The Evolution of the Drone

The Evolution of the Drone

Drones have become commonplace. It’s not unusual to see a hobbyist flying one in a park or a pro using a drone on a construction site.  First used in World War I, drones have roots in the military and have often been associated with warfare. Changes over the years have made drones more robust and versatile. At Key West Video, we’re familiar with the use of drones in television and film production, but now we want to explore some of the more unusual uses for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).


The Evolution of the Drone
California vineyards benefit from drone usage

Drones have been used in Japan’s agriculture industry for about three decades. It’s estimated that over thirty percent of the rice consumed in Japanese homes was sprayed or otherwise tended to by drones. The UAV contribution translates to an eighty percent work reduction over traditional methods. Back in North America, drones are being used in California for wine production.

Wildlife Champion

The Evolution of the Drone
Drones helped the endangered California condor

Wildlife advocates and scientists use drones to track dangerous, elusive or remote animals in the wild for conservation purposes. This UAV application doesn’t interfere with the animal population—it’s merely a tool of observation. However, drones took a more active role in teaching the California condor how to find food. When young condors were being reintroduced to the Baja area, they had no role models to demonstrate scavenger behavior. Enter a circling drone, acting as a marker for tasty tidbits below.

Medical  Efforts & Public Safety

The Evolution of the Drone
Zipline delivers blood by drone in Rwanda

Drones can help protect us in a variety of ways and are sometimes even recognized for their good work. Medicine and blood are delivered quickly to patients living in remote areas. After a natural disaster, drones can look for survivors in areas not easily accessed by humans. Thermal sensors help locate people who are hidden, have fallen or are unconscious. Even lifeguards are getting some help from drones. A birds-eye view can watch for sharks near swimmers or drop a flotation device to rescue someone in trouble.

Special Farewell

One company in Ohio has a unique approach to looking back on one’s life. Aerial Anthropology used their Patient Outreach Program to develop the  Flight to Remember Foundation. Working with the families of people who are too sick to travel, drones are used to virtually transport a patient to a place that holds meaning for them. The video is streamed on YouTube and watched in real time. The goal is to give the terminally ill a chance to relive a happy memory and share that experience with family and friends.

But Wait—There’s More!

The list of drone applications is extensive. Here are a few more examples of how drones are being used beyond the traditional applications.

  • Drone racing as an esport? The Drone Racing League certainly thinks so!
  • Drone-powered projection technology. Now, that’s a light show!
  • Real estate agents love to promote property acreage with drone footage
  • Weather drones can be sent into a storm to gather vital information
  • Law enforcement is complemented by flying security cameras that keep an eye on the population
  • Virtual journalism delivers news in real time without endangering a shooter or reporter. Those interested in this field can study at the Drone Journalism Lab, which is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
  • Construction benefits from a birds-eye view of a building site. Companies can track progress, conduct surveys, generate maps, make 3D models with millions of data points, calculate volume, plan road projects and more!
  • Package and food delivery is something we’d all love to see come to fruition. Who wouldn’t appreciate a drone delivery from Amazon Prime or Pizza Hut?

The Future of the Drone

Drone use will continue to evolve as the technology changes and adapts to all sorts of applications. We’ve been using drone footage in our productions for  years. If you’d like to find out how your video can fly high with a drone, give us a call today for a free quote.

POV Video for a Unique Viewing Experience

POV Video for a Unique Viewing Experience

The way a video or film is shot can really affect a viewer’s experience and the overall story. When a DOP or director uses a point-of-view (POV) perspective, the audience sees things through the eyes of a character or object. This technique is also called subjective camera or first-person camera and it gives you the ability to embody the scene.

Viewer Immersion

POV gives you the ability to see life through a character’s unique perspective. For example, if the character is drunk, what you’re seeing may look fuzzy and your view off-kilter. Now you’re immersed in their experience. If a character is very tall or very short, they could see the world differently and a shot reflecting their angle of vision helps you related to their experience.

A subjective POV shows an interior or personal perspective.  A sub-genre of this kind of shot is the trunk shot. This is a low-angle reveal is meant to amp up tension and is used literally when a trunk is opened on a subject. Quentin Tarantino is famous for using these shots in movies like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.  By contrast, an objective shot is the exterior or observer’s POV; a fly on the wall perspective.

Fear and Suspense

A POV shot is an excellent angle for building suspense or generating fear. Think of the horror film where you see through the eyes of a killer as they pursue a victim. Even better, remember the scene from Jaws where you see what the shark sees. The shark swims below the water’s surface with a buffet of legs dangling above.



POV can literally put you in the driver’s seat during an action shot. If you’ve watched POV video of someone on a roller-coaster, then you know what we mean. Your stomach drops as the car hurtles down the track and flies through loops. It’s a very effective way to feel what the character feels.


It’s hard enough to relate to what it’s like to be another person. Trying to imagine life as another species is even harder. When scientists strap a camera to an animal they’re studying, they get a lot of information on what that animal is doing in their day-to-day life. It’s also pretty cool to see what your dog sees. This GoPro compilation is a thrill ride courtesy of the wild kingdom.

We Cover Every Angle

Shooting POV is really a fiction technique, but it can also be used in corporate video production. The perspective could show a typical day at your company as seen through the eyes of an employee or your product as it moves down the assembly line. Whether we’re shooting POV or using another approach, we know how to use video in a way that gets attention. Call us today for a free quote.

Video Podcasts Fill in the Blanks

Video Podcasts Fill in the Blanks

It’s official: Canadians are crazy for podcasts! Nearly ten million of us listened to a podcast in 2017. We’re drawn to the storytelling or the opportunity to learn something new. Whether you’re tuned in during a commute, being entertained while cleaning or walking the dog with your earbuds in, podcasts are a companion of choice. And then there’s the video podcast…

Audio Only or Audio with Video

Video Podcasts Fill in the Blanks
Podcasts get half their name from the iPod

The word podcast is a portmanteau blending iPod and broadcast. Podcasts were originally formatted for iPods, and the name stuck. A podcast is traditionally an audio-only recording. However, it can also have a video element. Defining a podcast beyond calling it on-demand internet radio is difficult because the content is niche. A podcast narrowcasts, targetting specific listeners with specialized subject matter. There is truly something for everyone.


A podcast that includes video has certain advantages. First of all, seeing the people who are talking fills in some blanks. Body language adds to the story and if there’s more than one host, physical interaction also rounds out the experience. Plus, many podcast fans are curious about host appearance.

Adding video to a podcast can help boost ratings. One way this happens is through better SEO. It’s also difficult for audio to go viral. If there’s a video element to share, the numbers go up. Video has an added value element that people like. Giving the audience a look behind-the-scenes or inviting them into the studio during a recording draws attention and satisfies curiosity.

Listen and Look

There are a whole host of video podcasts if you’d like to see what everyone’s talking about. The Joe Rogan Experience streams on YouTube and covers just about anything and everything that interests the host. Favourite topics include pot and MMA.

Video Podcasts Fill in the Blanks
Commuters often turn to podcasts to pass the time

If you’re looking for something a little more highbrow, TED Talks have an HD podcast. Covering anything that falls under the banner of Technology, Entertainment or Design, you can find a wealth of information on their YouTube channel. Curious minds will get lost looking through the available talks.

If tech turns you on, Tekzilla features product reviews, computer help, and tech tips. Video is an integral part of this podcast that loves DIY projects. While we’re here, there are also a bunch of video podcasts catering to the geek in you.

Social Media Connection

Podcasters have figured out how to use social media to their advantage. This added format provides fans with the extras they crave. Following a podcast on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook gives you access to related pictures and video. Hosts sometimes ask listeners to participate in the podcast by sending in a story or commenting on a show. What was once a passive activity (audio only podcast) becomes an interactive experience.

Video First

Key West Video doesn’t have a podcast, but we definitely know how to make a video! Connect with your audience through a medium that demands attention. Call us today for a free quote.

Video Evidence Exposes the Truth

Video Evidence Exposes the Truth

Cameras are everywhere. From CCTV in public areas to the ubiquitous cell phone, they record the good (cute animals), the bad (crimes) and the ugly (that incident at Tim Hortons). In a world that coined the phrase pics or it didn’t happen, video evidence is king.

Someone’s Always Watching

With the proliferation of video recording, it’s harder than ever to get away with something.  Home security cameras, dash cams, traffic cams, weather cams, red light cams—the list goes on and on. Remember the recent story about the consumer who caught a UPS worker launching his package twenty feet?

Video Evidence Exposes the Truth
Ontario police have tested body-worn cameras

Police in Ontario are using video in a variety of ways. For one thing, they’re enlisting personal security cameras in the fight against crime. The goal is to create a database using homes and businesses with surveillance cameras. This network of spies is expected to save detectives’ time and deter criminals. Police body-worn cameras are a bit more problematic. Proponents say they protect both officers and the public when it comes to interactions between the cops and the community. However, the cameras are expensive and there have been technical issues with the equipment.

Dashcams are another example of a silent witness that can settle he said-she said disputes. Growing in popularity, these cameras can help police apprehend a guilty party in hit-and-run situations or identify dangerous drivers when the offending motorist has fled the scene. These vehicular witnesses act like insurance by protecting property. Plus, they catch some pretty cool events like the meteor in the video above.

Facial Recognition

Video Evidence Exposes the Truth
Smile! You’re on camera.

How many times have you seen news footage of a thief caught on camera? Sometimes, the perpetrator is kind enough to look directly into the lens. If that’s the case, facial recognition can be used. Using biometric identification, a computer can analyze a face based on very specific markers that can be compared to a sample. If the person caught on camera already has a picture in a database (perhaps a mugshot), and the facial recognition program finds enough similarities, a match is declared. Beyond crime fighting, there are some pretty innovative uses for facial recognition technology.

Rules of Video Evidence

Surveillance camera video showing a crime being committed is fair game as evidence against the accused. Video could also be used to exonerate an innocent party. If a witness to the recording exists, they can corroborate the authenticity of the video. If no eyewitness to the video exists, evidence can still be admitted under the “silent witness” theory. In this case, a trial court must find the evidence reliable with certain considerations. Surveillance cameras have been critical in solving a number of crimes.

Video for Visibility

At Key West Video, we’re all about using video evidence; evidence of your company, your product or your event. Call us today for a free quote and let’s talk about how exposure through video can boost your visibility.

Are Surveillance Cameras Worth the Loss of Privacy?

Are Surveillance Cameras Worth the Loss of Privacy?

I always feel like somebody’s watching me.
And I have no privacy.

-Rockwell, 1984


If you live in Toronto and you feel like you’re being watched, you’re not wrong. There are over a dozen police cameras trained on public areas. Add to that 500 cameras in or near the Eaton Centre in the downtown core. Finally, the Toronto Transit Commission has 13,000 visual spies recording our every move on public transit. Video cameras aren’t just for recording your adorable pet. They’re watching all of us, for better or for worse.

Cameras are Everywhere

Look around. We bet it won’t take you long to find an eye in the sky. From fixed home security cameras to mobile dash cams and body-worn cameras, surveillance is thriving. And we’re not even talking about the camera everyone is carrying around in their pocket or purse, ready to pull out and record at the first whiff of a viral video. Is all of this spying really necessary? What are we getting out of it? And should cameras be allowed in public spaces like bars, schools, stores, libraries and airports? Also, should we be told when there’s a camera in the area? The presence of surveillance cameras in public places is a hotly debated issue.


Video surveillance in public areas has its benefits. The presence of a camera can reduce fear and act as a crime deterrent. Potential issues can be identified and nipped in the bud with early action, whether that’s breaking up a crowd before it turns ugly or clearing an area with a suspicious package. Anti-terrorism has been a rallying point for the use of cameras in public places.

Are Surveillance Cameras Worth the Loss of Privacy?
Parking lot cameras reduce crime

If a crime has been committed, footage from surveillance cameras can be consulted. The chances of solving a crime increase if it’s caught on camera. Facial recognition software can be used, along with a request for help from the public to identify a perpetrator.


Are we sacrificing privacy for safety? Take this moral dilemma: A business owner finds drug paraphernalia in a bar bathroom. Is it moral or ethical for the owner to place cameras in the bathroom to deter drug use and possibly catch drug users? Do the pros outweigh the cons?

The ugly side of surveillance cameras is the potential to do harm. Voyeurism is a major concern. Why are cameras being used and what are they looking at or looking for? Another nefarious use would be blackmail. What if video footage was used by law enforcement to coerce a confession? Financially, public surveillance isn’t cheap. The sheer volume of information is daunting. To make it useful, this data should be screened and saved or deleted.

Privacy vs. Safety

Are Surveillance Cameras Worth the Loss of Privacy?
Is video surveillance an invasion of privacy?

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has issued guidelines for the use of video surveillance in public places. A person can lawfully collect personal information on behalf of an institution if at least one of three conditions are in play. The collection must be:

  • expressly authorized by statute,
  • used for the purposes of law enforcement
  • necessary to the proper administration of a lawfully authorized activity.

Does video surveillance work? Studies show that it’s most effective in parking lots, with a fifty-one percent decrease in crime. Public transportation benefits from a twenty-three percent decrease of crime under the gaze of CCTV. But in other public settings, the change in crime was negligible or non-existent.

Beyond Surveillance

The proliferation of video cameras, and a platform on which to post footage, has made our world a different place. At Key West Video, we believe in the kind of video that informs and engages. Call us today for a free quote on corporate video production. We’ll leave the surveillance to everyone else.