.org

Panelists
Todd Rundgren cancelled
Musician and composer

Eddie Codel
Geek Entertainment TV

Aaron Koblin
Google Creative Lab

Tiffiniy Cheng
Participatory Culture Foundation

Live Streaming Hillary Clinton Town Hall in Santo Domingo

I’m in another exotic locale again, this time in Santo Domingo, the capitol city of the Dominican Republic. I’m here working for Howcast, helping them to live stream a townhall that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is conducting on the eve of the Fifth Summit of the Americas. The Townhall takes place here on Friday and you can submit questions to Clinton in advance. The live stream will have two feeds, one in English and the other translated in Spanish, both will be viewable on the State Department’s townhall.america.gov landing page. I know, I didn’t know there was an america.gov site either! I think it needs a bit more google juice. Maybe this event will help with that. Follow me on Twitter to catch the inside goodness as it happens.

UPDATE: The archive of the the Town Hall is now online:

San Francisco flyover

On a recent trip to LA, my Virgin America flight took off from SFO and did a nice, slow loop around the city on a beautiful clear day. Always ready with the Lumix, I grabbed some HD video of the scenery.


Flying around San Francisco from ekai on Vimeo.

Post-inaugural bliss

The world watched as regime change finally came to America. I watched from the crowded & cold west front lawn of the US Capitol as Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th President. People say this is a once in a lifetime event. I think they’re right and very glad to have been there.

Inauguration of Barack Obama

Heading to the inauguration

Another moment that many people won’t soon forget is when George Bush flew away from the Capitol on a helicopter for his final flight back to Texas, which you can see on this video I shot:

More of my photos are here.

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