C+S July 2021 Vol. 7 Issue 7 (web)

The 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Contest (EDVY) reached new heights this year with 68 videos entered from across the globe. With more than 14,300 votes cast during the initial voting round, the competi- tion was stiffer than ever. Three finalists emerged from this intense vot - ing period: “Bois d’Arc Lake Project” by Freese and Nichols, “Interstate 74 Bridge Corridor” by IMEG Corp, and “After the Mudslide” by Reid Hu. In addition, this year featured an inaugural partnership with SPH Engineering who offered several impressive prize packages to the top three finishers that included their flagship software. The final round consisted of a review from our prestigious panel of judges. After much deliberation and intense discussion, the panel came to the conclusion that Reid Hu’s “After the Mudslide” is the unanimous winner of the 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Contest. Hu, a student from the Pacific Northwest in the United States, was drawn to shoot his project through family ties. His uncle worked as a structural engineer on the project, and he approached Reid about flying his drone through the building. Reid jumped at the chance, and, ever Precision and Storytelling: Reid Hu’s "After the Mudslide" Wins 2021 Engineering Drone Video of the Year By Luke Carothers

mindful of the power of storytelling, seized the opportunity to incorpo- rate cinematic elements to contextualize the project. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the subject of the video is a resi - dential construction project. The house that previously stood on the site was washed away in a landslide two years prior. The impetus for rebuilding this particular house is seamlessly blended in the video as the camera navigates the steel beams sunk deep in the ground to prevent the house from washing away in the next landslide. The video begins low, rising through a truck before skimming over some timber and rising behind the retaining wall above the house. This opening shot sets the stage for the building narrative tension as the point of view is rapidly pulled back through the building being constructed. The viewer is given a wide view of the project includ- ing the completed house to the left, the project being worked on, and the wreckage of the previous house strewn in the water. The point of view then shifts again, bringing the viewer back through the construc- tion and turning to pan over the watery horizon. This demonstrates an ability to give the viewer "different information than what is usually available," something that judge Alexey Dobrovolsky, CTO of SPH Engineering, commented on during the judging process. The video also stood out from the competition in terms of both its use of narration and natural noise. By employing construction noises such as a truck backing up, a generator running, and a hammer pounding, the video is given its first layer of context. Simultaneously, Reid’s voice narrates the project, telling the story behind the site and its im- portance in being rebuilt. This aspect in particular stood out to judge Margot Moulton, who said these elements made the video feel, “very human and personal.” According to the panel of judges, “After the Mudslide” was the most technically advanced entry of the finalists. Panelist Jean-Louis Weemaes noted the blending of technical skill and storytelling to create



july 2021

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