It’s good to ask “who’s hiring in the drone industry”, especially in the United States, and one that hireuavpro.com was intended to answer for a new market of drone pilots and businesses. We’d love to have input on this article for those that aren’t keeping their industry secrets to themselves, but let’s start from the top:
The obvious answer to this question is production companies. On set, the drone is becoming the swiss army knife for cameras. Jib, crane, line? A great drone like a Cinestar heavylift with a Movi M10 or M15 can now fly an Arri or RED with no need for stabilization, and take it literally anywhere a DP can fathom having a shot from.
The problem? All of these are high-end, barrier to entry sets meaning you better be bringing a super professional rig to the table. No phantoms here, though occasionally a GoPro clip makes it’s way into a high-end production.
The best part about these, though, is the fact that you’ll be smirking after “data dumping” and seeing the pay. Quality is appreciated, and you’ll only be tasked with one thing: Getting the shot.
One needn’t look any further than the nation’s vast cornfields for drones. They are a perfect fit for the cornbelt or wine country. Mostly using fixed wings, operators can set up their flight then take their equipment to the field and map all kinds of useful data that agricultural companies are paying big bucks for.
This takes a level of expertise and knowledge in several disciplines, but the actual piloting risk is quite low thanks to the fact you’ll be flying in the middle of nowhere more often than not.
Oil and Gas
Up until the recent drastic drop in oil prices, this industry appeared primed to explode in its use of drones. A drones ability to do 3D photogrammetry and make calculations about the terrain or their ability to even measure emissions or runoff using multispectral cameras make them a solid fit and one that is sure to come.
While no doubt there are many oil and gas companies testing if not using these, they’re still a ways off from being mainstream. The price of oil going up couldn’t hurt.
Though I have a background, I’m by no means an expert on where drones and GIS are at as far as the development of industry. Companies do exist, such as Elevated Robotic Service in Alberta, Canada. They’re an example of a business that delivers real, efficient data best achieved on fixed wing and quad copter drones.
The only limitations are distance and flight times. While a small site is a great fit for this technology, the maximum a Sensefly Ebee can cover in one flight is about 3-4 square miles. So, it would be great for a mining or agricultural site of this size, but if tasked to map an entire county or city you’d be in some trouble. The technology isn’t meant for that.
An industry that seems like an obvious answer is a source of drone use, but it’s a tricky one. For one, the FAA has paid special attention to large real estate companies like Coldwell Banker, issuing cease and desist letters in the past. That, and the fact that brokers are realizing that they can purchase and use the equipment themselves means the industry doesn’t seem like one primed for huge growth.
There will always be property or buildings that people will want to hire out to shoot or video, but the market is relatively unstable and compared with the other industries will never be able to pay as well. Plus, you’ll need to know how to do your own post production work.
Things such as weddings, races, and other events are perfect examples of places where a drone can add a totally new dynamic. Many wedding photographers are upping their skills by adding a drone to their arsenal. A local bike race can now be seen from the air with a small budget.
The biggest consideration here (and with the other industries) is legality (and as we all know). Flying over crowds or in areas where there can be other air traffic is dangerous and in some cases illegal. Plan ahead, let people know you’ll be shooting, put on an orange vest, and take every precaution necessary even if that means you can’t fly that day.