Skip Fredricks is an Emmy-winning aerial cinematographer who has pioneered the use of drones in sports, dramas and other shows. He is an FAA drone flight instructor at the Unmanned Vehicle University, creator of Drone TV – the world’s first 24/7 all-drone television channel, and he has consulted on drone use for all the major Hollywood studios and networks. Skip has spoken at InterDrone, Drone Dealer Expo and at UCLA’s FIlm School, and his work has been featured in Drone 360, Sports Illustrated, Variety and BBC Worldwide. In this episode of the Drone Radio Show, Skip talk about drones in TV and Film and offer insights on breaking into the industry.
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In This Episode
- Introduction. Skip Fredricks is an Emmy-winning aerial cinematographer, an FAA drone flight instructor, creator of Drone TV, and has consulted on drone use for all the major Hollywood studios and networks. He got his start with Fox Sports Net and extreme sports. In 2014, he attended a drone trade show where he learned about technology, and shortly picked up his first drone. His first flights were challenging. He didn’t have any radio controlled experience and the drones were early generation technology. But he kept flying, upgrading the technology and perfecting his flying skills.
- DroneTV. In 2015, Skip created a channel on ROKU on drone racing. That channel has now evolved to include two other drone related shows produced by Skip, as well as content produced by other individuals. Skip talks about the channel, how it evolved and the need to create several revenue streams have a consistent business income. On DroneTV, Skip currently produces three shows. These include the “Eco-Drone Warriors”, the “Drone Assassins” and drone racing series. A description of the shows are found under the bullet, “Drone TV Show Descriptions”.
- From Shoulder To Drone. Skip talks about how he has nearly fully transitioned away from traditional cinematography and production to totally drone focused work. As he explains it, he’s shot just about everything he can with a shoulder mounted camera, but nothing really gets him excited to come to a set early in the morning than being able to fly a drone and take a great shot
- Drone Flying. Skip talks about the transition from shooting with a camera on his shoulder to using a drone. He started flying in 2014, self-taught himself by practicing every week for at least one hour to master flying. Using a shoulder mounted camera, Skip had developed several signature camera shots. He talks about how he developed a signature drone shot as part of his repertoire.
- Unmanned Vehicle University. Skip conducts a drone cinematography class at the Unmanned Vehicle University. He talks about the origin of the class, what student learn and how they’ll be prepared to work on a TV & film set, challenges of learning the craft and the vocabulary found on production sets.
- Impact of Drones on the TV & Film Industry. For Skip, the greatest impact of drones in the industry has been the huge surge in television shows using content from drones. Drones are becoming common place in the industry, just one more tool for cinematographers to use to tell a story. On the other hand, as competition rises, price for drone jobs has fallen. Skip advises drone operators to do something that no one else is doing as a way to stay creative and in demand.
- Interdrone 2017. Skip will be hosting a session at Interdrone called, “ Drones over Hollywood: How to get in on the Action.” The session will be geared to those that want to break into Hollywood as a drone cinematographer and take their drone flying to the next level. Skip conducted a similar session in Seattle in June, which was very well received.
- Drones Over Hollywood: How to Get in on the Action (Interdrone 2017) – The use of UAVs in the entertainment industry has reached a tipping point: drones are involved in almost every TV and film production, and content creators are increasing demand for their use in organic, story-driven ways. In this presentation, for both intermediate and expert users, you’ll see how advancements in tech, policy and content are accelerating the quality of, and demands on, drone use in Hollywood. Learn how UAV use fits in the production ecosystem, and how to make sure both your engineering and creative talents shine. This class will also guide you into breaking in at several different levels, talk about creating your own successful business, and cover how to open up multiple revenue streams. Not in the entertainment industry? You’ll also learn which film and TV tricks can help improve your services in aerial photography for other fields such as security and agriculture.
- DroneTV Show Descriptions. Skips runs through his drone shows on Roku providing some background on the stories behind them.
- Eco-Drone Warriors. Eco-Drone Warriors is an environmental project featuring 4K drone cinematography to reach areas most of us can’t, revealing towns, lakes, and rivers that were destroyed before there was an EPA, or when existing regulations were not enforced.
- Drone Assassins. In the very near future, 3 enhanced fighters in addition to their hand to hand combat skills, will use drones and drone technology to track targets and terminate those who abuse power and the people they serve. The series is a cross between Mad Max, the Bad Lands and Blade Runner.
- No Fly Zone. Before drone racing became mainstream, drone pilots would gather in parking garages, wooded lots, construction sites, and other odd places to race one another and to perfect their skills. The No Fly Zone is a documentary featuring drone pilots that still race in these unique places. The show will showcase the pilots, where they come from, their lifestyle and their story.
- Closing. Skip observes that flying drones is a lot of fun and can lead to a good income. He encourages operators to first and foremost, enjoy the experience. Don’t take it too seriously but when you do, you can make a few dollars at it.
- Hollywood Drones (www.Hollywood-drones.net)
- DroneTV (www.dronenetworksgroup.com)
- Interdrone 2017 (www.interdrone.com)