2014년 12월 20일 토요일

[The Atlantic] The Year in Drone Videos

The Year in Drone Videos

A tour of the best unmanned aerial cinema from around the world
Drone photography came into its own this year.
Quadcopters with cameras got better and cheaper, turning more people into drone hobbyists and professional aerial videographers. Drones were used for cityscapes, nature walks, concerts, real-estate listingsdisaster surveysOlympic sports—even self-portraiture, as selfies taken from the air became known as “dronies.”
With so many drone videos out there, picking the best of the year is a difficult task. To make our list, a video had to distinguish itself with a creative location, approach, or circumstance. Some drone videographers just got lucky (or unlucky, as the case may be). Others brought particular skill to an unusual place.
The popularity of drone videos can be partially explained, yes, by their novelty. (And their newfound ubiquity inevitably gave rise to complaints.) But at their best, drones provide a compelling vantage that captivates viewers and points in a new and creative direction for journalism and cinematography.
The following were the best drone videos released in 2014.

An Illicit View of Beijing

Drones aren’t allowed to fly over many parts of Beijing, least of all the Forbidden City. The photographer who took this video, Trey Ratcliff, was detained by policeafter he flew close to government buildings. Fortunately, he was allowed to keep the footage he shot over five days and offer the world this rare perspective on Beijing.
A Rockfall in Northern Italy

A cliff collapsed at the beginning of the year in the small town of Tramin (also known as Termeno) in South Tyrol, Italy, sending boulders and small rocks tumbling through fields—and, in one case, straight through a 300-year-old barn. This drone footage surveyed the surreal damage in an attempt to raise money for relief efforts.
An Abandoned City Near Chernobyl

Pripyat, Ukraine, was evacuated in 1986 after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown. Danny Cooke shot this video while visiting for the CBS TV news program 60 Minutes, which produced a segment about the continuing effects of radiation in the area. What Cooke found was a city frozen in time and left to decay but still displaying its humanity.
Fireworks on the Beach in Florida

“The quad was not damaged,” said Jos Stiglingh, who sent his quadcopter into the middle of an extravagant fireworks display in West Palm Beach, Florida. The resulting footage offers a perspective on a pyrotechnics show that’s usually seen from a much safer distance.
Taking to the Streets of Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s Umbrella movement seemed to catch everyone off guard, from its student leaders to the Chinese government. The scope of the protests wasn’t clear at first, but this video, shot by Nero Chan, helped make it clear to the rest of the world. He posted it to Facebook with the status: “feeling hopeful.”
Skimming the Waves on a Thai Island
Philip Bloom took his gear to Koh Yao Noi, Thailand, an island off the coast of Phuket, and shot an enchanting video that’s most notable for how close to the ground the drone hovers.

[The Washington Post] The collapse of the Pirate Bay, ‘the world’s most notorious file-sharing site’

The collapse of the Pirate Bay, ‘the world’s most notorious file-sharing site’

 December 10  
So this is how it may end for the Pirate Bay: two of its founders imprisoned, its offices reportedly raided, its Web site bounced from the Internet. The file-sharing site, which shot into existence in 2003 and at one point commanded 22 million users, has now crashed to a new depth from which it may not emerge. The collapse has taken years, but accelerated over the last several weeks, until a possibly final plunge Tuesday morning.
That was when the Swedish police launched a “crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm,” read a police statement reported by the Local. “This is in connection with violations of copyright law.” Fredrik Ingblad, a file-sharing prosecutor, added: “It’s about an investigation against the Pirate Bay and the people behind the site. I took the decision to bring a search warrant to this place as we found evidence it could have been used by the Pirate Bay.”
Details involving the raids on Pirate Bay remain sparse. The site offered a peer-to-peer file-sharing service that Swedish authorities and American companies like Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures consider an infringement on copyright laws. Using what’s called BitTorrent, users transfer millions of large files carrying music and movies, bypassing copyright laws and depriving the proper owners of that content of profits.
As of Wednesday morning, local authorities still weren’t saying much, according to reports. But a broader picture was beginning to emerge. The raids appear to have gone beyond just Pirate Bay, with other Swedish file-sharing services also going offline in addition to the Pirate Bay forum Suprbay.orgWired reported.
“Since the [Pirate Bay] site was shut down shortly afterwards [after the raids], it’s clear that it has something to do with it,” Ingbland told the Local. “… There were a number of police officers and digital forensic experts there. This took place during the morning and continued until the afternoon. Several servers and computers were seized, but I cannot say exactly how many.”
The fact that Pirate Bay was targeted in the raids hasn’t come as much of a surprise — authorities have long hounded the Web site, which somehow managed to carry on for years following the 2009 conviction of its founders on grounds of copyright infringement.
But what was a surprise was its continued success after the conviction. In 2012, Pirate Bay, which Wired once described as the “world’s most notorious file-sharing site,” began hosting its site on an online cloud.
At the time, its operators boasted to Torrent Freak that they were untouchable. “Moving to the cloud lets The Pirate Bay move from country to country, crossing borders seamlessly without downtime,” the manager said. “All the servers don’t even have to be hosted with the same provider, or even on the same continent.”
But the site’s founders, stuck in the physical realm, have had a more difficult time crossing those same borders, especially since 2009. That was the year founders Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Warg and Peter Sunde were sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay $7 million to a number of entertainment companies in what was described as a landmark trial. “Today’s ruling sends an important signal that online criminals who show such blatant disregard for the rights of others will be fully prosecuted under the law,” charged Mark Esper, who was then the vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Two of the founders ditched the country for Southeast Asia, even after their sentences were reduced to 4 months, according to the Guardian. Warg said he was too sick to attend his appeal hearing — and next materialized in Cambodia. He was later arrested in that country in September of 2012, and the Swedish judicial process was then not so lenient. He got 3½ years in the slammer.
Next up was Fredrik Neij, who was splitting time between Laos and Thailand. After more than two years in the region, he was busted last month while trying to cross into Thailand, and pictures showed a disheveled man in a gray shirt sitting under the scrutiny of uniformed Thai authorities. “It might have been a coincidence, but he was wearing the same grey t-shirt that was in the [wanted] photo,” an immigration officertold the Guardian. “The immigration police officer spotted him in the car and recognized him, so he pulled his car over.”
Then things went from bad to worse for Pirate Bay. Last week, a French court ordered national Internet providers to block the site. Afterward, Google banned several third-party Pirate Bay file-sharing apps, Wired reported, from the Google Play store. Now comes Tuesday’s raids and an uncertain future.
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Still, some found reason to think the Web site will be back. “As for the future, it’s hard to image that this is The Pirate Bay’s final act,” wroteGizmodo’s Mario Aguilar. “… Even if it dies in name, torrents and piracy will live on under some other name.”
Terrence McCoy writes on foreign affairs for The Washington Post's Morning Mix. Follow him on Twitter here.