The sky's no limit for the biggest picture of Westboro; Camera-equipped quadcopter chronicles town life, sites.
WESTBORO -- Tim Novak is taking a bird's-eye view of history.
Mr. Novak, the studio manager of Westboro TV, has begun chronicling life in Westboro using a remote-controlled flying device equipped with a camera called a quadcopter. It sounds like a flying blender, it looks like a square with four propellers and it is preserving present-day Westboro for generations to come.
Mr. Novak, has always been in the pursuit of a unique perspective on everyday life. In the 1990s, with the advent of the Internet, he began filming and editing films of his favorite pastime -- gravity sports, specifically street luge -- captured on point-of-view cameras mounted on his helmet or protective gear as he cruised down New England streets, lying on his back on a wheeled board.
From the wheels-on-the-ground perspective with his "Gravity Sports University'' to the eye in the sky with his new video project "Blades Over Westboro,'' Mr. Novak is working to document events and places in town with his quadcopter.
While the quadcopter may be commonly referred to as a drone, Mr. Novak bristles at that classification.
"I don't like it when people call it a drone. It insinuates that it might kill people,'' Mr. Novak said. "I just call it a quadcopter with a camera.''
Mr. Novak recently purchased the quadcopter kit, which included a GoPro camera, for about $750.
And so began his exploration of Westboro from the air. His goal is to capture life in the 100th Town with an all-encompassing view from above, and already has a growing list of future episodes of "Blades over Westboro.''
"What I would love to do is get things in town from the air that are going to be gone,'' Mr. Novak said. "There is a lot of construction that is going on that is changing the way the town looks. I look at this as historical preservation. It would be nice to capture various events to show people that this is your town and the people of this town gathering together.''
The inaugural "Blades Over Westboro'' film was of the annual block party. Mr. Novak was initially worried about people's reaction or possible unease with the hovering camera, but so far the response has been positive.
Another thing Mr. Novak has noticed in his test flights is the reaction from wildlife. Deer flee, while birds tend to be more curious about what is sharing their airspace.
"Hawks are really drawn to it, but that worries me because I don't want to taunt or hurt any animals,'' Mr. Novak said
His most recent video is a look at Westboro State Hospital from above. The town is in the process of purchasing the 90-acre former state hospital site from the state Division of Capital Asset Management, as well as determining its future use.
"The state hospital was a natural fit,'' Mr. Novak said. "To go there and see it from the air was exciting. With the town buying the Westboro State Hospital, that property has always been intriguing to me. I've always heard stories about this property and its dark past, and I just had to see more.''
From the quadcopter, trees that once decorated a courtyard can now be seen towering over the vacant buildings; as well as the condition of the buildings that might not be seen at street level, such as a section of collapsed roof.
"The state hospital is one of those places where you don't really get the enormity of it,'' Mr. Novak said. "I liken it to the opening scene of 'Star Wars' where a big ship goes by and then the second one comes along and it goes on and on and on forever.''
Now, Mr. Novak is planning the next installments of the "Blades Over Westboro'' series. One will be an extensive piece on Cedar Swamp through the different seasons, while another might be a look at the various solar panel projects in town.
"I love to see things from the air. I am just fascinated by it, by how you can take it all in,'' Mr. Novak said. "With this technology, you can tell a lot of stories at a fairly low cost.''
Contact Donna Boynton at Donna.Boynton@telegram.com or follow her on Twitter @DonnaBoyntonTG
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Jul 27, 2014|
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