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Monthly Archives: July 2010

  • When Transformers Needs CCTV Equipment, They Call The U-Spy Store

    It was Friday, July 16, 2010 at 4:45pm when we received a call at our U-Spy Store Chicago location from the production crew for the movie Transformers currently being shot in downtown Chicago. The Transformers producer knew what she wanted but didn't exactly know what it was called. She described the product as being a larger bullet or cylindrical shaped camera that can automatically pan back and forth with a controller. But she in fact already had the described camera. All she really needed was the mount that could move the camera as well as the controller.

    Quickly our team contacted several of our area vendors who are scattered all over the Chicagoland area. One by one, our vendors told us the same story. This is actually very old technology replaced by the dome shaped PTZ camera. But the producers made it clear they did not want the more modern dome shaped PTZ. They needed something that could move the large bullet camera. It's all about the visuals and in a movie, capturing the mood and atmosphere is much more important that having the latest technology.

    After about 10 calls, we finally struck gold. We found the controller and panning mechanism in one of our vendors located in the Northwest Suburban area. It was now 5:06 and we needed to get approval, payment and retrieve the equipment before the 6pm closing time. About 5:30, after a flurry of calls and emails with attachments of images showing what the mechanism looked like, we received their approval.

    Now the hard part for us arrives. We needed to get to the vendor by 6 to pick up the equipment and find a willing U-Spy Store team member to personally deliver the equipment. Gabriel was heading back to the office after a long day of service calls. I called him and he agreed to delay the start of his weekend by a couple of hours by diverting his route home and stop at the vendor. He arrived minutes before close and then called me to say he couldn't make it on time. Gabriel likes to practical joke but didn't terrorize me too long. He said he had the equipment in hand and wanted to know what to do next.

    Meanwhile, back at U-Spy headquarters, German was more than willing to drive the equipment down to the Chicago Loop area to personally deliver the goods and perhaps get that Hollywood career jump started. I made sure that German had everything they needed to make things work including power supply, wiring and connectors.

    A better than average Friday afternoon rush hour helped make things run smoothly and soon German took the hand off from Gabriel and was delivering the much anticipated equipment to the movie set. At 7:57pm I received a text message indicating Operation Transformers was completed. A little more than 3 hours after the call, our U-Spy team accomplished our mission. Damn good on a Friday afternoon!

    Did we save the movie? Probably! Would the movie have figured out a way to continue shooting and production without The U-Spy Store? Probably not! Is the movie going to get 4 stars, 2 thumbs up and favorable reviews because The U-Spy Store saved the day? Absolutely Yes! In fact I am personally endorsing this movie right now by stating this will be the Movie of the Year!. Any questions of payoffs should be discussed with our legal team as soon as the trail of our former governor is complete.

    So the moral of this is, when you need something fast and hard to find, give The U-Spy Store call. Even when shooting a B movie, The U-Spy Store will transform that script into an Academy Award winner. Or at least a movie that was saved by The U-Spy store and not in the editing room. And remember to keep an eye out for those panning cameras and remember who saved the day? The U-Spy Store!

  • Social Media Results in Thief Bust

    Jacob Stone was having some bad luck last week.  His car was burglarized outside of a Seattle-area convenience store. The items stolen included high-end camera equipment and, of all things, his pants and a belt.

    One of the store's employees recognized the man who broke into Stone's car as a man who had stolen items from the store previously during the week. Stone--obviously knowledgeable about photography and videography, retrieved copies of the store's video surveillance footage and retrieved still images from the video footage.

    Stone created "wanted" posters of the thief and the car he used to flee the scene and posted them around the neighborhood. Then, he went a step further and posted the flyers on Facebook. Anyone recognizing the now hunted man were given a dedicated Hotmail address so that they could submit tips.

    In just a few days, he received the tip that local police used to nail the suspected shoplifter-cum-burglar. Someone in the area saw the man and emailed Stone. Stone called him back and later met with the tipster to give the man a reward of $250.  Plus, he got his equipment back, although he had to remove the images that the thief had taken of random items, like scenery in Seattle, a dog, and the perpetrators messy bedroom.

    Stone is thankful that his idea for using social media paid off, and appreciates everyone who helped him during the investigation. Stone will be much more careful where he leaves his car, and it's our opinion that he should invest in some automotive security if he's going to keep expensive equipment in his car. Just saying...

    And you thought Facebook just kept tabs on your friends...

  • U.S. & Russian Spy Rings Mimic Hollywood

    If you've been reading or watching the news lately, you undoubtedly know that the United States and Russia are in the midst of a so-called spy swap.  On June 27, the FBI arrested 10 people on charges that they were deep-cover spies working for the Russian government but living for years in the United States. Their job, according to the DOJ, was to determine U.S. "secrets by making connections to think tanks and government officials." Read More

  • Don't Forget to Secure the Garage!

    Securing a home is something with which most of us are familiar, even if we don't own one. Security bars, electronic locks, home security systems, video cameras, and motion-sensor lighting are all tools that help deter crime. Too often, however, the focus is on the home's living areas, leave a "weak link" in home security that's easy to exploit. Read More

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