The place that I work at recently hired a new marketing person. We didn’t have one before, but I guess we needed one now. This feels a bit like my rant about the Mozilla Foundation hiring a marketing person who had to bring in enough new money to pay for himself and make the company more profitable. But anyway, that’s not the point.
This new person has some fresh new ideas for how to market our company: videos. You kind of have to understand the industry of our company is pretty tight. Everyone knows who all the other players are here. We’re not trying to break into new fields, certainly. Yet somehow, we’re supposed to be gaining new clients. That’s not really the point of this either.
To get more to the point, we had a day where a production team came to the offices and shot video of executives and some random videos of people pretending to work. You know, it’s all staged, it’s not candid. As part of the team’s visit, we were supposed to participate in a company-wide group photo. It’s going to be so cool. It’s going to be shot by a “drone”!!
So we’re bussed to our biggest company office and over about 20 minutes in the noontime heat (the worst time and the worst lighting to take a picture), a drone whizzed back and forth, forward and back, while we just stared at it, or talked to each other, or waved, or cheered, or whatever else the video team wanted. It was a dull experience. Not cool, not exciting.
It’s been about six weeks since that photoshoot and we’ve just been given a sneak peek of one of the pictures from the session. I opened it with a lot of curiosity and immediately was underwhelmed. There’s not a single crisp pixel in the photo. And I’m not sure what I expected. I mean, a drone video camera is probably 1080p (surely not 4k) which is uh, 2 megapixels? And we know that the megapixel count is less meaningful than sensor size, so how big could a drone video camera’s sensor be?
Now a much less exciting photoshoot would have involved a rented cherry picker and a photographer shooting a quality DSLR on a tripod with a low-aperture, wide-angle lens. That would give something a bit larger to work with. The photo we got was 3840×2160. Basically a 1080p video still doubled in size. Also, the photographer could have taken a series of high-framerate shots and used software to do face swaps and prevent some of the worse headshots of some of the employees.
So, drones are big now, I get it. It’s cool to have drone videos, sure, I agree. Maybe having a video of one buzzing through the halls of the office could be neat, too. But drones are not cameras. They are not created for photo quality. The plan to use a drone for such an important and expensive photo was poorly-conceived as best. The result was crap, no matter how cool it was.