by Ken Picard
Hey, South End artists and art lovers: Anyone happen to notice a buzzing sound at the 2013 South End Art Hop earlier this month? No, it wasn't the late-season mosquitoes or all that free supermarket wine, but a new drone owned and operated by the Burlington-based nonprofit Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM). Clearly, drones aren't just for police surveillance and taking out high-value Taliban targets anymore.
Matt Goudey, VCAM's video technology coordinator, recently purchased a "DJI Quadcopter" for the organization. As the name suggests, the $650 model-plane-size chopper has four propellers and is operated with a remote control. This one is also outfitted with a wide-angle digital video camera for capturing aerial footage.
Recently, Goudey demonstrated the capabilities of his new toy, er, technology at the Vermont Statehouse, where the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont had just released its new report, "Surveillance on the Northern Border," about the ever-growing watchful eye of the government, all in the name of homeland security.
Fear not, art lovers. Goudey was kind enough to shoot only wide-angle images from above, including some nice images of the sun going down over Lake Champlain. His two-minute video, winnowed down from about 45 minutes of raw footage, includes no cleavage-from-above shots or close-ups of people burning joints. (In case you're wondering, he did have prior approval from SEABA.) Actually, the video (above) offers a very cool bird's-eye view of the festivities.
And here's VCAM's maiden voyage with the Quadcopter: