Robotic implications and emerging technologies have always been a fascination of mine, and my university career has lead me to want to dive into these potentials usually by obtaining a new device or creating an account on a platform and just using them. Over the years at the University of Wollongong, I’ve created some digital artefacts, media art and written countless blog posts that have attributed to a creative content portfolio that will serve as a resume moving into the digital generation, lead by us in communications and digital media. This aggregated content curation has lead me to drone technology and how this emerging technology will be something this degree and certainly its graduates will have to become aware of as a tool to capture aerial images and video. I’ve been focused on the devices for about 2 years now, ranging from theoretical research and skillsets within ethical privacy, e-waste, production and consumption in the Asian Pacific, commercial and non-commercial use, agricultural implications, aesthetic filming and editing as well as launching a start-up within iAccelerate fuelled by UOW pitch 2016 whereby I’ve designed, built and implemented a drone device in collaboration with the RMS.
What I intend to do for this kind of research is something perhaps down the aesthetic road, whilst still defining my expertise and encouraging others to do so. I was to understand and field test the options that “off-the-shelf” commercial drones offer filmmakers and creatives, essentially out of the box ready to fly. Collision avoidance, active tracking and smart landing features are all components that drone manufacturers have to have as a core to their product if they’re to compete in the market today. These devices are a flying personal camera crew, and I want to create a video that captures myself as the subject that’s filmed by me. The edit is then done by me and my skills in two fields are already being tested and improved. That the act of creating and learning from failure still have more physical work showcase potential than ever before, we now have an evolutionary showreel to showcase what we’d describe in a written resume’ as “flexible, diverse and hard working”. Inevitably, this content creation goes back into my portfolio online and hopefully as media professionals scroll through the years, areas of improvement are evident.
For this digital artefact titled, “Be your Own Camera Crew”, I want to create a series of, or one video, to capture the skills I’ve learnt over the years of university attendance and the skillset from that, and create a visual showcase of this device potential for content creators like us who are trying to create jobs that perhaps aren’t even open for positions yet. The processes of editing, planning shots and ultimately creating a start to finish product that can then be used for a workplace portfolio is something i’d be interested in exploring. The drone I will be using is a product made by DJI, one of the world’s leading manufacturers in quadcopter technology, utilizing what’s called “active track”. This feature allows its user to click and drag a virtual box around a subject on live view from the drone on a smartphone, to then become the focus point of the shot. Once the subject is recognised and focused on, piloting the drone becomes automatic, without the use of the controller or even any piloting gestures. This means the person creating the work doesn’t have to worry about missing a particular moment in the filming process as the drone stays fixed on them. The type of video I would like to create would be something visually aesthetic as well as something with motion. The editing is then done with free software that comes with both personal laptops, in my case iMovie, or at the University. Lastly, the platform YouTube, allows this to be publically available for anyone with an internet upload connection. This will allow feedback for critic, as well as the convenience of a link to embed in future career initiation talks and applications.
I will be tangling with the week 5 topic of “The Object” and the autonomous function found on commercial quadcopters today. With some research, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in my thinking that drones could serve a real world place in terms of providing accessibility to social, educational and creative disciplines, as theorist Utkarsh Mittal conveniently states that drones will provide new opportunities for content creation and research, users may expect drones to be part of the technology resources available. I use this example broadly, but some specific examples that I’ve been exposed to are the library at the University of Wollongong. The ‘maker-space’ will encourage emerging technologies and new devices on offer for students to complete projects that require an extra layer of physicality or aesthetic. These include drones, 3D printers and virtual reality, all available within a University library, which means the integration of these devices are already being encouraged as academic resources.
In my project, I want to contribute to this discussion from the viewpoint of a creative content creator.The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are linked to all kinds of prejudice and harsh criticisms about privacy, hostility and the unknown realm that is autonomous robotics. My intention is to explore the latter of these categories, and unlock what it means to aspiring media professionals like myself, when devices we use to conduct research and perform our creative tasks suddenly are able to do this without piloting and without supervision.