Wish them Airy Christmas with a drone video greeting

If you’ve been flying for long, chances are you have a spectacular or instructive or goofy video lying around that your friends still haven’t seen. Why not save the stamp for a Christmas card and send them a drone video holiday greeting?

During a fall trip to the Gaspe penninsula, I snagged this shot of spectacular Percé rock.

It didn’t really fit in with any of the other videos I’d made over the year, so it remained a widow in my to-do box. However, my friend Helen suggested it would make a nice holiday greeting. It’s also her caption, so I give her full props. (Ahr ahr).

Percé rock at 20 frames per second

I used After Effects to title, time dilate, color correct, and zoom the short sequence. But even at nine seconds, it made for a 296 MB MP4 file. Reducing the quality helped shrink the file size somewhat, but my e-mail provider allows me to send only 30 MB as an attachment. Something had to give.

My solution was to turn it into a GIF. There are many ways to do this, but few are simpler than HNet’s Video to GIF page.

And it’s free.

Just upload your video – as long as it’s less than 300 MB. (There is a workaround and I’ll get to that.) The conversion page defaults to a duration of three seconds, so change the end time if your GIF is longer. Then click convert. Takes a few moments, but eventually you’ll be able to download a perfectly nice GIF that should be far less than 30 MB. The video above has a frame rate of about 20 frames per second and comes in at about 20 MB. A lower frame rate will reduce the file size even further, but I think five frames per second causes too much stutter.

Percé rock at 5 frames per second

By the way, if you’re wondering why I didn’t fly the drone though Percé’s iconic arch, it’s because the rock is part of a wildlife sanctuary and flying near the birds is forbidden. Although this guy gets pretty close. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit, you can walk out at low tide. However, there is real danger from falling rocks. When Jacques Cartier arrived about 500 years ago, there were THREE arches in Percé. So that’s a data point…

If your wonderful drone video is more than 300 MB, Photoshop will help you make a GIF, although it’s not exactly intuitive. The instructions are here. I’ve used this method to make large GIFs for DroneDJ, so I know it works. But it does take patience.

Send them a drone video holiday greeting

I’ll let you think of your own holiday wordplay, but here’s a few to help you get started.

And don’t forget your Jewish friends on the High Holidays.

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