Rich Brian – “Bali” Music Video + The future of drone delivery and pandemics

Rich Brian – “BALI” featuring Guapdad 4000

social distancing themed music video

Working during the Covid19 lock-down

I was very fortunate to get a call to work on the video for Rich Brian’s new music video, “Bali”. The concept emanated from this gifted young artist. You’d never know he was from another country as his English is perfect and more importantly from a rap perspective, his street steez is totally believable, yo. He writes and records all his own music in the room next to where we were shooting.

Brian took the budget for his music video, and using a skeleton crew, #Dronewrx AKA me (Aerial Cinematography/delivery drone), Mike Rogers (DP/camera  #shootsxladders) and Chris Heinrich (producer/director) we gave the illusion that Brian was sending gifts via drone to his friends and some of his fellow 88Rising artists, some businesses that have been greatly affected, and a couple of individuals that needed help paying their bills. We spent a total of 7 days criss-crossing The San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, The South bay and Orange County picking up/delivering gifts and money and capturing peoples reactions. Among the most memorable were the people who needed the money the most. The Fruit Cart guy in Whittier who gave us a heartfelt thank you in Spanish as he’s having a tough time feeding his family and paying his rent, I patronized his wares, and was the first time I had bought fruit from one of those carts which are an LA Institution, and tried the chili-powder and salt topping (which is amazing!). A woman in San Pedro with her diabetic son and husband, who had all lost their jobs and were facing eviction was the most heartfelt.  She broke down in tears and her gratitude was very genuine. I got a little choked up watching her open the lunch pail full of cash.

We debated which drone to use. The Freefly Alta X has tons of lifting power, but it’s too loud and obnoxious, without much surface to decorate. The DJI Inspire 2 has pretty decent lifting power but it doesn’t read as a “drone” that people are familiar with. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is iconic and probably the most recognizable drone there is, AND it has lot’s of surface area to decorate which was important to Brian.

Simulating drone delivery for a music video

First off we had to evaluate the drone delivery risks before we could start. Carrying a payload on a small drone not designed to do that took time with testing. So, how many think that Rich Brian actually flew a drone from The valley to San Pedro, or Whittier, or even Cypress? Not to shatter reality, but no commercial drone can fly that far and retain the signal to the controller. Both Brian and Guapdad weren’t really flying the drone, they were acting. Of course, I was, hense this blog. The reality is, we would shoot Brian in his backyard placing items in the various vessels, taking off, then visited each of the recipients. We shot b-roll in every location, giving editors lot’s of choices. We visited Cuco‘s sex palace, Niki outside her uber urban dwelling, Cody‘s beach-side bachelor pad, Noel Miller’s favorite outdoor pee-pee wall, Guapdad’s hillside doobie deck, Buddy‘s – buddy’s house where they were smokin’ and ballin’, Kenny Beats at his beautifully updated grown-up looking house,  Denzel Curry‘s Midtown abode,  Thundercat‘s stylish NoHo crib.

Special thanks to Rich Brian for the cool song and the idea along with 88 Rising/Chris Heinrich, thundercat, Guapdad 4000, Niki Zefanya, Lil’ Yaghty,  Kenny Beats, Denzel Curry.

As Guapdad  made an appearance on the track, he also made an extended appearance in the video as he sent out gifts and contributed. You can hear his smooth vocal style kick in during his verse.

There’s a certain perception when you think of rappers. None of these people fit that stereotype and everyone we dealt with were super nice, easy to work with and supportive of Brian’s concept of giving.

Serving meals to medical workers- #lovecateringinc ( 
Crazy good food truck – #bellybombz, (

Turning their clothing company to a mask manufacturer –, (

How to make a drone delivery video believable

Here’s a deleted scene of the delivery of the pizza for Lil’ Yachty. He was the only artist that wasn’t shot in LA, a crew was hired in Atlanta to do the shoot and drone delivery. Their solution is a prime example of how a lot of pilots handle carrying packages more easily, and more safely. They took the the most basic approach, hanging the package 10-15′ below the drone. While that made it easy to fly the drone, it doesn’t look at all like what people picture when they think  drone delivery would look like. When we discussed options with the director, we decided on the DJI Phantom 4 pro V.2 because the Phantom is pretty much the most recognizable drone, and is essentially the “drone” emoji. Plus the P4P V.2 is quieter. This made certain things much harder from a pilots perspective, but the look of the video was more important than our comfort zone. Something people might not consider when producing a video of this nature is the column of air beneath a drone, which is the thrust. By hanging objects off the bottom you disrupt that flow, it also messes with the sensors, and there are many things things to consider with regard to the items themselves and method of attachment. There are also techniques to employ when flying. We’ve done a few of these types of shoots and have done plenty of testing. We also do larger packages and offer larger drones.0″>

A framing store – #framemonsterla (

Thanks to
Greg and Mimi Rosicky for letting us shoot in their Hollywood sign adjacent backyard. My own secret location.

Here Rich Brian Breaks Down “BALI” Music Video With Guapdad 4000 with Genius News

The future of drone delivery and social distancing what will remain when society opens up?

This video brings to light to very current topics. The future of drone delivery and social distancing what will remain when society opens up? Two vastly different topics that are now completely tied together, and Brian’s video was brilliant that it illustrated to the potential.  But being that they’re two different topics I’ve separated them, with a conclusion where I tie it all together, like a real writer. Ready!?

The future of drone delivery is coming to a town near you!

But how does that work?  Not everyone has a place for a drone to land safely near their front door. Any many of us don’t even have a “front door” If you scour the internet or look at the current players, obviously Amazon is the company most likely to reap the benefits of drone delivery. With drone home delivery, they wouldn’t be outsourcing anymore, which would hurt USPS, UPS and all the people who they use to deliver their wares. I would have to think that FedEx or UPS being the shipping behemoths that they are, would be looking to become drone delivery companies as well if they want to stay in business. But how does drone drone delivery work if you don’t have a front door, or a central location to “land a package”?  Is every apartment complex across the globe going to ad a “Drone-pad” on the roof, or in the courtyard? How would the packages be secured while sitting there? Then there’s the technology and the potential liability. A drone could deliver small items, but form and weight is going to play a huge roll. How do we all feel about drones buzzing around our airspace?  I know some of my neighbors have a short fuse when it comes to a drone flying around their house? Anytime I do a little testing these days I keep it quick and local so as not to create problems and I fy in a manner so they don’t think I’m spying on them. And what about the liability on the tech?  Most of the serious potential delivery drones I’ve seen all have prop guards, but it would seem a matter of time before something happens, and we know how public sentiment can see an isolated incident and the hysteria that follows.

But as the photos below illustrate; for some things like weed, food (HUGE!), medicine, it’s a no brainier! It’s already being used for rescues. Someones drowning, you can swim out there, or fly a drone in a matter of second to drop a vest preserver. Problem is, do all lifeguards have to learn to fly drones? Seems like a logistical nightmare.

So when I parse this all out, you can conclude it wouldn’t be an end all for traditional package delivery, and likely to be an addition to the entire process. I can also tell you that the pilot city, Christianburg, VA has already had a program started testing back in October for Walgreens and FedEx, where they drop a carrier down on a cable. Which you can read about here. Probably the largest untapped market and perhaps what poses the greatest opportunity is for restaurants. The link here on Market Scale to Grant Guillot’s podcast talks about this very subject.

What social distancing teaches us

What can be said about the corona-virus that hasn’t been said already. I’m sure like me you’re sick of hearing about it, sick of talking about it, but most of all, sick of living thru this. The biggest questions as governments are starting to loosen protocols; what social distancing measures will continue? I mean, we know there’s still a lot of people out there who have the virus, at this moment there’s 1,312,738 confirmed cases and 77,727 deaths. (continued)

This was written back in March/April and the worldwide deaths as of 12/22/2020 are now a staggering 78.6 MILLION cases and 1.73 MILLION deaths. This obviously not a virus to be trifled with. I’m trying not to be political here, but there’s people who deny and minimize, then there’s those who are taking this seriously. Some too seriously. Some have flaunted their ignorance and have paid for it. So as sociery opens back up, what social distancing will remain. Will you feel safe going to a concert, or flying in a commercial airplane? Will you wear a mask? The part that really irks me is the people who deny this is a problem conveniently ignore that wearing a mask is more about protecting the other guy, not you. But they’re framing this as ‘you’re a pussy if you wear a mask, some even cease on this as a political statement. of course the confusing remarks made by our leadership has cast doubt on the whole issue, and these are the folks that are less prone to know how to research and buy into conspiracy theories up the wazoo.

Now I’ve been lucky thru this. I’ve rarely been bored. I have been learning the piano, and always have a project to work on the computer whether it’s editing footage, or working on my website. (Note this is the most extensive blog on dronewrx to date) I recently purchased an electric mountain bike, (Specialized Turbo Levo Carbon) so I get out regularly. I don’t wear a mask, because it makes me feel like I’m suffocating, but I do keep a lot of distance from people I  ride near, am cognizant of the vapor plume their breath would create, even hold my breath if i’m close to someone.

  But when  as there’s only so much of that you can do without going koo-koo, and when I got the call from 88 Rising I was pretty happy as I had something to do besides busy work or hobby’s. But I always wonder what it might’ve been like when social distancing was employed during the plague, or the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. One thing I’ve been grateful for is the lack of traffic in LA. With that the air has been cleaner, and I’ve gotten a sense that mother nature got a well deserved break from the daily bludgeoning that modern society is taking out on the planet. So a big question is; what has social distancing done for the environment. Will this have a continued effec? Will people be working from home more, working out on their own?  Watching movies at home?  Cooking more?  I think the answer is yes. I went to see the Bio-luminescence that is currently happening along LA’s coast and it’s downright magical. Is this mother nature saying thank you? I kind of felt that it was.
So we need to ask ourselves; what does social distancing tech us about ourselves? Were you coming unglued and masking your lack of inner peace in alcohol and medical marijuana? Were you out protesting and carrying semi-automatic weapons to try to intimidate the government into letting you go out and spread the disease? Or were you cool with it and yourself? I will say that not having kids has made my inner peace a lot easier to obtain, but I also think the more you fight the things you cannot control, the more they will fight you.
In the end, this disease is not going anywhere until a vaccine is developed and that’s not going to happen tomorrow.

Is there a connection between drones and Coronavirus?

Now, with Covid19 being a part of everyone’s daily lives, I can can answer that with an emphatic – YES!
When you distill this all down, what social distancing teaches us, and what are we are to expect.  I think we all know it’s just a matter of time before there’s some battery operated contraption buzzing around your neighborhood dropping off some of California’s finest skunk weed, or a luke warm pepperoni pizza ordered by the dude who ordered the weed.  We can conclude that drone home delivery is most definitely going to continue, even be accelerated by what might just be a paradigm shift in our culture and our day-to-day lives. In fact, I’m sure this will kick down the door to any sort of legislative impediment that is going on right now. Society is crazy right now, and 2020 will go down in the history books as one of the most transformational in history, and we’re almost halfway thru it.