If you were to ask me what my plans are for work after university or what kind of role I’ll play for a particular company or organisation until I get my big break, I’d hate to come off rude or naive, instead trade it for ambitious and unknown. A reoccurring theme perhaps with my direct is the unknown. This isn’t due to lack of research or lack of practice and me throwing the towel in with no real ideas on what I want to do, it’s the fact that what I want to do or aspire to do doesn’t exist yet. This particular mindset I can thank those whom I consider a mentor and friend in Ted Mitew and Chris Moore from the university of Wollongong. That and my introduction to Casey Neistat, where the idea of an idea is now dead and unless you jump into something you love and just “do it” or make something that shows you’re keen it will never grow into something and perhaps you’ll be stuck looking for a set of instructions on how to make it with the training we get in media arts/digital media.
To give some context, I’ve been working on a project for the RMS where we are aiming to reduce time taken, safety and costs in surveying and inspecting a bridge using drone devices and 360 degree video technology. This lead to the build of a custom drone that we are prototyping into a MVP (minimum viable product) that is ready for field testing. This stemmed from projects I completed throughout university and developed a passion for drone technology and their commercial and aesthetic application.
At the moment i’m learning as much as I can at iAccelerate, a business incubator for local businesses giving them a learning environment, a physical space and a wealth of support that allows people like myself that love to rapid prototype and test things as soon as possible, to keep creating new content and getting in touch with people that can assist in entrepreneurial endeavours.
This work is one I created last year as a showcase (very quick very unedited) to a glimpse of the potential the device can be used to inspect a bridge. This was uploaded to YouTube on the lowest settings to ensure fluid movement around the screen. This was done so that I could then quickly link this video to those at the Roads and Maritime Services from here in Wollongong, working with a team from Parkes, NSW. The software that runs the footage, allows 4K images, as well as a zoom option that would obviously be used in real scenarios, this just showcased and allowed feedback on stability, and the true potential of 360 degree film.
Perhaps something I created less as a working portfolio and more as an exploration of just testing what else this device could do was filming my friend Sonny riding a skateboard around a carpark. This kind of got me thinking how i’d target this device perhaps for a greater or wider audience. All this was me trying to emerge this practise as a career. How could I weave the device used for infrastructure into an aesthetic, and I decided to market the footage giving the audience or viewer of the content freedom to click and drag to view whatever section of the 360 video they wanted.
I achieved this by creating a mount for the bottom of the drone, that was basically used for anything below the horizontal access, but could easily and quickly be then switched to the top too. If I was going to give the product a go in a market thats quite contested I had to stand out with both uses with it and practicality.
Lastly this device went for a pure aesthetic location with the aerial altitude tested and the camera views being the subject.
These works along with a collection of files on the software that stitches these videos to the product we see here are some things I like to keep on record for when I start to really give this a shot. At the moment and for the last year i’ve taken my research to the physical, field testing and asking as much as I can from the engineers that will hopefully be using this device. I have said yes to countless free labour offers and learning opportunities and only ever request that I can use them in a professional collection afterwards. I believe this, along with working on this majority solo, has resulted and is continuing to result in me knowing the product very thoroughly and the market need.
The three target organisations that I have in my sights would be
- Firstly, the RMS: These people funded and took me under a project with the LookUp. This device will be first and foremost for them and their work with infrastructure
- Secondly, creatives: What can YOU do with this. The ability to look up or down from an aerial device in 360 degree HD footage. What can a creative do with this kind of freedom and the ability to do both at the same time. The footage can be viewed in VR goggles and product a live feed. The commercial market can decide
- Thirdly, hobbyists and tinkerers: the people I assume want to get into drones and building their own modifications. This device could be something that people take apart and re-assemble to fit their individual needs or trial some of their own ideas.
I think where I need to direct myself, also resonates with what our Guest Lecturer Paul Jones said about keeping a positive work ethic, keep making works that resonate the line of work you want to be in and then talk to the people you need to whether it be lecturers, mentors or potential employers and show them that you’re dedicated to your craft.