The drone industry continues to grow rapidly and more companies every day obtain their part 333 exemptions. The question I am asked almost as much as how far will that go and how high will that fly is, how can I do what you are doing? The short answer is simple, invest! Time, money, time, money and some more time and you too could be where I’m at, well in time anyway. The longer answer is, do you really even want to attempt aerial cinematography at this point? The answer may surprise you.
The truth is, at this point the market is flooded with aerial cinematographers both real and those who have bought a Phantom and started a production company. The problem is, the people hiring have to somehow discern between the two. The first thing the person hiring you is likely to check is your work, what have you done. The people working and getting jobs, real shoots in the industry have a very well established and varied body of work. Anymore if you don’t have that, you will be hard pressed to find work. Even if you do have a great portfolio if you have not yet established some solid connections getting work may be tough.
So, sounds like bad news right? No way! It is great news in some ways. This just means that only the best most dedicated pilots will make their way into the aerial cinematography world. If you’re dedicated to the art, making connections and buying the equipment to get you the shot you need, you can still make it. However the money grab is over and to make it in this facet of the industry it takes more than putting a phantom with a GoPro up and taking some video while flying forward. You have to be a skilled pilot, ready to chase cars at 60 mph with a $30,000 drone and a camera that might cost as much or more than that. What I’m trying to say is the industry is still growing, rapidly but so many people have tried to cash in that your prospective clients really have the pick of the litter, so you have to stand out! So, what else can you do to make it big in the drone world? Tons of things!
The real money in the drone industry lies in the applications, drones are flying computers and programs, good programs need to be written, tested and applied. If you really want to cash in become a programmer. Whether you make applications to help pilots get amazing shots or help in analyzing data, there is plenty of work and money to be had in that field. Of course there is also plenty of jobs in the aerial videography field that are less demanding equipment and experience wise, such as shooting real estate, weddings and other events.
If you have done any research at all you know the applications are limitless and so are the varied fields of work within the industry. If you can dream it, you can do it. Just engage yourself fully, listen to all the advice you are given, do your best and most importantly, enjoy what you do! I personally have a very diverse skill set as I did not want all my eggs in one basket. I build custom platforms, repair, instruct, consult and contract as well as doing my favorite job, flying. Whatever the type of flying, it is my favorite! From cinematography to aerial inspections, I love what I do and I try to share it with anyone willing to listen. I hope you find your spot in the industry and if you ever have a question, you can always reach out to me and I will help in any way I can!
Cover image Courtesy of Rogue Aerial Productions