The arduous route to a distant goal

It’s off for production! After updating a bunch of stuff from the review process, including some new voice-overs and animations, the Master DVD was sent off from the Zebulon Road Post Office Branch (pictured below) in Macon, GA at around 5pm Tuesday night. The artwork has been done, is being reviewed, and will go out today once it’s past review.

Thanks to the MANY who helped with various aspects of this, especially Tim Kaiser and Phil Russman. I worked with some truly professional pilots along the way and will miss that. Eric Dufour is a Dynamo, you’d never know that guy is over 50 from his Energy. Michel Carnet, Mathieu Rouanet and Emilia Plak were also consummate professionals that were a pleasure to work with. Same with Ryan Shaw–I wish we could have done more but what I did get will blow your socks off. That closing chapter is awesome and Ryan and Chad Bastian made it possible. I feel like the whole community has chipped in, if nothing else by enduring my intruding camera at so many events.

This has been, by far, my most ambitious project to date with probably 20 minutes of animation (I spend 5 to 10 hours per minute on that), many dozens of filming flights with cameras mounted just about everywhere in positions to best clarify the concept dujour from a dozen or so very talented pilots.

What a ride. Now on to the final installment (after a break!)–Master PPG 4: Advanced Landing.

2012 Oct 23

It is finished! This morning was the first time having the entire video on a disc. It’s 1:45 running time making it the longest of the series although I still have a screening with Phil Russman to go through. One thing is that I do indulge some fun flying at the beginnings of some chapters and try to allow an extra 2 to 3 seconds at the end of important explanations. Monday evening in San Diego then the next week making adjustments and authoring the DVD which means it will go out for production around Nov 5.

I was out at Joe Onofrio’s Monument Valley fly-in and, thanks to Ryan Shaw got some truly spectacular footage with my stabilized helmet cam. What timing. I’m incorporating that footage where it fits. Chad Bastian joined us for some formation flying, too. Thanks guys! I’m sorry to have rushed out of there early but, on Saturday, when it became likely there would be no flying, I wanted to get home to work on the video. I can feel the end. Back to work.


Finally I’m on the timeline. Starting this was waylaid by the need to finish another project that should be appearing by Summer 2011. I’m going to make this slightly more entertaining since, in the realm of cool flying, I’ve got a LOT of footage. It will still have in depth training information and animation but I want to include at least some of what’s possible. I finished the intro and love it. High energy, cool flying, interesting angles, just plain fun. Mind you, I only spend 30 seconds on this so I’m not wasting your time, but I will add quite a bit.

In this beginning section I’ve got an awesome animation describing ground track and the effect that wind has. That sounds simple but the effect isn’t always obvious. It will be after seeing this animation. Today, sitting here in Boston on an overnight for work, I’ve got the first 2 minutes completed. That doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s just nice to be “on the timeline” and gitten ‘er done.


This is the home stretch. As I write this an animation for Chapter 16 is rendering and I’ll be working on Chapter 17 tomorrow (entering and flying in formation). That’ll be some cool stuff including a shot I can’t wait to share of Mathieu Rouanet STANDING on Emilia’s cage in flight. It’s a fun shot that, for most of us, would be legicide. It’s Matheiu. Saying “don’t do this at home” is like showing Evil Knievel jumping the grand canyon and warning viewers “don’t do this at home.” Mostly the chapter is highly informative with animations that will help pilots be better at getting into formations safely and QUICKLY. But this video has a bit more fun to go with it’s instructional content. That’ makes a bit longer but also a bit easier to watch than the others. We’ll see how it gets received in screenings.

The end is nigh. I’ll have an initial hack at it, all together on one disc by wed of next week. There are still a very few black holes (narration needing video) and I plan on improving some of the shots already there but that should go pretty quick. Then there’s fixing what we find in screening, titling, music, and credits. Finally production will take about 3 weeks but it’s entirely possible, likely even in my optimistic little mind, that it will be shipping by Thanksgiving.

Of course everything else in my life is taking a back seat while I spend 10-12 hours every day working on this thing. But that’s the way it goes when completion is in such easy trotting distance.