Four Faves 2023

UPAA Blog 2023-24 #9 12/28/23


"Four Faves" is an occasional series of four mini-reviews of products and services UPAA members enjoyed and/or found useful in the preceding year. (See the last one here) Have some extra budget money to spend? Or some personal cash you're willing to invest in making your work life a little more convenient? Maybe one of these will be just the thing...


(Photo by Jon Hendricks) “Great thing for on the road editing and folds up flat to fit with laptop."

14” Dell USB-C monitor

Jon Hendricks, Notre Dame


Approx. $279, Available at the expected online retailers, B&H link here


Pros: Only needs USB-C, no plugs, batteries


Cons: “Not sure on color accuracy.”


A screenshot of the online training. "“Keeps a visual person engaged."

Drone pilot ground school by UAV Coach

Michael Caterina, IU South Bend


Ranges from $300-$525 depending on how much live help you want. We spent $200 with the discount. Link here.

I really enjoyed the experience of the self guided study for the part 107 with Drone Pilot Ground School. There are video modules for many of the sections which keeps a visual person like me engaged more than just reading the material. It’s also easy to go back and rewatch and take extra notes on different sections. 


The course tracks your progress and has little tests, which I think are actual past 107 exam questions, after each main section. 


I spent about 2-3 weeks off-and-on studying, took 3 practice tests and passed the Part 107 test the first time! 


IUSB was also able to qualify for a nonprofit discount ($100) and get tax exempt very easily. Great customer service in that aspect. They keep up with you via email with drone related updates and whatnot, if you choose to get them. 


They also have a 30-day, pass the test guarantee but if you pay attention and pass all the practice exams, I don’t think you will need it! 


We've all been there: A major announcement... a deadline... and a provided photo that's woefully small. On the left: The 311-pixel wide original. On the right: 4x bigger after Topaz.

Topaz resize

Shelley Valdez, W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University


$150-$250, often on sale, link here.

So often people provide low resolution photos. I run them through Topaz and it most often comes out great. I would say 85% of the photos I’ve run through it were drastically improved.


(photo by Matt Cashore) It even swivels & zooms...for under a hundred bucks!

Godox TT350

Matt Cashore, Notre Dame


Pros: It’s tiny. It’s TTL. It’s under $100. There’s a version compatible with every major camera brand.  Works with entire Godox system of remotes. 


Cons: Small size isn’t going to light up a lot, so calibrate expectations accordingly. 


Link here


With the high ISO capabilities of today’s cameras, on-camera flash (OCF) isn’t as much of a  day-to-day need as it used to be. This flash won’t take a lot of space to be handy for those rare times when OCF might make the difference between something awful and something acceptable.


There’s a V350 with a rechargeable battery but it’s twice as much and adds the extra logistics of chargers. Nah. I’ll stick with good ol’ AAs, thanks!


"I promise not to publish any more bad jokes for the rest of the year!" Thanks for reading the UPAA Blog. You know what goes great with a new year? Some new ideas for blog articles. So send 'em to editor Matt Cashore, And this year, as every year, follow UPAA on Instagram!