Sights, sounds and other sensory sensations to take in for the holidays:
Twilight at any time
VHT chief: Revisiting drone rules welcomed as technology expandsIt's been about two years since the Federal Aviation Administration established guidelines and licensing procedures on the use of drones by commercial businesses and operators.
But a lot has changed in those two years as the use of drone for business has greatly expanded. As a result, the Trump administration is looking into revising drone regulations, including extending regulation from the FAA to state and local governments.
While the debate has been active on extended regulations, VHT Studios founder and CEO Brian Balduf sees the review of drone regulations as a necessary process in the technology's evolution.
"There are so many different uses (for drones) that it is hard to come up with one set of rules that applies to everybody," Balduf said.
When the FAA approved drone regulations two years ago, the technology was primarily being used by photography firms, media and first responder agencies. Since then, drones have been used in industries like agriculture, utility maintenance, professional sports and soon for package delivery.
This opens up new issues that conflict or aren't addressed by the FAA rules, such as flying over public areas, maintaining field of vision and nighttime flying. In addition, issues such as privacy and property rights also come into conflict.
Balduf, who's company was a pioneer in using drones for real estate photography, said it's those potential conflicts that warrant revisiting the rules, and bringing all levels into the conversation will help with developing rules that everyone can live with.
"There is so much in this that the more people who are thinking about it, the better," he said. "If the states and municipalities can get involved and try different things, it's better for all of us.
"Let's, as a group, share what's working and not working so we can implement best practices across wide swatches of regions," Balduf added.
The adage in selling real estate is that location is everything, but Rosemont-based real estate photography company VHT Studios adds putting the property in the right light also gets the sale.
The company, known for its uber-professional real estate photography, recently added Virtual Twilight to its technology tool box, Virtual Twilight creates the image of the property bathed in the glow of a sunset without the pressures of having a photographer at the location at the right moment of time -- or being hampered by weather conditions.
"With photography, it's all about capturing people's attention, and anything that's unique or different has that effect," said VHT Studios CEO and co-founder Brian Balduf. "It's a gorgeous presentation of the front of the property that you don't see that often because you only have a few minutes every day to capture those."
Using a regular daytime shot of the property, VHT technicians use technology to alter the color, brightness and contrast to create the dusk image.
With a starting price of $39 per photograph, it can also be a cost-effective alternative to having someone spend time trying to take the perfect dusk shot in real time, Balduf added.
Virtual Twilight is another piece of VHT's Virtual Staging Suite, which can change an image to envision options for the property or interior decoration ideas, from decorating vacant spaces and changing paint colors to removing clutter and 'depersonalizing' living spaces.
Introduced in October, Virtual Twilight is gaining interest among VHT customers, Balduf said.
"It extends of demand we have for photography at twilight," Balduf said.
"It has the ability to show off the home in a variety of different ways and highlight the best of the property."
For more information, visit vht.com/news/vht-studios-unveils-virtual-twilight.
Now hear this
The California-based company will be installing its DTS: X immersive audio technology at the Charlestowne 18 in St. Charles, Cinema 12 in Carpentersville, Lake Theatre in Oak Park, North Riverside Luxury 6 in North Riverside, and York Theatre in Elmhurst.
According to DTS, the technology enables filmmakers to create richer soundscapes by moving sound objects in front of, behind, above and beside the audience.
"Installing DTS: X-certified equipment in our auditoriums will deliver a premium experience to our guests in a cost-efficient way, thanks to the technology's inherent flexibility and most importantly, first-class sound," said Classic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson.
Bill Neighbors, general manager of cinema, digital media and streaming solutions at DTS, said the technology gives moviegoers "a premium experience that is true to the filmmakers' intent, while allowing for the historic preservation of (movie) theaters."
Since its debut in 2015, more than 120 theatrical titles have been released and exhibited with a DTS: X soundtrack, more than 500 screens around the world have added DTS: X, and more than 60 world-class mixing stages in 17 countries have installed DTS: X production tools, according to the company.
Change of topic
The only constant in life is change. And that goes for columns, too.
This is my last column that will focus on technology in the suburbs.
For the past six years, I've enjoyed shining a spotlight on the companies, people and products that make up the suburban technology scene -- an industry that often gets overshadowed by its counterparts in the city.
Starting in January, I'll turn that spotlight on suburban-based companies that are making things you may not realize are being produced here. I'm looking forward to introducing you to these hidden gems.
As always, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of a company that would be a great item for this column.