Drone while you can!

October 13, 2014 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Community, Film-Making Workshops

What is the future of the drone? As amateur photographers and filmmakers, will we still have access to this technology in 12 months time?

Oat’s 2014 Showreel from Oat Vaiyaboon on Vimeo.

Oat Vaiyaboon, Port Fairy Thai Chef, Photographer and local DRONE/UAV/UAS/MULTIROTORS specialist ran a workshop on aerial filmmaking for the Snapshots Project in Peterborough.

I invited him along to run this session because I love his work and because I would like to see aerial photography as part of Peterborough’s Collaborative community film.

Aerial Footage filmed at the Peterborough Snapshots film workshop

Oat showed us some beautiful examples of his work and demonstrated different shot types. The following information has been condensed from Oat’s very thorough, fun and informative workshop.


  • Vertical review shot
  • Wrap around shot
  • Boom up whole looking straight down (GPS mode)
  • Looking down and come in close
  • Dolly shot with foreground

A number of these shots are demonstrated in this showreel created by Oat for the Snapshots workshop:

2014 Q3 SHOWREEL + from Oat Vaiyaboon on Vimeo.

Although most of the workshop was fun and play, Oat also discussed some of the rules, regulations and issues that you may face when flying your drone.

Firstly, you should know that you cannot fly your drone to collect video footage for coin, unless you have your RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) Certificate. There is a whole list of rules and regulations about where and where you cannot fly your drone and some commonsense rules about flying your drone safely around people. I am going to provide you with some general information here but for more detailed, up-to-date and accurate information, you can find a list of rules and regulations here.

Fly-away Drone

What I found interesting in Oat’s workshop is how often and easily drones can just ‘fall out of the sky’ or how easily a pilot will lose control of the drone. Believe me, you don’t want to fly one of these babies above a crowd of people! The stories of drones crashing to the ground, came from both Oat himself and the bunch of aerial filming enthusiasts in the workshop.

According to Oat, most “Fly-Away” Errors are caused by operator error or lack of proper pre-flight check. So its a very good idea to:

  • Always check props, battery, voltage, transmitter charge, FPV connections, signal and compass calib.
  • Know your surrounding. Is it safe? Is it clear to fly? Are there people around? Can you get your craft back if it crashed.

Be patient!

Before you send your drone off flying into the abyss:

  • always wait for the GPS to lock in with all green light indicator, no green = no go
  • after take off, always hover in position for 30 sec, to fly straight after take off may confuse the GPS
  • if it doesn’t behave the way it should, land and recalibrate the compass

Another thing you need to watch out for with the drone is the battery. You really need to know how to (and how to not) handle the Lipo Battery because you could end up with an explosion on your hands!


  • Always charge with approved charger design for your battery pack
  • Never discharged your LiPo fully – safest above 20% •    Always store and transport your packs in a LiPo safe
  • bag
  • Always charge your LiPo in LiPo bag, in a ventilated, nonflammable surface/environment
  • Never leave your LiPo in hot car
  • Don’t let your LiPo punctured or damaged
  • Always discharge your LiPo to 30% when traveling
  • Always discharge your LiPo to 50% when storing
  • If LiPo swell, DO NOT USE or CHARGE!
  • Never use water to put out LiPo fire

Once you get safety under raps you can enjoy the beautiful imagery and adrenalin-inducing joy of UAV aerial filming.

UAV Workshop

UAV Workshop

Here are some photos of the fun-filled workshop.


Thanks to Oat for sharing your skills and knowledge with us and for the beautiful examples of aerial photography.

Here is some further reading:

Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA)

 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Training & Solutions



‘I love Fitzoy’ (Skate Bowl)

October 8, 2014 // Colleen Hughson // No Comments // Posted in Blog, Skateboarding, Sport

A few months ago I started digitising all my old VHS Tapes. I came across some hilarious stuff including some interviews that I shot at Fitzroy Skateboard Bowl one day back in 1997. In my early 20’s, Fitzroy Bowl was my local skate park. I totally loved that place. I thought it was a really special place and on this day in 1997, I had asked everyone who was skating, what the Bowl meant to them.

My Local Fitzy from Skateboard.com.au on Vimeo.

I thought other people would love to see this old footage too. The push to edit it and make it into this short documentary came in the way of a video competition. My husband was trawling on skateboard.com.au one day and called out, “Have I got the competition for you”.

At first I was just going to make a documentary with the old footage and leave it at that but then the idea creeped in to re-interview some of the original people I had interviewed.  Once the idea got stuck in mind I could not not do it.

Thanks to Facebook, I was able to re-connect with many of those dudes. So I organised to meet them back at Fitzroy Bowl one Sunday in August to ask them the same questions as I had in 1997. That Sunday was a sunny winters day, like so many I remember. There was a great vibe at the park with plenty of ‘new’ locals hanging out. The day ended up being a bit of a re-union for many of the skaters who hadn’t seen each other in a while.

I wanted music that represented the mid 90’s era and in particular, Fitzroy grunge. My first choice in music was Spiderbait but I thought I would have Buckly’s chance of getting permission to use it. Nonetheless, I gave it try and got a positive response. Part of their email read;

“So many of our early band meetings were held under the trees watching the skaters and so many nights were spent drinking vodka inside the bowl.  It’s a big part of the Spiderbait history!”

The last bit I needed to pull the story was some footage of the very early days, when the bowl was brand new. I called on skateboard filmmaker Tom Flaherty for this. He happened to have a Snake Pit skateboard contest he filmed in 1992. Filmed not very well (by his admission) but who cares? It shows some amazing skaters and I got to see Australian Skate legend Mat Davis skate.

You cannot make a documentary about Fitzroy Bowl without mentioning the bowl parties. Once again, I contacted Tom Flaherty and once again he came through with the goods.

Hope you like it.