Dear @nbcnews I saw your article on Drones in the sky and how you focused on them and what they're taking pictures of.
What you neglected to tell your viewers but I will is for them to look around their streets, where they shop, where they eat, where they walk in the evenings, where they change, etc...and see how many cameras are filming them each and every moment of every single day vs. 18-20 mins at a time, (the amount of charge which will carry a QUADCOPTER as it's really called.
The quads are getting a bad name due to uninformed people reporting on them. Instead of having one of your people doing a story on this, why not come out and interview someone who actually flies one. I'd be happy to stand with your people, and do a demo of one and let you see not only what is seen during the quads flight, but the resulting images as well so that you can do a properly informed story about the technology and what it's being used for, not perverted for.
Flying these over a crowd of people in Los Angeles...DANGEROUS because those spinning blades can not only take fingers and hands, but if you hit someone just right they can cut into a skull. These are not toys, they are tools which should be used by people who have trained or been trained in their operation.
And they should be used for good things. I for example had to explain to a policeman why I was flying one in my housing area safely sending it from the ground to 200 ft into the air to snap a sunset after a less than educated employee of Boeing (of all places) decided to film me (without my permission, not sure the officer made her destroy that footage, but it could be part of a lawsuit brought against Boeing for the actions of their employee and unfounded accusations of me filming her, which I was not, and never would).
I fear as a professional photographer using this tool for the right purposes that organizations like yours will infringe on my rights to enjoy this tool and the great results it produces because of the lack of education and paranoia.
Did you know that the product has software that indicates no fly zones and sends the quad back to its home point when it approaches things like airports? No, you neglected to cover that in your story.
Did you know that there's a RETURN HOME FEATURE so that if the quad loses signals from your remote control that it will initiate a flight pattern which brings it back to where it was launched from? No, you left that out of your story as well.
The woman that complained in Seattle about the "drone photographing her in the nude on the 26th floor of her home tower", did she express concern about the voyeurs across Seattle with the high powered telescopes who were watching her and masturbating to her appearance while she was freaking out about the drone and then proceeded to post her pictures on the web? No, you left that out of your story as well and now, she'll be admitted to a psych ward when you go back and ask her about that because her response would be "REALLY??? NO!!! There's nobody out there doing that!!! and then she'll go google it and find out that yes, someone did see her.
(I am guessing on the previous paragraph, but I'll bet if you put the word out there, somewhere someone did see her and did exactly that) It happens every single day in many cities across the USA and around the world.
Check this site out for some interesting images: http://www.gallerydirect.com/marketplace/search?q=voyeur
And when you're done, then go to this page and see some images shot by someone who is using this tool the right way:
You will see some pictures of people in my page. Those people, all of them stopped by and asked me questions about the QUAD and what I was using it for, and they were asked if they minded their picture being taken and all said no, even the girl on the beach with the cellphone walking with the quad following her. It was funny because she just kept talking as it hovered behind her. An example of what cameras do each and every single day of the week around the world to many many more people.
The other thing you didn't cover is the resolution of what the government is watching us with. Why? Because they told you that you couldn't, but I can tell you that it can read the date on a dime around 1000 feet in the air and the DJI Phantom 2 Vision and Phantom 2 Vision+ that you showed in your story cannot even come close to that.
The hobby versions capture at around 4,000 x 3,000 pixels per inch resolution or High Definition for those who love to use that terminology.
Stability of the resulting image is dependent on a bunch of things, but one is whether or not the quad you are flying has a GIMBAL on it that allows the camera to remain stable while the quad rocks and rolls with the wind. Some days you'll find there is no wind affecting you, and other times you'll find there's a lot of wind affecting your flying.
If you're smart, you're not flying the smaller quads in wind speeds in excess of 8-10mph. If you are, you'll notice that your flight time is decreased. The other thing you neglected to cover is that these things have a GPS in them which allows them to be tracked and to maintain a fix on what's called a HOME point which they will return to if they lose signal.
So...now you know a little bit more about the QUADCOPTER, DRONES are used by the Military for a number of purposes including killing people. These QUADS are used for photography.
Now, in closing as with ANYTHING out there, there are some people that are less than proper with these. Those people deserve what they get as a result of their flying where they shouldn't, buzzing girls in bikini's on the beaches, or intruding near someone's window and photographing them. Although in order to get a good picture of someone you have to pretty much be flying in the room with them which most people will not do because a shoe or a chair will turn this whirring tool into a pile of garbage quickly. But then again...computers can be use adversely, as can cars, knives, pots, pans, pants, sneakers, high heeled shoes...I hope you get my point.
EDUCATE THE PUBLIC and DON'T PENALIZE those of us that are using these tools for the purpose they were designed for.
I am personally all for training and licensing of people to use these things, but that will also mean that they'll be sold illegally and bastardized the way some other things are and that will be a sad time in our country as once again the legal system will be taxed by those who can't follow the rules.
Lastly for some additional education and images, you can see this posting which I put up following the incident with my neighbor the other day:
You have my expressed permission to use the images in these pages on the web in a story to educate your viewers. However, you must use them without edits because they are 100% factual and any changes will remove the clarity and precise message of the postings and the images.
If these don't work, then pack a camera crew and come down to Huntington Beach in the morning around 6:30am and let's take my quad and head over to Huntington Dog Beach / Huntington Beach Cliffs and you can shoot a story of what is entailed in taking one of these out of a car, getting it set to return home and then watch the flying, and landing and leaving the area as well, all within the bounds of the law as there is no law against flying them over or on a beach anywhere in California that I am aware of.
Michael E. Murdock, US NAVY VETERAN and CEO