Changing Business Models in Midair

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 12:00 am  

Tim Trieschmann started out using remote airplanes to take still photos. But rotor technology has advanced far enough that it affords superior stability for shooting aerial video, allowing him to find work with film studios and TV stations. (Photo by Bespoke Video/A Shot Above)

Both the technology and the business of drones have evolved during the past several years.

When Tim Trieschmann of Little Rock started doing aerial photography, he could only fly winged drones; others were too difficult to fly. “When I started my business, I did what I could do, which was put a camera — a point-and-shoot — on an airplane, a remote control airplane, and just launch the airplane, and when it got up in the air, I took photos by triggering the camera,” he said.

Now, all of his drones — the most expensive of which cost around $30,000 — use multirotor assemblies to stay aloft. The development of this technology allowed Trieschmann to move into video; previously, drones had been too unstable to be reliable.

But even before that, Trieschmann started out shooting properties for real estate companies. As that industry became more and more uncertain following the recession, Trieschmann started looking to other fields. TV news is one, but the tech has also proved useful in film production.

Bespoke Productions of Little Rock, for example, films for television shows, corporations, advertising firms and others. It has worked with Trieschmann on several projects.

“The business of aerial photography and videography is a great one,” said Nate Disarro, director of development and operations for the studio. “With us as a regional production company, it works out well for both companies to partner up and offer these services — a full aerial production as well as standard production — as a one-package offering.”

Still, Trieschmann noted that the film industry in Arkansas is “very limited.”

“Frankly, this is not Los Angeles,” he said. “It’s not where films are made. … So that’s left me looking for other areas of where this technology fits in.”

His guess: Within the next half-decade that drone photography will be used in mapping and surveying and could supply 3-D models to architecture and construction companies.

“Wind turbine inspections, bridge inspections: That’s where my business is trying to go, rather than just photos and video for real estate and the film industry.”



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