From time to time, we come across blogs across the Weber Shandwick network that stand out with the interesting new ways we’re helping our clients tell their stories. This post originally appeared on the Weber Shandwick Southwest blog.
If I were asked to predict the video technologies I’d be utilizing six years from the start of my career with Weber Shandwick, “aerial video drone” wouldn’t have made the list.
In 2008, it was common practice to record video to digital tape, DSLR cameras were only usable for photography purposes and high definition recording was still a luxury reserved for high-end production shops. In fact, YouTube was still a year away from supporting HD video playback.
As we’ve adapted new technology, our opportunities to push the limits in visual storytelling have become almost limitless. In fact, where technology used to be the bottleneck for most producers, we’re now finding another set of roadblocks facing our cameras head-on. We’re seeing huge shifts in the gap between social and ad quality video, causing video businesses to completely re-think their costly approach to production. The social sharing channels that were once free and transparent outlets for creatives’ and businesses alike are quickly beginning to transform into a very ad-like ecosystem. And then there’s governing regulations’ inability to keep pace with the overwhelming progress behind video technology. This latest shift has recently come to light in the form of a remote-controlled flying quad-copter, often collectively referred to as “the drone”.
The word “drone” gets tossed around a lot lately. It’s a buzzword fueled by a flurry of media attention. Sci-fi films, Amazon deliveries, military deployment; we’re all thirsty for more drone news. The pre-emptive classification has caused most of our confusion and worry for these flying objects. Weaponized, unmanned, government aircrafts currently deployed on daily missions over Baghdad are communicated as “drones” just the same as my neighbor’s Brookstone remote control toy quadcopter is being classified as a “drone”. Proper classification and regulation can’t seem to catch up to our feverish rollout of flying goods. As much back and forth as we’ve seen from the FAA regarding commercial drone usage and classification, I for one will not be dragging my feet for the opportunity to film from the sky.
In today’s video production landscape you have to always be willing to evolve technique. The resolution quality of what I filmed for a client six years ago on tape would be in no way acceptable to a client today. A huge way we’ve achieved advances in quality comes from the tools and technology. As our Weber Shandwick Studio continues to look forward to new technology to “elevate” our work, a video equipped quadcopter became an exciting investment opportunity. This new tool is now carefully considered for any production work within our client portfolio.
The video production world has exploded with new possibilities from the adoption of this new gadget. It goes where traditional helicopters couldn’t, it can be operated and controlled by a single producer, and best of all, it delivers an outstanding video image from a completely new perspective.
Similar to how the GoPro revolutionized action-cam videography, the video drone will do the same for aerial footage. Consequently, we will soon be saturated with beautiful aerial footage anywhere you click and play. We should continue to use the best tools available to us so we can further evolve our client work just as we always have. And while Weber Shandwick will continue to support the evolution of our technology and techniques, it is the storytelling content itself that really holds the highest value for our clients. Video drones, GoPros, high-speed cameras, etc; none of it would be useful to our work without a robust team of talented writers, brainstormers, and researchers who know how to conceptualize and produce the content that makes our client’s stories come to life. No matter what gadget or gizmo I’ll be touting in another six years from now, I guarantee we’ll have a team of talented storytellers developing the content behind it.
By Michael Kontry, Weber Shandwick associate executive producer.