UAVisuals: Seeing the world through a different lens
From food delivery and crop monitoring to rescue operations and Super Bowl performances, the rise of Drones over the last five years has created a whole new industry of surveyors, photographers and explorers to capture the world. As the head of a drone-based, globe-trotting multimedia business UAVisuals, this is something Aaron Rajamoney knows all too well.
Turning a freelance hobby into a company
As a relatively new tool that's taken creative freedom to (literally) new heights, Drone's have redefined how we view the environments around us. For some, it's a neat way of getting neat panoramas, or filming surfers in their element. For more entrepreneurial spirits like Aaron, the tech presented an unmitigated business opportunity. “UAVisuals is a drone service provider, we provide cinematography and photography work for a whole lot of different industries," he says from his office in Melbourne, Australia where they run their multi-national operation for clients across construction, logistics, tourism and real-estate.
Those latter, luxury-leaning industries are where UAVisuals found their sweet spot. “It’s the only way you can showcase grand surroundings," he points out while referring to a few projects that show off brilliant (and decadent) locations in all their glory. "Earlier on this year I was in Bali shooting a resort that was on the edge of the cliff, with a 500 ft drop. The only way to show that to a prospective client is using drone footage.”
That's not to say that UAVisuals are exclusive, and they've been able to apply their technology to a wide variety of fields. He points to infrastructure as one of the strongest commercial sides of their business due to the speed of which you can apply a drone to projects. “You can literally get a drone up in minutes and (within the hour) render out a 3D model of a grain silo. Or you can see how much volume is in a stockpile, just from the data you can get from a drone flight that lasts maybe 10-15 minutes. It's absolutely insane.”
And of course, there's room for some fun along the way “The most fun I had was working for a large gaming company. They're based in Italy and they build the Moto GP games. They used drones to map every single race track turning that data into 3D graphics, textures and so on, then rendering that into the game. So when you're on the bike, racing around the track, all the little cracks in the ground, textures of the grass you see all that is real!”
Using Dropbox to manage a fast-moving business
As a growing business constantly on the run, the universal accessibility of Dropbox plays a crucial role in UAVisual's operations. “Dropbox is a lifesaver. I don't think I would be able to run the business without it due to the fact that my business is solely based on mobility."
It solves his multiplied challenge of not just a constantly-moving business, but one that moves almost exclusively between the farthest corners of the globe. "I literally grab my hard drive and my laptop, and then I'm on the plane to Bali, or Kenya, or Morocco, or wherever it is, and I can still pick up the same stuff from my home office and continue working.”
It also allows him to get feedback across time zones, and send project versions for clients to proof. “I'll upload to Dropbox, and once I hit Wi-Fi, it'll upload to my folder. So straight away I can send the client the proof of the first video draft.” And of course, files are stored safely and securely no matter what airline, timezone and destination they're uploaded in. “For the programs that I use for video and photo editing, all the backup files are kept in Dropbox folders. Nothing can be lost or stolen, it's all there. It gives me so much peace of mind. At the end of the day, with businesses like mine in the photography and video space, if that information disappears, then it's all over.”
So you think you can D=drone?
When asked about the common mistakes beginners make when they first get a drone, Aaron has a few tips to share:
Study up: “Not having full knowledge around the aircraft, or of the drone before you perform an operation (is a big problem). I see that a lot in content on Youtube and Facebook, people are just grabbing a drone, getting a shot and thinking it's amazing, but there is a bit of knowledge behind photography that you need to understand.”
Know how to construct a shot: “The pilots that really do well are the ones that invest a bit of time and and education around photography or video. You can tell the difference between an image that's been taken with beautiful framing, composition and lighting… as opposed to just another aerial shot of the sunset.”
Plan, plan, plan: The biggest constraint in drone flights is the battery life, which requires meticulous planning around in order to get the job done. “Every shot, you basically need to nail, and if not, you're waiting for about 45 minutes to an hour to charge a battery. So whenever you have a brief come through from your director of the type of shots they're after, you literally have to go "alright, to do this shot, it will take this much percentage of battery...", and you're planning and working backwards from how many batteries you have in relation to how much flight time you have.”
For more of Aaron’s work, check out his website www.uavisuals.com.