FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has released a smartphone app called B4UFLY, designed to show drone operators any restricted areas and to inform them of local rules. In an effort to educate drone users of flight restrictions, DJI has launched a public beta of their new geofencing system. Prices for drones are at a very competitive level and have therefore been available to the masses. This has caused some issues, with many hobby drone pilots not aware of restricted areas or not taking into account the safety aspect of flying drones near airports or busy areas. Despite the technological advances, drones are still susceptible to malfunction and could cause serious injury. Recently, during a live skiing event, Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher almost got hit by one of the TV channel’s drones. In order to combat reckless drone flying, many countries are implementing regulations for drone pilots to register their drones with the FAA or equivalent. In certain instances, drone operators even need to acquire a pilot licence. Here, various drone-specific laws are taught. It’s a lot to keep track of, which is why the FAA has released B4UFLY, a smartphone app designed to keep drone users informed. B4UFLY—an abbreviation of “before you fly”—allows users to pre-emptively plan out flight routes and check against local rules. If you’re in a city such as Washington D.C, for instance, the app will warn you that drone use is prohibited. If you’re near an airport, it will propagate restrictions and special rules. DJI’s Geofencing System DJI launched a public beta version of its new geofencing system in North America and Europe. Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) provides drone users with up-to-date guidance on locations where flight may be restricted by regulation, or raise safety or security concerns. This upgrade to DJI’s existing geofencing system will give users access to “live information about areas temporarily restricted from flight due to forest fires, major stadium events, VIP travel, and other changing circumstances. The GEO system will also show restricted areas around locations like prisons, power plants and other sensitive areas where drone flight would raise non-aviation security concerns.” GEO will allow drone operators with verified DJI accounts to self-authorize and temporarily unlock flight in some locations. Certain areas where drone flight is not allowed, such as Washington D.C., will remain as unlockable no-fly zones. Unlocking requires a DJI account verified with a credit card, debit card or mobile phone number. DJI will neither collect nor store the information, and the service is free. The verified account is required only if a user chooses to fly in a location that might raise aviation safety or security concerns. Use of GEO requires a drone firmware update and installation of a beta version of the DJI Go app. Android users can directly download the APK file at http://bit.ly/1PyIVIA. Users of iOS devices can request a download of the beta app by providing an email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The GEO public beta will work with both DJI’s Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 drones, with specific versions available for download at http://www.dji.com/flysafe/geo-system. A final version will be available shortly after the beta stage.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! In the 23rd episode of ON THE COUCH, I was lucky enough to sit with fellow bloggers and shooters Dan Chung, Clinton Harn from newsshooter.com and Emmanuel Pampuri from pampuri.net. Do we really need raw video? I started off by stating an observation: These days it’s almost as if smaller cameras (like Blackmagic cameras) mean more and higher data rates, often raw – while more advanced camera systems feature more advanced codecs (e.g. XAVC I in the FS7/F5/F55). Dan pointed out that Panasonic is the manufacturer who addressed file size more than any other, because they come more from a broadcast perspective. People start to realize that RAW is not the holy grail for much work, and actually it slows you down – so now the future really is in efficient codecs, the right codec for the right job. Emmanuel mentioned that people need to think about the workflow – the camera is just the first step of a longer workflow and people often neglect to look at the whole pipeline when thinking about what camera to shoot on. Clinton talked about how he shot his first feature film recently, and they decided to shoot RED. He found working with it quite easy and loved the fact that you have different compression ratios of raw, which you can choose depending on how much post production goes into each particular scene or shot. Dan said how it’s not practical for him as a news shooter in any circumstance to shoot raw – he shoots compressed formats like XAVC, MXF and so on … only in very difficult situations where for example he knows he has the time and budget to work on a shot with a blown out window, it makes sense for him to shoot raw to get those highlights back, for example. Backup workflows on set Regarding backup workflow we talked about how everyone processes the massive amounts of news footage he is gathering and backing up. Much like me, Dan makes back-ups on set using small 2.5” drives, and makes three copies. One of those copies should be kept away from the other two for safety purposes. Emmanuel takes the G-Dock with the G-Drives ev for the shoots on the day, the third one is a larger drive at the hotel which is backed up to after the shooting. One of the G-Drives ev goes back to the studio via mail every day in the evening. I mentioned how dual slot recording for instant backup takes a little bit of pressure away from backing up on set, because you end up with an instant copy of the whole card on another card. However not all cameras support this yet, the C300 and the FS7 do though. Clinton mentioned how it makes a lot of sense to use only smaller cards in cameras – just in case something happens, you simply lose less footage. Common sense that should be applied by anyone – however it gets harder with cameras like the Sony A7s which takes 64GB SDXC cards (that take around 2.5 hours of footage) as a minimum size. Dan summed the topic of storage up concisely by saying, “have a storage plan and stick to it – because when you don’t and when you vary the plan, that’s when things get lost or missing.” In the next part of this episode we talk about permanent backup strategies for data – how can your data survive over decades? Check back in a few days for part 2 of this episode of ON THE COUCH. Please visit our sponsors’ websites to keep new episodes of ON THE COUCH coming! Thanks to G-Technology, Røde Microphones, Movidiam, FilmConvert & F&V.Read more
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