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JL Slade's Aerial Mastcam Presentation at MCAI Aug 2014

As we mentioned in the above article, it makes sense to spin out coverage of JL's Mastcam presentation to this separate article. After capturing the two previous presentations (Tim Keenan and Manny Pacheco on social media and branding) with her Mastcam, JL, owner of Up There Video, was at a distinct disadvantage when she stepped out from behind and moved to the front of the room: she had no one operating the camera! Of course, it would have been nice if she could have done both simultaneously…but I'm sure there will be an app for that soon.

 The first thing JL drew attention to was her Mastcam, capable of reaching 50ft in the air, but here was wedged into a small corner of the room in a very compact configuration. Talk about versatile! She can set up with a footprint about the size of a small beach towel.

The rig sports a large 22 inch HD monitor on the bottom by the controls, which she rotated toward the audience for impressive effect. Directors and DPs love that monitor. While at it's lowest (8 ft) it fit just fine into the room, giving a nice high shot of the meeting. Of course with JL behind the controls it can tilt, pan and zoom into subjects for just about any composition you could want. Her camera has a significantly long lens attached which is perfect for most of her jobs where Up There Video provides not only the all-inclusive high shot but will follow the action of sporting event, races concerts etc. with great close-ups when needed.

The website for Up There Video offers a number of good examples of the kind of versatility JL can get from just one position, making the Aerial Mastcam an important and versatile tool for any production.

Slade discussed the differences and advantages her Mastcam has over booms and and drones and helicopters. One important aspect for any producer is flexibility and portability. She bundles it all up to package she moves around on a dolly and it can virtually set up on any terrain in a short time. Equally important, it’s designed as a one-person operation which means it will often be cheaper than the alternatives.

Another advantage is she can record up to 8 hours in HD nonstop! And she's got full manual control of a 360 degree (in both directions) pan head at the top of the mast. The extremely long lens is controlled remotely by a variable speed zoom (not wireless). The mast is steady up to about 60mph winds but she will not work if there's a threat of lightening storms in the area. That makes sense!

Overall, the Up There Video's aerial Mastcam is a fun and versatile production tool and it's inventor/operator JL Slade a knowledgeable, talented professional. For more information you can contact JL via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A video recap of JL Slades's presentation as well as the other two of the evenings three presentations is available online at MCAI's Meetup site:

While you're there leave a comment, please. The three videos are also available on You Tube.