Master List

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The master list for the 2015 Chicago/Midwest Emmys was published today. These aren’t the nominees, simply just a list of all of the categories and what was submitted for each. Still, it’s pretty cool to see my name and See It Chicago listed with other entrants like Comcast SportsNet and ABC Chicago 7. In addition to the magazine programming category, I also submitted to the editing category. Nominations are announced October 6.

Emmys Master List 1a

Adios, Drone!

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After a bit of contemplation, I decided to return my 3DR Solo quadcopter. On paper, it was an impressive machine. One of the features that really appealed to me was the drone’s capability to lock onto GPS signals. This would allow the drone to hover in place without drifting away. It also would allow the operator to easily fly the drone without having to take wind speed and direction into consideration.

Unfortunately, the technology just isn’t there yet. More often than not, the drone couldn’t lock onto a GPS signal. In the instance that it did, it would take over five minutes to get a signal lock. But what good is a GPS lock if it breaks easily, especially in flight? Fly too close to a tree? You run the risk of it losing the signal and crashing into a tree, like what happened to me. In the scariest instance, I had a signal lock and was initiating lift-off. During the countdown, the unit lost its lock and launched anyway (you’re not supposed to be able to launch the unit without a strong GPS signal lock, but it did).

The unit immediately started flying every which way and I struggled to gain control. Thankfully, the GPS signal locked on during this chaos and I was able to press the “pause” button (a sort of emergency brake) and was able to guide the unit to a safe landing.

Perhaps in the next year or two the technology will improve and incidents like this won’t occur. Maybe then, I’ll consider purchasing another drone for aerial videography. But for now, I’m just not willing to risk crashing an expensive piece of equipment or worse, injuring someone.

Why the Heck Not?

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I can’t recall how the idea even got in my head, but something a few weeks ago triggered me to look into eligibility requirements for the Chicago/Midwest Emmys. I thought to myself, “I create video content, so maybe I can submit.”

Turns out, I’m eligible and there is a call for entries. So I put together a reel, filled out the application and submitted. I know, I know… it’s one hell of a long shot, but you never know unless you try, right?

What’s That in the Sky?

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Today I plunked down some cash and bought a quadcopter – a Solo 3DR, to be precise. It was just released a few days ago and promises to be the most advanced drone available to consumers, yet simple for a newbie like me to use.

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I bought it because I thought it would be incredibly valuable for capturing stunning aerial shots for See It Chicago. Imagine doing a segment about the newly opened Maggie Daley Park and being able to include a few flyover shots! Or perhaps being able to snap some footage of the fireworks at Navy Pier from new heights!

Here’s some test footage I shot over at Montrose Harbor. Visually stunning, I think, and will only get better with a gimbal (and as my skills increase, of course).

Launch Day!

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Today is launch day! The site is live and the content is up. We also surpassed 1,000 likes on Facebook which is huge! But I have to tell you, I’m incredibly tired. I was up until 3 or 4 in the morning testing the website, working out all the kinks and making sure the content was the best it could be.

The bright spot in my day… my partner got me this cake to celebrate!

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See It Chicago Details

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I’m now ready to share more details about this web start-up I’ve been working on… but where to start?

How about at the very beginning, Summer of 2014. I was working away on a freelance project, not really enjoying the content I was creating. It was dull and rather depressing. That got me wondering, how could I go about finding work that was not only fun to do, but was also beautiful and inspiring?

Previous avenues for freelance work, like Craigslist and Film and TV Pro, wouldn’t do this time. I had to think outside the box. I had to utilize new, accessible mediums. I needed to take what was previously done and vastly improve upon it. Most importantly, I needed to incorporate my passion. But what was I passionate about? I was stumped. I mean, yeah, there are things I enjoy doing, just like everyone else… movies, traveling, biking, cooking, etc. But what was something that I loved that would translate to video?As I flipped through the photo gallery on my phone, it became quickly apparent… there were hordes of pictures of food and Chicago.

But how do I make these two concepts into something that hasn’t been done before (let alone something that I could actually pull off)? Shows like The Chew and 190 North already existed and I certainly couldn’t produce a 30-60 minute program on my own on a regular basis. But what if I made shorter, 2-3 minute video segments? After all, the attention span of most people, including myself, is dwindling. And what if I made those segments visually beautiful with shooting and editing techniques not employed by programs with similar content? And what if I used the internet as my primary distribution channel for these videos and utilized social media to promote the videos? Eureka! I think I have my concept!

And that’s how See It Chicago was born! This will be Chicago’s premiere culture and lifestyle video magazine. We will focus on things to do, see, eat and drink around town. We will do so in a way that is fresh and innovative. The content will stand apart from what currently exists.  Several new segments will be produced each month and posted directly to our website as well as social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Everything will go live May 5 and I expect to have 8-10 video segments available at launch! The site is at www.seeitchicago.com. It’s your city. See it.

Shooting Underway!

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Okay, so remember back in November I wrote about this new web start-up I was undertaking? Well things are moving full steam ahead! The website is in development, the social media outlets have been registered and shooting content for the site has begun. I don’t really want to divulge any more details until things become more concrete, so stay tuned for more info!!

Mind Games, Finally!

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Nearly a year after the series premiered, I was able to see the episode of Mind Games I was an extra in. The show was canceled after just five episodes and, wouldn’t you know it, the episode I was in was episode six. Just one week away from network stardom! While the remaining eight episodes of the series have not aired here in the United States, they did air in Japan. I was able to get my hands on a copy of the episode and now present to you the scene I was in. Can you see me?

First Prosper Feature

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Oh, hey look! My first video feature has been posted on Prosper’s website! Yay! What is Prosper, you ask? It’s an online publication featuring stories on economic development in Oakland County. The publication is one of the many outlets of Issue Media Group. Check out the video page on Prosper here.

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