Ideas often arrive in unexpected ways. When Niels got his first drone and was flying it outside his house, his neighbor jokingly asked him if he was planning on starting his own company. Six years ago, drones were not something you would commonly. Because Niels previously already had run another company, his neighbour was genuinely curious if this was another company Niels is launching.
This got Niels thinking. And it is actually how the idea of Dronevlieger began and Niels created a website. He just thought “why not, let’s see where we can go with it”.
In this blogpost you will find out more about the exciting world of being a professional drone pilot!
Niels Voorn, a 28-year-old guy from the Netherlands, with a background in IT business management and marketing. Six years ago Niels started his business Dronevlieger. Now, he is not only flying drones but also working in collaboration with the Dutch police to help them utilizing drones better within the police departments.
“Drone flying was just something that was my hobby and was never really expected to become anything big. Yet it did.”
From GoPro to drone
For Niels the interest in drones began after one of his skiing trips. When you ski and film yourself going downhill with a GoPro, the curves and slopes of the mountain are difficult to capture on camera and come across as flat surfaces. He began looking into other options and that is how he found out about drones.
A technical drone enthousiast
Niels has always been interested in both the artistic and technical side of drone flying. He mentions though that he is mostly specialized in flying and getting the drone in the correct position. “I like the artistic side but then realized I am more into the technical stuff and how to get the best shots and angles”.
“I liked the artistic side, but I am more into the technical stuff”
Normally, if the budget allows, nowadays there is a separate cameraman that uses another drone controller to control the actual drone camera. Niels is then instructed on how the drone should be positioned to get the desired shot. “At the beginning of Dronevlieger, I was often doing both – the technical and cinematographic side of drone flying because it was really the only option. Now this has changed”.
Flying drones in Kazakhstan
We asked Niels what has been the most challenging project he has worked on ever since he began Dronevlieger. Approximately a year and a half ago, Niels did a project in Kazakhstan. The project was for a greenhouse enterprise. The plan was to fly the drone from outside, where it was -30 degrees Celcius into the greenhouses (+26 degrees Celcius) to really capture the contrasting environments.
Niels admits that this is definitely an experience at the top of the list of the most challenging ones. Not only was it really important for Niels to have a good camera that practically can shoot underwater due to the huge difference in humidity inside and outside the greenhouses. Niels says that this was one of the first times he rented gear himself on Gearbooker: “I got a lot of help and advice on what camera best to use from the Gearbooker community”.
“ Within Gearbooker, you can support fellow creatives. I also got a lot of help and advice from the Gearbooker community.”
Having the right camera was not the only worry. Niels was also worried about ‘icing’. “If the propellers of the drone would gather too much ice on them, there was a chance that the drone could crash into the glass greenhouses. If this happened, then all the warm air would evaporate in a matter of seconds. Luckily all went smooth…”.
The promising future of drones
Niels mentions that the drone business lacks real innovation at the moment. Getting high quality and very stable drone footage is now really easy. Of course, it is beautiful, it works very well and a lot of people are able to use drones because of the accessibility of today’s drones. Slowly you see a transition into other niches such as drone racing that is combined with filming with FPV (First Person View) drones.
For example, Niels mentions “Top Gear”, a show that is beginning to use the FPV racing drones to film their footage. This allows for a new way of showing speed and showing other crazy and dynamic shots that would not be able with standard drones.
“I’d like to see how FVP drone racing will change the cinematographic aspects. Also, it will be interesting to see what the big companies like DJI and Yuneec are going to produce as simple ready-to-fly kits”. For example, the good old DJI Phantom drastically changed the whole drone scene. With just a “power on” button, it was basically able to fly. Niels explains: “If a company such as DJI or Yuneec make a really easy-to-fly FVP drone with a good camera, that will be the next big change or evolution within the field”.
The power of Gearbooker: its network
Niels says that the most valuable thing Gearbooker brings is the network of creative people. In his words: “The better your network, the better content you will be able to create”. Not only are you able to network with people you would have otherwise never met, but you are also able to support your fellow creatives.
As an example, Niels brings up his project in Kazachstan and how his experiences were when renting equipment on Gearbooker. “Without the help of the Gearbooker community it would have been more difficult to find a camera for shooting in such extreme conditions. Through my rental experience on Gearbooker, I met a really knowledgeable owner who could help me with the sound of the video and so on. I think the network of people that you can create by using Gearbooker is the best thing about the platform!”.
“For me, the network of people you create by using Gearbooker is definitely the best thing about the platform!”