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Pelican Cam
March 4, 2014 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Somebody put a camera on a pelican's beak & it's awesome!! (SLYT)
posted by The Blue Olly (40 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yup: more GoPro.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:48 PM on March 4


OK, from that description I did not expect that the camera would be facing back towards the pelican. That makes it even more amusing. Especially in the early shots where the pelican is just paddling around and you can see a bit of the pelican body bobbing left and right relative to the camera.

It reminds me of Requiem for a Dream. Requiem for a Dream had these shots where a camera would be attached to an actor with some kind of harness, so that the actor's face was kept centered while they moved around in the scene. In that context, it gave a weird and unnatural feel to the scene, showing the characters' drug-induced disconnection from their physical environment. Somehow it doesn't work that way with the pelican.
posted by baf at 1:53 PM on March 4


This is awesome and stuff, but I suppose I'm a victim of technology culture in that my first thought after finishing the video was that the pelican would post this on FaceBook: "Bae caught me flyin"
posted by Mooski at 1:56 PM on March 4


But my thing is, a GoPro is not insubstantial, right? I mean, it's not the size of a cinder block, but it has a little bit of size to it. As a bird, I would be slightly inconvenienced by this extra size suddenly zapped onto my beak. I mean, right?

And how do they get it on there, anyway?
posted by kbanas at 1:56 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


"It's a living."
posted by Sys Rq at 1:57 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Wow. Actually, you know, in the early framing I just noticed you can see the camera, and I stand corrected - that looks pretty fucking inconsequential to me.
posted by kbanas at 1:58 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Damn pelicam spam.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:05 PM on March 4


OK, from that description I did not expect that the camera would be facing back towards the pelican. That makes it even more amusing.

Yes, yes! And when Ol' Scuttle teaches himself to glide instead of flap-flap, it's a wonderful thing.
posted by mochapickle at 2:05 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, don't be strapping cameras to random birds' beaks, assholes.
posted by aught at 2:13 PM on March 4


It's not a random bird. He was orphaned. And didn't know how to fly.
posted by mochapickle at 2:15 PM on March 4


I'm learning to fly
But I ain't got wings
What the hell
Is this thing on my beak

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:17 PM on March 4 [17 favorites]


It reminds me of Requiem for a Dream. Requiem for a Dream had these shots where a camera would be attached to an actor with some kind of harness, so that the actor's face was kept centered while they moved around in the scene.

It's called a SnorriCam.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 2:17 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


It's not that a GoPro is inconsequential, it's that a pelican is very very consequential.

I tire of the GoPro craze, but this one is really quite awesome.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:19 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


It's called a SnorriCam.

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar!
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:22 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Yup: more GoPro.

I wonder what their loss rate is. Birds and animals are often pretty good at detaching themselves from irritants; how often are pricy cameras attached to local fauna and then just shucked off into two hundred feet of water or left between the roots of a tree an hour's walk from the nearest road?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:23 PM on March 4


Someone's going to have to write a lot of personal checks to pelicans.
posted by sonascope at 2:24 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


That camera looks like it's about the size and weight of a matchbook. Negligible hassle compared to flying off with a wriggling fish in it's beak.
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:31 PM on March 4


And the occasional pigeon.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:42 PM on March 4


Ok, it's obvious in hindsight, but this video makes me go wow - birds travel fast!
They leave Cheetahs in the dust... and unlike cheetahs they sustain their speed.

I feel slow and landbound :-(
posted by anonymisc at 3:02 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Pelican flight looks like a lot of work.

It's not a random bird. He was orphaned. And didn't know how to fly.

That is what this advertisement tells us, yes. Everything on the internet is true. (The pelican, however, is tame, which at least lends credibility to the story.)
posted by five fresh fish at 3:05 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Question: does GoPro hold some sort of inviolable patent on matchbox-sized cameras? Why aren't there a million competing devices?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:06 PM on March 4


Seems a bit cruel not to give the camera an aerodynamic covering. Imagine how hard it must be to fly using just your muscles. See how streamlined that beak is. Imagine how it feels if somebody glues what is effectively a sail onto it.
posted by EnterTheStory at 3:09 PM on March 4


five fresh fish: "Question: does GoPro hold some sort of inviolable patent on matchbox-sized cameras? Why aren't there a million competing devices?"

There are a number of competitors out there, they just did it better early on. I've got a first gen that I use on my moto. Weather proofness, ease of use, battery life, image quality, and so forth were all superior at the time. They also seem to have done an excellent job getting them into commercial use. When you know what they look like you start seeing them all the time on Mythbusters, Top Gear, etc.
posted by calamari kid at 3:17 PM on March 4


That is what this advertisement tells us, yes. Everything on the internet is true.

Haha, yeah, that was kind of my point... It just didn't carry.
posted by mochapickle at 3:19 PM on March 4


Or rather, it didn't, um, fly.
posted by mochapickle at 3:24 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Obviously photoshopped. You can tell by the pelicans.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:24 PM on March 4


I haven't really thought about it with burning envy in my heart since I was a kid, but: what an awesome way to get around.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:29 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


two things: white pelicans are massive birds. it's no surprise a gopro camera looks tiny on it's beak. and OMG this is so frickin awesome.
posted by photoslob at 3:34 PM on March 4


Pelicans are, by far, my favourite bird. I'd love to see some footage when it's just surfing thermals.
posted by michswiss at 4:09 PM on March 4


Wow. Actually, you know, in the early framing I just noticed you can see the camera, and I stand corrected - that looks pretty fucking inconsequential to me.

That's just the camera mount without the gopro attached. I think they used a couple of cable ties. The camera is much bigger. See this similar mount shown in a vimeo clip.

There are inexpensive "keychain" cameras that are actually that small.
posted by jjj606 at 4:21 PM on March 4


The bird is at Greystoke Mahale in Tanzania. There are non-Go-Pro branded videos of it out there. You can read about how the bird showed up there and the staff's attempts to teach it to fly at this also-not-Go-Pro-branded blog entry.
posted by yoink at 4:53 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


> Why aren't there a million competing devices?

There are a bunch. Contour, Sony, JVC, scads of no-names. I've wasted money on many of 'em. They all suck. All of them. The GoPro is foolproof and gets amazing imagery.

In a few years the rest of the pack will be able to do it all well, including 4k. But if you want a great action cam now the GoPro is your go-to.

/not paid advert but gimme some anyway
posted by planetesimal at 6:06 PM on March 4


a) what kind of asshole puts a camera on a bird's beak?

b) wow, birds are really weird.
posted by signal at 6:24 PM on March 4


Still my favorite animal GoPro video...
posted by azpenguin at 8:11 PM on March 4


planetesimal, I'm going to have to take issue with your dissing Contour which made fantastic cameras that were pretty much foolproof.

When I found out Contour folded, I went to Amazon and bought another because I really don't like the blocky profile of GoPro cameras.

Both my Countour cameras are great.
posted by mistersquid at 9:51 PM on March 4


Why not link directly to the video?
posted by oceanjesse at 10:23 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I wish they'd turn it around so I could see some fish munching action
posted by oceanjesse at 10:28 PM on March 4


oceanjesse: "I wish they'd turn it around so I could see some fish munching action"

So I guess I'm not the only one who thought this was a bizarre POV p0rn film...
posted by chavenet at 6:11 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess now we know what it would feel like to be a pelican.

I want to be a pelican.
posted by ostro at 10:45 AM on March 5


Interesting -- when he banks (to turn), his head stays aligned with the horizon.
posted by phliar at 12:54 PM on March 5


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