A better view from above; City College student pilots passion for drone videography

Justin Allen holds his camera close on a crisp, Friday morning as he takes his love for cinematography to new heights operating a drone. | Ana Jones | Staff Reporter | anajones.express@gmail.com

Taylor Stubblefield
Guest Writer

A young sixth-grade boy found his calling when making a video for a book report. His video on the book “Hoops” by Walter Dean Myers piqued his interest in cinematography. Now 6-feet 8-inches tall, he has no plans to pursue a future in basketball, but he has gained a ginormous passion for being behind the camera.

Justin Allen, 20, has captured some of the greatest views from above, with his Phantom 3 drone, that is. He’s shot footage over the city of San Francisco, the trees of Tahoe, the waves of Bodega Bay, the city of Los Angeles and more.

To this very day, the second-year City College student continues to expand his work and knowledge of cinematography as he is making his way around the world, one adventure at a time. He’s out there to capture it all through his lens.

Allen spends a lot of time making sure that his footage and music selections match up with each other. They’re either calm and mellow with beautiful images of waves along the coast of Sonoma or the shores of Bodega Bay, or they’re upbeat and can make viewers want to jump up and explore the world with Allen and his friends.

Allen posts pieces of work for himself and others to view on YouTube and Instagram accounts. City College student and former classmate Brianna Zasa views his videos regularly.

“I get excited to watch them because they’re so good and he’s so talented,” says Zasa. “He puts in a lot of time and effort to make them perfect.”

Everyone is inspired by somebody. YouTuber and vlogger Sam Kolder is Allen’s inspiration. He looks up to Kolder’s work and uses similar tactics in his video transitions.

Then there’s the software. Learning the ways of Adobe Premier and Adobe After Effects is more complicated than it may seem. Allen is learning new transitions and effects with every new video he creates and says that a video can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to create, depending how meticulous he wants to be. Allen has a vlog where he says he likes to store his favorite memories so he can look back at them when he is older.

It takes an artistic soul to capture adventures the way Allen does. His activities include heart-stopping cliff diving, cave exploring, abandoned railroads, hidden swings and endless road trips. As he grows older, he feels that his videos will bring him satisfaction, knowing that he spent his life exploring the world around him.

So far Allen’s favorite place to capture on his Canon 80D, Go Pro Hero 4, and Phantom 3 is Bodega Bay. Thanks to his love for the ocean, he turns the sky into waves from the ocean in some of his video transitions. Other choices when deciding where to adventure are along the coast of Sonoma or San Francisco.

In the city by the bay, Allen loves the combination of the beaches, forests, and city all within a small radius. One of his videos that recaps the summer of 2017 opens with a view of the foggy, pink and yellow sunrise above the San Francisco itself.

Allen wants to travel the world, but the Maldives of the Philippines pique his interest the most with its unbelievably clear water. The clear water is the main reason for Allen wanting to go. The ocean makes him feel at home.

His close friend and film studies major Christina Luu has gone on more adventures with Allen than she can remember. Over the summer, Luu and Allen went to Los Angeles, San Diego, Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Joshua Tree National Park. Luu and Allen make a perfect team, as Luu is interested in film studies and Allen focuses more on film production.

“We’re both really spontaneous,” says Luu. “We like to go out and explore. We’re both really into nature.”

Cinematography has become a serious hobby of Allen’s, but he wants to make it more than that.

“Photography and cinematography have slowly become my passion,” says Allen. “I haven’t accomplished much through it yet, but I hope to make this into my career. I take a lot of pride in this.”

Justin Allen’s drone videos can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC8UZAGyIHmW5CwHRL0Rvjg