Last Christmas, a really cool project collaboration came my way. I was asked to record Santa landing on Terminal Tower under the direction of The James Douglas Studio. That’s when I met Tom Wasinski of Aerial Agents, who was also collaborating. He created the point-of-view aerial footage of santa’s sleigh coming toward the tower. It was such a fun project to be involved in. Check it out!
Since that time, I’ve teamed up with Tom for various projects. He is great to work with, so I asked him to discuss his work.
Hollie: Can you describe the first time we met working on the Santa video. It was so neat to combine our talents that first time!
Tom: Such a cool project to be involved in! I really wasn’t sure what to expect when James and Julia extended the invite. The concept of the video is really fascinating. It had a certain hometown neighborhood Cleveland feel to it. Due in part to our ability to coordinate the lights on the Terminal Tower during the shoot. Turning them on and off as needed. lol. The Terminal Tower was our subject that day which seemed to hold a special type of Christmas magic! The twitter account for Terminal Tower tweeted something like, “I love when the neighborhood kids bring their toys over to play”. Haha! I felt like a big kid that day.
Hollie: Yes, me too! Your work is beautiful and captivating. What inspired you to go into aerial videography and photography?
Tom: The inspiration came from the aerial photography genre itself. It seemed like there wasn’t much creativity in that space, that genre of photography. I started using a camcorder at a young age and using the original iMovie on the iMac to edit digital film. As I grew older I picked up a stronger passion for trying to make the most captivating videos I could. I started doing research on ways to get a camera into the sky in 2011.
Hollie: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Tom: Definitely the flying and the filming! Exceeding clients expectations. We love reading the intial reactions from all of clients and still sitting at 100% customer satisfaction. It’s so great that we get full access to so many unique places (even some top secret locations).
Hollie: I’ve watched you controlling your drones when we work together, and noticed that it takes a lot of coordination. Can you tell us about the skills you have to use to fly the drones?
Tom: It’s all in the thumbs. The craft itself requires great hand eye coordination. Reason being, I change what I am looking at very often during a flight. Some flight maneuvers require a lot of patience. What I mean by that is, keeping a cool head when your heart is pounding out of your chest. Most of the time we have $10,000+ in equipment hanging out over the middle of the Ohio River or even Lake Erie. Wanna talk about knots and butterflies… Just knowing that one bad move could result in potentially losing your equipment.
Hollie: What’s the craziest request for drone footage you’ve ever gotten?
Tom: I have to say, the Santa Clause/Terminal Tower was pretty crazy. Leave it to The James Douglas Studio, there is always really creative concepts coming out of that studio. Outside of that, I can recall a request that we got early on. It involves an alleged theft of a certain piece of machinery. An individual asked me to fly over the suspects yard to see if I could find it. I declined. That isn’t the type of work that we want to be known for. I encouraged them to let the police handle it. Or check google Earth.
Hollie: Oh yeah, that's definitely crazy. Thanks for sharing Tom!
Well, that is part one of our "We Ask an Aerial Agent" blog. Click on part 2 for Tom's insight on when to use drone photography and the future of the industry. SPOILER: It's growing!
If your business needs photos or video from a bird’s eye perspective, go to www.aerialagents.com and check out the great work his team produces.