Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beijing by Drone

I talked briefly about my very short trip to China earlier. It was a short trip - fly in, two days of interviews with the media on GW2's release in China, an impressive party, a day of playing tourist, hitting the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, and then out. Hardly enough to frame any definitive opinions. But I didn't mention the drones.


Yeah, the GW2 celebration started with a reception with a cover band, models posing by GW2 exhibits, and a lot of fans, including ones ignoring the cover band and the models and playing GW2 at computers set up around the perimeter of the huge patio area. The entire shindig was in a former industrial area turned art district, so we were surrounded with old gas works and cement storage facilities. And in the middle of this, I heard a burring noise, and looking up, saw a trio of mini-helicopter drones hovering at the edges of the property.

And I did a mental blink. This was no the first time I was filmed in a public place, but probably the first time I was in a public place being filmed by a drone. Definitely the first time I was aware of it. It felt a little odd, in part because I had not experienced it before.

In any event, the party went well and I forgot about the drones with everything else that was happening. And then I came across a video by Trey Ratcliff, a gifted photographer, who was taking pictures of Beijing by drone. And while the video is titled "Beijing From Above, AKA the Story of How I Was Detained By the Police for Flying My DJI Quadcopter", the video doesn't mention the detaining, the story of which is instead found here.

In any event, it a series of shots of various Beijing locations, many of which I did not get to visit. It does capture the grandeur (and to my mind, impersonal nature) of the Forbidden City and the beauty of the Summer Palace (which you should go to, but be prepared to hike). And then, about the 3:09 mark, there was something that, to quote the clickbait sites, "Blew my mind".

Rytlock Brimstone.

I mentioned that the GW2 party culminated in the unveiling of a huge 40 foot Rytlock statue, which, I had been told, would be an installation in this art district. Yet I was still surprised when I came across a picture of him, in all his charrish glory, taken by a quad-copter, no less.

Check it out. It's pretty cool.

More later,