Between March and July: Paris, Rome and Porto / by Dario Branco

It has been a while since the last post. I know I said I would give my final thoughts on my trip to Switzerland but I am saving it for another time.

Meanwhile, i have been so busy with work that even if I wanted to write about Switzerland, I couldn't because I have no time. 

Finally, I managed a few minutes to write about my previous months.

First, went back to Paris and for the first time to Rome. I wish I could have a different first time in Rome but I enjoyed it much more than Paris. No matter how many times I go to Paris, I still don't like it. 

Even then I've got the chance to try a few new camera techniques. I did my first Hyper-lapse of the Eifel Tower. On my last post, I talked about being more patient and to do Hyper-lapses is something essential. To start slow, we decided to just go on a straight line towards the Eiffel Tower and move the camera every two steps. The starting point was on the top of the Camp the Mars Park and it took us two hours and a couple of beers to cross all the way down to Place Jacques Rueff. 

Since I've only done five hyper lapses so far, the most important thing is to have a reference point and keep it in the same position. Also, don't forget to have the camera leveled for every shot. Even then it will be necessary to stabilize it in post-processing. In Rome, I got the chance to do a small one of the Colusseum.

For the Louvre we decided to take a step forward and add some rotation.

The goal will be, on a far distant future, to do something like this:

Will I do hyper lapses in my spare time? Probably not. It takes too long. Which leads me to the next topic: Flying a drone.

Since drones came out I've secretly lusted for one. Up until now, they were too big and unless I wanted to have not so good image quality; expensive. All of that change once DJI released the Mavic Air. Portable, 4K and Raw files and somewhat affordable. 

Up until the moment I bought the drone, I was asking myself: Do I need a Drone? So far I am not sure about the answer but is trending towards Yes. Let me explain. Is something I will not use often. However, I see the benefits of having one: New and different perspectives, a new skill, and because is so portable I can use it with me anywhere I want. In Rome, while working, I got to use it to film a small cocktail on a rooftop and do some footage of a building. In a way, I am getting some profit from it.

Depending on where I flying it, it is nerve recking. First, I don't want to kill anyone when flying in busy places, like Rome. Second, because I don't want to through away 1200€. If you want to get your first drone, remember that it will take time to be good flying it and it takes practice. So far I've only been flying it closeby and not too high. The farthest maybe 250m and 100m high on an opened area with a lot of empty space. Nothing fancy for now. 

As for the image quality I have mixed feelings. The video I could not have asked for better but as for the photos I was expecting more. Even though is a RAW file, I think the image could be bigger then 12mp.

One way to get around the "problem" is to create vertical panoramas.

Processed Single Image

Processed Single Image

Processed Panoramic View

Processed Panoramic View

At this moment I am in a learning process, so I can't say much besides it is amazing how a few years ago if someone wanted aerial footage they had to hire a helicopter with a camera and now anyone can do it with better quality. And remember, fly safe, have another person watching the drone while you control the camera, follow the rules and always pay attention to the wind and seagulls.



Finally, we have arrived at Porto. I have been planning to go there for a while now and the opportunity came by when I was asked to go there for a job. Once the job was approved I knew I was going to stay there longer than expected.

As always, there is never enough time and we can only do so much. With that said what do I recommend doing in Porto?

1 - Eat a Francesinha and drink some Vinho do Porto
2 - Enjoy a sunset from Miradouro da Serra do Pilar
3 - Get lost on the streets
4 - Go away from the city and take a hike from Povoa do Varzim all the way to Matosinhos or go and visit Sr da Pedra Church.

Blue Hour from Miradouro Serra do Pilar

Blue Hour from Miradouro Serra do Pilar

I am planning on going back and hopefully, I will be giving you more and better recommendations.

Now that I have some more free time, I am hoping to post at least two more posts. One with more details about having a drone and how I captured the image from Porto. Saty tunned.