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As a media and communications student in my final year of university I’m interested in the ways collaboration between industry, emerging technology and myself as a creative can co-exist based on more than just one skillset. I started in Digital media because I wanted to innovate the filmmaking space, using drones to create a start to end video project using only drones as the main camera rig, in all sizes and methods, I wanted to use them for not only the aerial birds eye views, but the spaces at eye level for more intimate shots. Upon leaving, we’ve leveraged a blog, sometimes a YouTube channel and written essays toward topics that often get left in a subject dropbox and forgotten about. I believe new technologies such as autonomous robotics are going to help creative content producers like myself gain an exciting edge over the “creating” gap in industry and graduates.

A digital portfolio was my answer to the question of how individuals can “Be (their) own camera crew” and how a series of previous projects and indeed subject specific works can be organised to showcase themselves to industries in filmmaking and creative spaces as having experience making start to end projects. I wanted to incorporate autonomous film devices such as my drone, so that I may be not only the filmmaker, but now the technology enables us to be the subject. YouTube and consequently video as a platform allowed me to address the creative accumulation of content for a portfolio, as well as showcase the potential these devices have to make professional standard works. YouTube was chosen to continue to produce works in an openly featured platform to invite stakeholders as well as constructive comments to improve elements of a work. Using this type of device highlights my interest area as well as the space left by filmmaking theory thus; “Though there is a range of techniques to automatically control drones for a variety of applications, none have considered the problem of producing cinematographic camera motion in real-time for shooting purposes”(Q Galvane J Fleureau F.L. Tariolle P. Guillotel, 2016)

The filming process included a shot list that i’ve created below, that can all be done by myself whilst riding the board or not, the drone can be programmed to actively track a subject. This is done by clicking and dragging a box on the live video on a smartphone whilst the drone is in the air. This further amplifies the potential of creating a work that I believe can be taken to a major production company to showcase a skillset.
Upon talks with my tutor, the way i’ve presented this is in a 3 part video series titled: “Be YOUR own camera crew” on YouTube. I detailed that this would allow an accumulation of different angles of what can be showcased with a single recording device, an internet connection and a great idea. Some of the anxieties about these emerging technologies, I also wanted to lay to rest, by sparking discussion and address a tool that’s being heavily regulated at the moment. “Despite all of the new tools, drones are still only used in about 10 percent of film productions where a camera drone and crew can cost less than $3,000 compared to $25,000 for a helicopter shoot.” (A Marken, 2017) I believe will change the way not only filmmaking is approached, but also journalism and surveillance.


A Dalton, 2016, This Sci-fi Film was shot entirely by Autonomous Drones, Engadget, Blogpost, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/27/in-the-robot-skies-sci-fi-film-shot-autonomous-drones/>

A Marken, 2017, Visable Flight: Drones Raise Filmmaking Opportunities, Robotics Tomorrow, webpage, viewed 1st June 2017, <http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/article/2017/05/visible-flight-drones-raise-filmmaking-opportunities/10110>

Chris Moore, 2016, Cybercultures Week Two 2016 (w.2), Prezi lecture, DIGC335, University of Wollongong, 8th March 2016, viewed 28th May 2017, via <https://prezi.com/poqmln3hslyh/cyberculture-and-cybernetics>

Civil Aviation Safety Authority, 2017, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Can I Fly Here?, Australian Government, viewed 30th May 2017, <https://casa.dronecomplier.com/external>

C Rollins, 2017, Mavic Pro – Active Track on a boosted board, May 26th, YouTube, Online Video, viewed 30th May 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mXo6yz4cv4>

L Young, 2016, In the Robot Skies, Vimeo, online video, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://vimeo.com/184429206>

Q Galvane J Fleureau F.L. Tariolle P. Guillotel, 2016, Automated Cinematography with unmanned aerial vehicles, WICED ’16 Proceedings of the Eurographics Workshop on Intelligent Cinematography and Editing, Portugal May 9th, p.p. 23-30, Eurographics Association Switzerland, viewed 29th May 2017, <http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3056987&preflayout=tabs>





SURF \\ FREE LOOK // 2017 \\ Wollongong Australia

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3 mates surfing at Puckeys Beach Wollongong, NSW Australia. Music inspo came from Beach boys (obviously) and NBA 2k9 …

Just some cool shots put together for a short movie using DJI Mavic Pro and iMovie.

Surfin USA – Beach Boys
Loose – Benny Blanco & Spank Rock (Instrumental)

Seacliff Drive // NSW // FreeLook

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Wednesday 5th April 2017 // Sam Noakes

Music Credit: LDRU – TO BE FREE available at


Out of Hand // Ideas, Materials, Media, and Technologies

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Visiting the Powerhouse Museum’s display of ‘Materialising the Digital‘ as well as the accompanying exhibition of ‘Interface‘ allowed me to start design thinking and how a physical display can be showcased in a space. It can take the form of interactive, relying on audience participation, however what resonated with me was the nostalgic aesthetic with Interface. This exhibition examined the way “design has been applied to information technology products”. 

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These works for me showcased how individual consumers have slowly been given complex machines and technologies and have them designed over the years to make them accessible and appealing. It showcases Steve Jobs and his influence of devices being engineered to aesthetic and the reiteration process so that ideas can become products.

It perhaps got me thinking about the nature of devices being un-operational yet still a ‘graveyard’ aesthetic to showcase a timeline effect. I’ve, through my studies and personal works, gone through a few drones that have either partially or fully broken that I’m thinking could take my idea of iteration or physical showcase rather than video (digital) content. I think an arrangement, lighting and content arrangement could explore this notion of “dead” technology.

“Drone graveyard” 

Even having footage from each one hanging with it could be a way of expressing a fallen device or broken device. The evolution idea wouldn’t be justified with each model perhaps being not an iteration of the other, but perhaps to get the perfect “digital video” these are the technological sacrifices needed.

IDEAS // Materials // Technologies

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I’m very interested in the way this opens up E-waste, and how it’s represented as both as an aesthetic and a coded message. Perhaps this could ignite some more exploration in the kinds of devices, perhaps not limited to quadcopters, maybe use the history I’ve researched in previous posts to incorporate into a work. Cam corders, video cameras and even early aerial photography have all progressed and in turn left devices no longer functional. When these devices stop working where do they go and how are they treated?

Looking to the proposal I’d like to explore the material element of the devices we use in media art to produce screen based works. Perhaps the tools we use for our works need to be showcased as a trophy for the content it’s produced. I’d like to then see how this could tie into E-waste elements and the idea of non-working inanimate objects being the aesthetic.


Plan YOUR internship // Create A Job

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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.


Figuring out your practice

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My name is Sam Noakes and I’m in my 3rd year of communications and media studies at the university of Wollongong. My area of interest lies with quadcopter, drone and aerial photography and videography and how our perspectives are altered to a disembodiment gaze through the lens controlled without physically moving (to get the shot)

Credit: Aerial Video Toronto 

I like the relationship we are slowly accepting with technology and cybernetic theory thats associated with enhancement. In my case, with the human eye and our ability to amplify the range of sense in vision with these robotic quadcopter. The ever-growing autonomy of these devices means that we can rely on them, less that what they rely on use to understand their environment. I love exploring the possibilities coding and tinkering has on the computer element of them, and the external images they produce as well as the physical presence in a space, and the relations of other works to their barriers or external factors.

existing field

Cyberculture, technology, medium, content creation, enhancement, video, creation


actions or tasks related to this field

Filming, building skillset, research, Trial and error, understanding issues, construction, motivation


projects that you created in the past

360 custom built drone project:


  • Custom built a drone with a detachable vertical mount that can be fitted to capture 360 video content from the air
  • Originally used to develop current infrastructure methodologies


keywords about the project


– aerial

– electronic

– perspective

– VR (virtual reality)

– beta or rapid prototyping

– open source

– radio frequency

– user controlled content

– editing software

– aesthetic

360 degree


enjoyed most or would like to pursue


  • Editing
  • Creating an aesthetic
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Video
  • perspective



five of the most important skills

  • Recording lots of content
  • Failing early
  • Feedback
  • Legislation
  • Researching each product’s limitations

BETA Critique: Food Review/ Aerial Photography

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The initial pitch from Paniti was to provide a comprehensive review of food places around Wollongong varying from traditional culture foods such as Chinese, Thai and Japanese to venues such as ‘Chickos’. This was then going to be aimed at the international students who perhaps aren’t showcased to these venues or targeted or have little knowledge they are existing around the area. The idea was to film his peers instead of himself, trying these foods and giving an informal, relaxed approach to the cuisine that was easily accessed on YouTube for those wanting an everyday University student response from some of the more interesting places to try.

The first initial pitch, quickly turned into an even more informal with the intention of making it humorous. The idea that perhaps the “rawness” of the filming and the locations chosen such as Bunnings Warehouse Sausage Sandwiches, Moon Sushi and a take away fish and chip shop that specialises in oversized burgers. Whilst these videos were somewhat informative, they served a very entertainment niche perhaps pop up viral videos or a meme page. The aims were to identify areas in the Illawarra to showcase to international student’s places to eat, yet I believed when watching them the target could have been issued to any demographic. The filming was smooth, editing was down really nicely with a channel intro and something that I’ve found really great with the videos posted was the information posted about the other segments in the description. I think this was a real positive for the channel as a whole as well as being able to direct the audience to a greater variety of content.

While this content was strong, the continuation and development wouldn’t have varied much in the way of content creation keeping an interest level. This is where the project has taken a new turn. Paniti detailed that he perhaps wanted to implement some new technology into his filming, edits, and intros for particular restaurants and food stalls, and he wanted to capture a new angle before reviewing the place with a drone. This was a really cool idea that would perhaps add a new element of showcasing, advertising and exposure to the hospitality industry but also his own expertise and individuality on YouTube, then he explained he had a Phantom 4 and a DJI Inspire 1 in his repertoire.

This opened a whole new opportunity and indeed trajectory for Paniti, in terms of aerial photography, the market for this is huge right now and the equipment he’s using allows the audience to view the geography of Wollongong in 4K resolution, the highest on the market. He needs to identify a need for this, would be my only suggestion. Approach marketing places, tour guides of Wollongong, travel tourism promoters. I know that We Love The Gong would be a great start and don’t then limit it to geographical locations, the implementation of drones in Australia needs these kind of aesthetics to change the discourse of the fears associated with letting them into aerospace.

Within Paniti’s video’s he’s able to encompass elements of visually appealing shots, incorporate creative commons licensing with resonating music, as well as information about the location and his channel. I think a great inclusion to this would be to share the ways he made the video. For example, he could link the audience a list of the products he uses ( drones, cameras, editing software) in the description so that people who are inspired to create this kind of content can easily see how it’s done. Another suggestion could be perhaps a showcase of his equipment in a review or un-boxing type scenario. I know this would be greatly welcomed by me personally who has a fascination with these products but hasn’t quite made the decision on which of them to dedicate funds to.  The review element after a filming session saying what worked, what was good about the particular choice on the day.

These suggestions come from people who’ve gained a massive following for their works and they’ve been able to incorporate sharing their methods with a large audience, to which i believe helps grow their channel and almost sets up the trajectory of a channel. The first is from Casey Neistat… the video below showcases a drone review and a comprehensive showcase of the equipment. My suggestion for Paniti would be to have a detailed look in the description. The aerial videography  is stunning but his showcase of all the links for the audience to find his equipment is something I believe would make this project.

He also showcases various platforms of entry and links to other sites for more information and content. I think if a social media page was created and the channel could take multiple platforms, it would encourage a wider audience, for which in the intended market of tourism and visual showcase, that’s like gold.

I think through an exploration of target audience and niche markets that could perhaps use these videos at a commercial level would be something, from experience, I would encourage. Find out the fears and anxieties, find out the policy and regulation in terms of what you CAN do with these aircraft. Then identify some real world applications for them and use the expertise and arsenal you have available to make a name for yourself.

Looking to further development and the trajectory of this project, I’d encourage collaboration perhaps with UOW and their events that promote projects like this with new technology such as Hackagong that supports start up projects but “gets the ball rolling” in a sense. Collaborations are a big part of how you could gain a greater following if that’s the aim of the project. But personally, the trajectory of this and the ways you’ve constructed the start of a professional portfolio on YouTube as a filmmaker i’d be looking for stakeholders, areas of commercialization and people that are looking for aerial imaging. Something that DJI really encourage is 3D mapping, this could be a huge avenue to explore in terms of future videos. A 3D modelling showcase could be an interesting exploration that hasn’t been covered extensivly in a project. Shown below could be an interesting topic to think about!

I look forward to seeing what’s been done since the last check in when the BETA of the project is showcased. Further insight will be on offer and could be added to this critique in person after the presentation.