Welcome to DRONEGEAR Productions
Updated: Feb 6, 2019
A Letter from the Founder:
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alex Kavanagh, the Founder and Creative Director here at DRONEGEAR.
I started DRONEGEAR as a place for drone pilots to connect on social media, for them to share content and support fellow drone pilots from around the world, via our Instagram and Facebook accounts in hopes to inspire each other and talk about the gear we use.
I also began to review products and offer tutorials relative to the drone/film industry on YouTube, working really hard to collaborate with other people in the industry to bring in more opinions and experience to these reviews. Our emphasis in the reviews was to use the product in real life situations while filming talent and scenarios that fellow drone pilots could relate to.
Since embarking on this journey into the industry back in 2013, I’ve been thankful to have worked with various drone production companies based across the United States, predominately in Los Angeles. After a few jobs with varying companies, I started to see a trend: many simply don’t do a great job of looking after their contractors, and thus, receive a bad reputation within the drone & film industry for various reasons. Having amassed over 220,000 followers collectively on social media, I hear everything that’s going on in the industry (good and bad!) and have concluded that companies that have a high turn over of contractors is not a good thing.
In saying all this, I’ve worked for some amazing drone companies and we continue to help each other out when we’re double booked. I admire and respect the people who make up those companies and treat them with the respect they deserve.
DRONEGEAR PRODUCTIONS started around last April when I was leaving the NAB conference in Las Vegas, after speaking for the TIFFEN COMPANY on their main stage. I got a call from a guy named Matt Feige, whom I’d worked with in the past through another drone production company (one that you might have heard of). Matt told me that he’d moved on from that company and would love to partner up and start DRONEGEAR PRODUCTIONS with me as a partner. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Matt has worked as an executive producer for many years in the drone industry and his previous experience in the advertising industry is priceless for our client relations and growing business. I'm sure you'll hear more from him as we continue to make big strides in the industry.
We’re excited to be working with the best drone pilots in the world, thanks to our large global social network and core business team based here in Los Angeles. We’re ready to help with your next feature film, commercial, documentary, live TV, or streaming series production wherever that may be. Matt or myself will be here to guide you through the process to make the production seamless.
Start to 2019:
The start to 2019 was our busiest to date as we’ve added to our arsenal a new, heavy-lift cinema drone custom-built by Johnny Beavers and his company Mid Atlantic Multi-Rotor. We’ve been craving a drone that can lift the DJI Ronin 2 and heavier cinema camera lens packages for a long time now, and we have yet to see a dedicated company selling this off-the-shelf, ready-to-fly system…so we took matters into our own hands.
We did this custom build in partnership with one of our sponsors, XOAR Propellor, who has developed a new, highly efficient brushless motor: Enter the Titan Air and ESC (electronic speed controller) that we’re so excited about. The beauty of this X8 design by Johnny with the reliable DJI A3 Pro flight controller is that it has motor redundancy - so if for some odd reason a motor fails, we can still land safely.
We’re excited about this X8 and are currently running it through vigorous tests before we bring this to closed motion picture sets and commercial work. We’ll have a second one coming after the tests are complete alongside our safe work flight manuals and flight logs in place.
It was a pleasure to showcase this X8 drone at CES in January for the Tiffen Company, where they graciously let me speak each day at the World’s Largest Consumer Conference as a Tiffen Flight Team Ambassador.
Each day, I presented my keynote presentation on light filtration from the Tiffen line of glass filters for each drone, ranging from the DJI Mavic Air to the DJI Mavic Pro 2 and DJI Inspire 2. To emphasize the brilliance of the new filters, I showcased various work from all of my 2018 productions. The new Tiffen Natural ND filter line for the Inspire 2 series is no doubt the highest quality drone filter we’ve ever used and are excited that we have the same Natural ND glass filters for our own RED Gemini camera package. They make it easy for seamless post-production work flow and continuity in our shots with minimal shift in color and zero after color grading.
One of the highlights of this presentation was working with Academy Award winner Wally Pfister on a 5-day shoot in the Mojave desert for multiple Ford commercials.
When I was talking to Wally on what filter he’d prefer for certain times of day, I referred back to the Tiffen brand, talking in the traditional form of measurements for stops of light. This gave him the peace of mind that I was well versed in my craft, and being able to have the shutter speed set to his discretion which made our shots perfectly exposed for the time of day and lighting.
After speaking at CES, I was invited by Andrew Tiffen and Michael Cassara to attend an invites only luncheon at the Tiffen Burbank HQ . It was a pleasure to meet directors, cinematographers, camera operators, and aspiring filmmakers while listening to Tiffen president, Steven Tiffen, speak about his experience in the industry. It was really inspiring to hear where the company started and where they are now. What a success story! I want to thank Steven and the Tiffen family for the luncheon as well as everything they do for us at DRONEGEAR.
The luncheon was a great place to casually introduce myself and get to know some very talented people that make up the film industry. Other highlights included connecting with Steven Poster, President of the ICG Local 600 and a couple of board members. We’re excited to announce that we will be joining the union this year!
SUNDANCE & What's to Come for DRONEGEAR
I was very fortunate to be able to attend Sundance Film Festival in beautiful Park City during the start of this year as I was filming for my girlfriend Lesley Murphy for her client CHASE.
The best word to describe the vibe of the film festival is electric. If you’re into films and creating content in one way or another, then you’re bound to find a common bond at Sundance. Interacting and networking with people I admire, from producers and directors regarding aerial cinematography to actors in beautiful films - I was absolutely in my element.
After filming Lesley for four days and turning over some videos for her client, it was back to LA and into meetings to get things rolling on the home front.
Last but not least, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the DRONEGEAR PODCAST this month here in LA. We’ll be having a mix of people from the drone/film industry, guests from companies we’re sponsored by and companies we believe are on the forefront of drone technology and drone education, so be sure to stay tuned for that and more written blog posts from all of the DRONEGEAR team who will each bring something valuable to these blog posts.
I’m extremely pumped for 2019! Thanks for reading and see y’all out there.
DRONEGEAR Founder & Creative Director