How Drones Are Changing The Way TV Shows Are Produced

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Get the shot!  Get the shot!  We’ve all heard the phrase from directors or from TV producers alike.  The idea is to have the timing, skill, and technology to do whatever possible to get a particular shot before the opportunity passes.  Part of this means being able to maneuver the camera into a precarious position.  That’s why, in the past, TV shows, following in the tradition of movies, have used booms, cranes, helicopters, and Steadicams mounted on the shoulders of actors to get the right angles.

Here’s where the top production drones come into play.  They’re small and compact and designed to stabilize cameras and get shots that are hard to get otherwise.

And production crews in the TV industry have taken notice.  While it’s estimated that drones were used by roughly only 10% of TV production crews in 2015, that percentage seems to be rising, and that’s not counting their use in shows that use drones as characters or as the stated concept.  Production crews aren’t the kind of people to throw undo skepticism at drones, since they are always looking for something that will save them work or money, or, more importantly, get them that great shot.

With helicopter costing crews roughly 25K per day–and up–a price tag of 3 or 4 thousand a day for drone aircraft looks pretty good.

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But in terms of storytelling itself, unmanned craft have been used, in their early days, largely for action shorts and for anything requiring a low aerial vantage, or a moving shot in relatively close quarters.  For example, The Mentalist put a drone aircraft to work on its 2015 season finale, shooting a man running through the woods, which, with a helicopter would be distant and drained of much of its drama, and for a dolly would probably require some torturous chainsaw labor. (This was the first U.S. use of a drone in TV production, coming immediately after the FAA allowed drones’ use).  Some of the chase scenes and moving panoramas in Narcos were shot with drones as well.

Drone News is Good News

It’s exciting for fans of drones to hear about some of their cherished TV series using drones in production.  It will be happening more often, and it will be fun to try to identify drone shots while watching.  But while the percentage of production crews using drones is still modest, it’s TV news crews that are clamoring for the help of drone aircraft.

In fact, rather than being slow to recognize the value of a hot new technology, TV producers were waiting for guidelines to loosen before they could use the drones how they wanted to.  In February, former head of the FAA’s drone office, Jim Williams, told the AP, “every TV station in the country wants a drone, but they can’t be limited to the middle of nowhere.”  However, the laws he referred to, which essentially measured how close drones could get to people, were loosened in July of this year, and went into effect in August.

The new regulations flatly remove any distance requirement from people, stipulating only that they be under cover in case of a crash.  They also remove the requirement for a flight path, meaning that news outlets can now blast the drones out toward breaking news.

CNN recently did just that, bringing back compelling footage of the horrible destruction caused by a Baghdad suicide bomber.

For television news, the closer-than-a-copter trait is even more crucial than in television production.  What you can see, in the context of television news, means nothing less than your perception of the news and events.  So using the unmanned craft for coverage of fires, riots, demonstrations, etc. is tremendously valuable.  Robert Unmacht, of iN3 Partners, a technology-focused consultancy firm says using drones “will be absolutely essential to all broadcast journalists.”

One of the most spectacular non-fiction feats involving drones came a year ago, and it teamed the DJI Inspire 1 with Maria Stefanopoulos, production manage of Good Morning America.  The program not only flew the Inspire into an Icelandic volcano, but streamed it live.  The footage captured oozing lava, and the Inspire got so close that some of its equipment melted.

Theoretically, a clip like this could be used in science classes for years to come, and is of educational value to the curious everywhere.  However, ABC doesn’t mind admitting that they did it largely for the “wow” factor.  Frankly, that’s what’s going to drive the use of drones in any television context.  It’s likely that the more cool things that various TV news and information shows do with drones, the higher the pressure will be.  How this serves the news-seeking public is a question for an essay on journalistic ethics, but the development is great for lovers of drones.

What Course are TV drones on?

We’ve seen, in the last year, that the FAA is ever more accommodating toward the television industry.  In general, one no longer needs a pilot’s license to operate a commercial drone, which demonstrates a definitive loosening on the part of the FAA.  There’s no reason to expect anything but clearer sailing for drones in the upcoming years.

One imagines that both scripted series (particularly dramas) and non-fiction programming like nature documentaries, news, and sports, will develop in their reliance on drones at a nearly equal pace.  Will we be seeing an explosion in shots that hover over a character or track her through corridors?  Will we see even more shots that travel I circles, an aerial version of the diner scene at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs?  What will be interesting will be seeing to what extent the “because we can” effect drives what we see and to what extent other cinematic principles and preferences rule the day.

And here’s another thing: other technologies.  For example, the Flyboard, from Zapata Racing, is a water-powered hoverboard.  But Zapata now has a prototype for Flyboard Air, which allows the visually-arresting feat of a user standing on the board and hovering dozens of feet above the water.  Filmmaker Michael Maher, writing for Shutterstock, speculates that this wonder could be used for shots in which the user is holding a camera. It’s hard to see what advantage this oblong, manned craft would have over drones, unless it’s price.  But the concept is worth noting—other technologies could come along to give drones a run for their proverbial money.  In fact, makers of drones might develop even smaller relatives of their creations that couldn’t be considered drones, per se.

But, for now, drones are hotly sought-after, particularly by news crews.  Here’s something to consider.  Game of Thrones is just one TV series that has found its set bombarded by drones whose users wanted to get footage of the shows as they were produced.  What better advertisement for the machines?  Even if the shows’ crews were annoyed, they had to be impressed with the capabilities of the small, unmanned aircraft.  Perhaps they’ve already begun putting them to use in their shows.

Gilmore Girls Revival Details

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There are plenty of questions about the Gilmore Girls revival and quite a few answers floating around the Internet. One of the biggest questions centers around the cast and characters who will be returning on the new series, and for the most part it looks like quite a few important characters will be coming back—plus of course the main characters. Aside from the obvious Gilmore Girls themselves, Lorelai and Rory, all of Rory’s major boyfriends will be seen in the new addition to the series. Recently an interview with Ventimiglia was conducted. If you didn’t already know, Ventimiglia played the role of Jess, one of Rory’s previous love interests. Jess played a rather hardcore, leather-jacket wearing lover-of-words. The two parted ways in the sixth season, after which Jess went on to his new life and Rory returned to Logan. Ventimiglia expressed his great enthusiasm at rejoining the cast of Gilmore Girls and reprising his role. There were no questions about returning to the show if he was ever given the opportunity to do so.

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Many details regarding characters in the show—including Jess—are being kept secret so as not to spoil the upcoming episodes. It is known that Gilmore Girls will start back up years later after the characters have matured and aged somewhat. According to Ventimiglia his character Jess would be returning to Stars Hollow in order to “accomplish” something, but exactly what he is to accomplish is yet unknown.

Ventimiglia also stated that fans likely won’t be too surprised by how Jess turns out and develops over the years, as it is very in sync with his character. Ventimiglia himself said that he was not surprised by what he discovered about his character. He also stated that he could appreciate Jess for who he was. The new Jess will be in many ways the same old Jess from the previous Gilmore Girls. He will still have the endearing sarcasm that was characteristic for him—although he will likely be changed in some aspects, underneath it all he is still the same smart aleck that he was from the very second season.

He is still something of a “badass,” according to Ventimiglia, who also says that Jess always had a “heart of gold” despite being a misguided troublemaker.

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Ventimiglia said that when he walked away from Gilmore Girls on April 18th of this year it wasn’t all that difficult. He attributes this to the fact that he keeps in touch with people and many of his friendships go beyond his career as an actor. Ventimiglia said that rather than saying “goodbye for good” it feels like he is just saying “I’ll see you around.” Of course, this is very encouraging to those who hope that the Gilmore Girls revival is just getting started, and is only the first of more seasons. Although this is certainly not yet confirmed, the future might be hopeful for those fans of Gilmore Girls. Either way, fans are more than excited to embrace the new episodes that have been filmed. When you sign up for one of the AT&T U-verse Packages, will be able to watch all the episodes of the Gilmore Girls revival.

Making Nutrition Fun For Kids

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Children are hard to cook for because they are typically picky and very particular about what they eat.  When it is snack time for your young child, it is much easier to hand your kids a bag of chips as opposed to a healthier snack.  Instead of going for the junk food this school year, aim for better, healthier snacks!

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There are all sorts of various healthy snacks that your kids may love, and that are easy and fast to fix.  A favorite snack is fresh fruit.  Fresh fruit is incredibly healthful for any person, especially a growing young person. Fresh fruit is not only delicious and easy to prepare, but it is chock full of fantastic vitamins and nutrients.

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In the summer time, there are many different kinds of fresh fruit that is available for your snacking pleasure.  Shop locally at a farmer’s market or tailgate market to find the freshest, most delicious produce available.  Some great fresh fruits include blueberries, watermelon, peaches, apples, pears, strawberries, and so much more!

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Fresh vegetables make up another quick great snack.  Chop up some thin slices of celery, carrot, or cucumber for a wonderful and tasty treat!  You can spice up your every day veggies by adding a little something as well.  Take celery, for example.  Chop a celery stalk into three or four inch long pieces.  Then, add some peanut butter or almond butter to the inner scoop of the celery stalk pieces.  Next, dot the peanut or almond butter with raisins. This delicious snack is sometimes called ‘Ants on a Log,” and is a delicious and healthful snack for any member of your family.

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Throw together some fresh fruits and veggies in place of unhealthful snacks that are full of calories, sugar, and processed ingredients. Stick to nature’s bounty through fresh fruits and vegetables for low calorie, healthy snacks that help provide you and your children with the vital nutrients everyone needs.

 

 

Want To Get Healthier Now? – 10 Weightloss Tips You Should Check Out

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We’re well into the new year and many of us have weight-loss as a new years resolution. Often times we are really good at working out for a few weeks into the new year, and then we’re back to normal again. If you want to get a few tips on some simple things you can do to succeed this year, you should have a look at the ones we’ve put together here. They may be familiar but they’re not always easy to remember, so a reminder is always a good thing.

Image by Justyna Furmanczyk

Maybe this is the year when you’ll make it!

Good luck!

Walk to the grocery store

If you live fairly close to the grocery store, walking is a great plan. Get a trolley bag to avoid having to carry the most heavy stuff and you’re all set to go. This is a great way to get some extra workout while doing something you need to get done anyway.

Eat less and more often

It may be hard to get used to this in the beginning, especially if you eat few and large means, but it’ll soon be worth it! Once you get used to eating smaller portions you’ll also feel full faster. Give it a week or so and you’ll notice a huge difference.

Make your own food

In general the food you’re making yourself is a lot healthier than all those take-aways and burger menus. Have your kids or husband/wife join in and you’ll get social while cooking. It’s cheaper and healthier and you’ll have a lot more control of what you’re eating.

Have healthy snacks available

Many struggle with loosing weight because they have too much chips, chocolate and unhealthy snacks available. Get rid of it all and cut up vegetables and fruit instead. Place it on your table and when you feel like having some snacks, go for the healthy option. It tastes good, it’s healthy and it’ll help you reach your goal weight. This is also a great habit to teach your children.

Drink water

Drinking water before and between meals is not only healthy but it’ll help you feel fuller as well. It’s a great option compared to beverages that have a lot of sugar and sweeteners and you’ll get used to it after just a few days. Squeeze some juice from a lemon or other citrus fruits if you want a bit more taste to it. Always keep a water bottle available as it also helps your from getting dehydrated and helps against headaches and various other symptoms.

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Hangover Relief: The Best Tips

So you had one too many and you feel horrible the day after. What to do?

Check out this list of tips that we’ve put together and hopefully you’ll feel better next time!

Image: HybridSys

 

Don’t forget to eat before you go out

Drink water. Before, during and after. Alcohol causes dehydration.

Some report that vitamin B6 prior to drinking can help a bit.

Don’t get too drunk. Usually you get less hung over if you don’t take it too far.

Never mix too many different types of alcoholic drinks in one night.

Go for light liquors over the darker ones.

Stop drinking a while before you’re going to bed.

Eating something the next day is important.

Eat fruit and vegetables. Drinking flushes out those useful vitamins and you need to get the storage filled up again. Sports drinks that are high in vitamins could give you a boost.

Stay away from fatty/greasy food. It may taste good(-ish), but it wont do your stomach any good.

Eating eggs the following day could help break down the toxins faster.

Some light exercise can definitely help speed up the process of getting rid of toxins as well.

Other things that have been said to help the day after include; chicken soup, honey, crackers, green tea, peppermint, bananas and rice.

Image: Paul Barker

 

These were a few tips that we’ve put together. We hope these can help, and feel free to share your own tips in the comments section!