It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s just one local company utilizing resources to capture images in and around Sampson County that otherwise may be left unseen.
Over the last couple of years, drones have increasingly become more popular as a hobby. While drones are fun, Jason Miller and Star Communications are utilizing the growing popularity to gain a unique perspective and offer services to the citizens around Sampson County that otherwise couldn’t be offered.
Miller, who has recently earned his certification to fly the drones nationally, is a part of the marketing team at Star and works as a video production specialist. Miller uses the drone while filming shots for commercials, as well as filming local events to broadcast live for local viewers.
“The drone is being used for commercials to get shots we can’t get from the ground,” Miller explained.
Before purchasing the drone, Miller said similar shots had to be done using the company’s bucket truck, and even then, many shots were impossible.
“We could do shooting from the air, but we were limited on the types of shots we were able to get,” Miller added.
Using the bucket truck, Miller said he was able to go about 35 feet in the air to gain shots from the unique vantage point. Now, using the drone, filming can happen from as high up as 400 feet. Locally, Miller has used the drone to shot footage for commercials at Ribeyes Steakhouse and Performance Automotive.
The drone isn’t just used as an avenue for revenue. Following Hurricane Matthew, Miller said the company used the drone to fly over areas of the county that had limited to little access otherwise.
“There were areas of the county that someone couldn’t get into,” Miller said. “We were able to take the drone out and fly over some of these areas to help asses the damage caused by the flood waters.”
According to Miller, flying the drone isn’t just as simple as taking it out into an open field and having fun. There are regulations that have been set by the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration. When flying the drone, it must be in the pilot’s line of sight without using any aided vision like binoculars.
For Miller, this means he has taken the drone out about one mile away in distance.
Miller’s certification not only allows him to fly the drone, but record footage that can then be sold. Before the certification, that footage could only be used for personal use.
“I had a different drone for two or three years,” Miller said, “but, with the new regulations, by me getting certified, it allows us more options when shooting commercials.”
Those options include capturing shots that were impossible before. Miller has learned how to use the drone not only outside, but inside buildings as well. This capability allowed Miller to shoot the commercial for one local furniture store, Furniture Frontier.
“The new drone has a lot of different features that we didn’t have before,” Miller shared. “This new camera is a lot more steady and that gives us more options.”
Miller’s certification and expert flying abilities allow for more creative shots when the company is shooting at various locations.
“The drone certainly provides for a unique vantage point when broadcasting local events or showcasing business locations, products and services for those customers that utilize our local commercial ad insertion in our video offerings,” Jeff Nethercutt, assistant general manager for Star Communications, said. “Star Communications is fortunate to have qualified and talented employees such as Jason that enable us to employ this technology.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.