11/21/14 4:00pm

A LOFTIER VIEW OF THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL Can’t stop celebrating the Houston Ship Channel’s recent centennial, but unable to make it to that exhibit downtown? Do industrially majestic helicopter shots of mighty tankers and container ships hewing their way through brown waters to and from the deep blue sea, between banks lined with tank farms and smoke-belching chemical stacks, and shorelines spanned at intervals by such engineering marvels as the Fred Hartman Bridge leave you weak in the knees? Then check out Houston Ship Channel: Deep Water Centennial, the 56-minute film produced by the Texas Foundation for the Arts. It ran recently on local public teevee, but it’s now available on YouTube (and embedded above). It features lots of stentorian narration of “commerce porn” factoids and stats (“The most foreign ship calls! . . . It’s longer than the Panama Canal! . . . Such huge gross tonnage!”) recited above beds of stirring, vaguely martial music. If you aren’t ready to commit to the full 57 minutes, you can get a sampling via the separately posted trailer. Video: Houston Public Media

10/20/14 12:00pm

By now, most of us have probably been tricked once or twice by an incredibly realistic rendering of a building that we thought was an actual photograph. Here’s something that might do the reverse: If after several viewings, you still suspect this fly-through of the 10-month-old city park forged out of the former Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 801 Andrews St. in the Fourth Ward might have been created at least in part with modeling software, you should be excused. But it’s actual aerial footage from Seventh Ray Films, using a DGI Phantom 2 quadcopter — with a fair amount of post-production work to achieve a more “cinematic” look.

Video: Seventh Ray Films

Can Your Drone Do This?
10/20/14 10:45am

Ground-level view corridors were limited by extensive street closures early Sunday morning, which meant that the best views of the controlled demolition of the denuded Houston Club Building at 811 Rusk St. were to be had from inside neighboring office towers. The video above and its entertaining soundtrack was posted to YouTube by Culturemap yesterday (and have already inspired its first quasi-parody video), though it’s almost identical to the (longer) raw video feed posted by KHOU. Once cleanup is complete, Skanska will begin construction of the 35-story Capitol Tower on that site.

Video: Culturemap/KHOU

Wow. Wow. Wow.
09/23/14 1:00pm

How long has it been since you’ve run along, rowed along, or flown over Buffalo Bayou? Guy-out-with-his-Phantom-quadcopter Marco Luzuriaga filmed this scene earlier this month above a short section of the city’s most prominent drainage canal beginning near the Rosemont Bridge, then turning around and heading a ways toward Downtown. He gives up on the waterway and substitutes a bit of downtown-tangling freeway spaghetti near the end, but if you look into the distance around the 1:30 mark, you can catch a quick progress report on reconstruction of Buffalo Bayou Park.

Video: Marco Luzuriaga, via Brittanie Shey

 

Tour by Drone
08/08/14 12:15pm

THE STARVING ARTIST GALLERY IS GONE, BUT ITS PARTIES WILL LIVE ON ONLINE 2037 W. Alabama St., Montrose, HoustonWhat kind of revelry has Montrose been missing since the end of April, when the Starving Artist Gallery at 2037 West Alabama St. closed up shop? No need to try to imagine, because owner William Loyd and his now legally recognized wife, Nikki Araguz Loyd, documented the mayhem at last year’s blow-out Christmas party at their gallery in the just-released final 2 pretty-much-NSFW episodes of the first season of their web video series, Nikki’s American Dream. They’re called “Bad Santa” (episode 7) and “It’s Only Wednesday” (episode 8). (The gallery maintains an online presence too.) [YouTube] Photo of former Starving Artist Gallery: Swamplot inbox

08/06/14 1:45pm

Sure, high-above drone still shots now regularly pepper real estate listings, but a reader wonders whether the effort shown above — and included in this for-sale website — might constitute the first video tour by quadcopter ever to appear in Houston’s MLS. It probably isn’t, if only because (as of early this afternoon), the 3-story townhouse at 1611 W. Clay St., which backs up to the TJ Maxx store on W. Gray St., isn’t actually listed for sale on the MLS (it last sold in 2012, for $462,060). But the video was only posted on Monday, so give it some time. Asking price: $560,000.

The flying-remote-camera footage begins with an awe-inducing golden-hour survey of the home’s exterior and moves onto the amazing views of downtown and the surrounding neighborhood that might be available were the townhouse to be 3 or so stories taller than it is. But more notable is the moment about 44 seconds in, when the flying-around-the-house quadcopter camera footage cuts directly into an interior walkthrough, starting from the front door (leaving out, of course, the awkward around-the-side-of-the-garage entrance common to homes of this type).

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Real Estate Listing Innovations
07/10/14 11:01am

By 1:35 in the morning 2 Saturdays ago, Troy Dickerson had left his Rosenberg home and found himself speeding past the Sweetwater and Williams Trace exits on the far-left lane of the Southwest Fwy. while his wife Kristin, who was sitting in the passenger seat, let out a series of screams to work her way through waves of contractions. Almost exactly a half-hour later, their baby, Truett, was born while his mom stood outside the family’s white Toyota pickup, which was by then parked in the valet drop-off area of the Women’s Pavilion at Texas Children’s Hospital, at 6621 Fannin St. in the Med Center (where, perhaps incidentally, the mother works as a childbirth educator).

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Having Baby on Board
04/08/14 10:15am

Here’s some raw footage from a camera-wielding drone flight landscape artist and researcher Steve Rowell piloted earlier this year over portions of the Baytown Nature Center, the Crystal, Scott, and Burnet Bay peninsula that not too long ago was the home of the tony Brownwood subdivision — before it got all sinky and decided to subside 10 or so feet into the water. In some portions of the video, you can still spot the occasional home or garage slab from a fifties- or sixties-era rancher or 2, not to mention concrete broken up from other foundations and driveways and recycled on-site into surge barriers that now control the more recent, court-ordered wetlands environment.

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Touring Brownwood by Drone
02/03/14 10:30am

From the self-described “guy with a quadcopter” behind Skyhawk Videos, here’s new aerial footage from high above the brand-spanking-new intersection of I-10 and Houston’s latest orbiting ringroad, the Grand Parkway. The view is primarily to the southeast, with a few tilts and glances in either direction; the new section of State Hwy. 99, aka the Grand Pkwy.’s Segment E, begins in the upper right of the initial image and extends to the lower left, across the Katy Prairie to the outlet mall in Cypress, running over an ancient burial ground in the process. The highway is carrying the last of its free traffic; tolls kicked in on Friday, about a month and a half after the segment opened and just a few days after Skyhawk’s drone shot.

In the lower right of the image is the new 151,600-sq.-ft. Katy Costco and gas station, scheduled to open to the public this Thursday. Its 14-acre site is the focus of its own separate video as well, filmed on January 25th:

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Grand Parkway, Costco, Cars!
09/24/13 10:00am

Part of the so-called “New Dome Experience” devised by the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. proposes that the space-age icon be slimmed down — and, if this new promo video is any indication, that means more than just removing ramps and staircases from the stadium’s unwashed exterior, but also chopping its name in half. You’ll see in this new commercial, produced by the recently formed committee to persuade voters in advance of this November’s this-or-nothing bond election, that the Astrodome is referred to throughout solely as “the Dome,” whether it’s hosting technology conferences, Ferris wheel demonstrations, or generic swimming championships.

Video: TheNewDomePAC

09/23/13 9:45am

So much for total environmental control, huh? The Foley’s, then Macy’s, at 1110 Main St. is no more, succumbing to a helluva lot of dynamite early Sunday morning. Completed in 1947 and designed by Kenneth Franzheim, the 10-story, 791,000-sq.-ft. building was the last department store Downtown. It’s still not clear what will be going up once the retail rubble is cleared from this block bound by Main, Travis, Dallas, and Lamar, though an employee at Hilcorp — which is connected to 1110 Main Partners, the entity that owns the property — has told Swamplot it’ll be “a regular looking office building tower over 20 stories high.”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Why not revel, for a moment, in the glorious dust?

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09/03/13 10:00am

Dude! Got a snazzy idea for that 1927 underground water reservoir near Sabine St. on Buffalo Bayou, but you just can’t picture what’s down there? Well, grab the potato chips and crank up Pink Floyd, because now you can. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership is reaching out in the hope that entrepreneurs, artists, and visionaries the city over will use the above video, created by SmartGeometrics, for inspiration. (And more 3D images are forthcoming on the partnership’s website.)

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08/28/13 4:30pm

Who says Houston isn’t fast-paced and funky when the sun goes down? If you’ve got a minute, check out this time-lapse video made by Spenser Harrison. It takes in all the lit-up hotspots in H-Town: Main St., the Galleria, Reliant Stadium — heck, even the Pierce Elevated!

Video: Spenser Harrison

08/16/13 2:30pm

Here’s a short documentary, uploaded at the end of July, about a group of Fifth Warders doing “guerrilla gardening” — as one shovel-wielding fella describes it — on a bit of the Hardy Yards, that 50-acre patch of former Union Pacific rail yard off Burnett St., just north of Downtown.

Video: Aprill Renee