How to play with drones and make a living – interview with David Etienne Durivage


David Etienne Durivage, founder and owner of, is a former musician and TV producer. Enviably, he has found a way to play with remote control aircraft all day and make a living. The secret? Putting a camera on it. We asked him to share a little bit of his success story with us because – admit it – we all want to play (and earn a living at it) too!


Droneblog:    How do you make a living as a drone pilot?


David:    There are lot of applications for this type of work. My services have been retained for civil security, as well as for commercial aerial surveillance for industries such as agronomy, surveying, and mapping. But more often I work in television. For example, I do a lot of aerial photographs for advertisements for ski resorts. Also, I recently made a generic opening for Canadian and French national broadcasters.


Droneblog:    What are the advantages of drones versus traditional filming methods?


David:    In terms of price, it is somewhat comparable to cranes or helicopters, but it is really more flexible. A crane is limited and it is time consuming to install, while we can be shooting within 10 minutes. Also, with drones, you can go higher than the crane and lower than the helicopter.


Droneblog:    How did you get the idea of ​​attaching a camera to a drone?


David:    I had a flash first in 2009 when I bought an unmanned helicopter, Radio Shack style, just for fun. It was a toy for a new generation, and I immediately saw the potential. The unmanned aircraft has existed for quite awhile. Then with the miniaturization of video transmitters, cameras and batteries, it became possible to have aerial shots. All these technologies existed in the army, but it was super expensive. But on the civilian side, we have not stopped developing the technology. For example, there are now glasses, FPV, that allow me to see as if I was inside of the aircraft. This was invented by Denis Gratton from Sainte Julie.


Droneblog:    What kind of skills are necessary to be a successful drone pilot?


David:    It takes a lot of practice. It is an art, a dance. It’s necessary to be able to get the camera to move well, and to do this you have to be able to visualize its movements.


Droneblog:    Do you have a customer experience you are most proud of?


David:    Our work with FedNav. Watch the following video:



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