How to Get Into the Drone Film Industry…Featuring Lauren Guarneri
Please welcome film, director and canadian drone operator. Lauren quinnery hi lauren. How are you im good? How are you terrific so tell me what what are you up to these days? Well, theres a lot going on just this week. I got two tv shows: a commercial and im also doing my own little promo for a little bar down the road. Oh wow, its all drone yeah, all drone all drone every day, yeah yeah its been exclusively drawn in my life for the past six months. So thats, fantastic and and theyre all like commercial endeavors and yeah yeah. So basically i do this as like my job, so it started off as like a side, hustle type thing and its turned into something more full time now that its getting busier so fantastic yeah and you were saying that there was youre in a really actually a Major production right now yeah, so basically i work with a company called hexwing and they do all the major productions that come to montreal. So right now were working on a british tv show. We have a canadian tv show as well and theres always like little commercials. Little commercials commercials here and there um and then i kind of do my own stuff on the side as well with my little mavic, will you fly a mavic 2? Do you? Yes, yes, thats. Why im at it too awesome yeah, yeah and is that? Is that what you started with, or did you have something before that or like how did how did you get into a mavic 2? No, so basically, i started with a secondhand phantom four, because i wanted to travel with drones.
I already was working in the film industry as a director um, trying to make my way that way, and i love traveling too and tech. So i kind of already had my eye on drones and i was like when i buy one for my trip to iceland. This was way back when and i bought a phantom 4 and i got into it that way, um and it was just a hobby, and then i met the right people over the years, and i took it more seriously got my license, and now here i am Today, oh thats, fantastic, thats, thats, really amazing ive, never talked to anyone whos listed on imdb, so oh yeah thats, pretty exciting. For me too thats that is amazing, thats really cool! So yeah go ahead. Sorry no worries so you started with or you have a mavic 2 and what do you with these productions? Are you using the mavic 2 in these? The the tv show that youre youre filming right now so for the bigger productions um its i work with hexwing and they work with um all kinds of drones. But most of these tv shows that were working on work with the inspire too okay um and basically my role has been im being trained to be um, basically the camera operator. So what we call framer, so the inspire 2 is kind of like dual operators. So you have the pilot, then you have the person controlling the camera, so thats, what im kind of learning, how to do and actually doing on some of the of the productions, so its been really fun to be able to learn from them and be part of These productions and work on them and frame some of the shots.
So oh thats, amazing yeah, yeah its going to be really cool. When i see like my shot on the big screen for like a real tv show, that has yet to happen because its still kind of new yeah yeah theyre not out yet thats thats awesome. But you do your own productions as well, so youre working with a crew in that, but you have your own productions: um yourself, where youre flying the mavic 2 and yeah yeah. So basically, when i got my mavic 2, i and i got my license. I decided to kind of start my own company um, and i basically i freelance, through this company um and i do my own stuff, so its a lot smaller, usually like web commercials um for you know like im doing one for a bar this week. I had done one for them previously um. I do a lot of music videos um and just like little ads a lot of construction projects as well, so thats what ill do with my mavic yeah any particular moves, or you know maneuvers or scenes that you like, particularly doing so. It depends when im shooting, but i like, i like shooting, like lets, say im shooting out in montreal, and i have like a point of interest. Like a landmark lets, say i like to put in as much different motion as i possibly can kind of have like three axes in motion um, so ill do like an orbit while craning down and tilting up at the same time, those kind of shots are fun For me, because its the most involved – i guess for for me to try – and i find they look the most interesting yeah, but i do find that clients really like a simple top down as well, so just a static top down shot.
They like that as well. Well, its a perspective that you know us land dwellers dont see very often so yeah yeah exactly, but i have a saying like whenever i work on a on a shoot. Its like everybody loves the top down like because they always they always ask for one. I love it. Yeah yeah its. It comes up a lot and its its cool, very cool, very cool. What about settings like? Do you use like nd filters and all that sort of stuff? You must yeah so for any sort of commercial gig that i do. I have to have like, like i have to have full control of basically my exposure. So in order to do that ill need nd filters. I use the polar pro nd filters. Okay and basically it depends obviously on your lighting, so lets say: im shooting on a very bright day in the middle of winter, ill go for an nd64 just so i can keep you know my my aperture between 2.8 and 4 and also have my shutter speed At you know what it should be if im shooting 23.976 ill, have it at 1 over 50.. So what ill change the most is the filter instead of like the settings within the camera, because id like to keep it at the ideal, most cinematic but yeah, it all depends on your environment, the lighting, everything very cool, very cool. I always have troubles with all these camera settings so its its amazing.
When someone just spits out the 23.9, i could have also just said 24 frames per second, i like to sound like i know what im doing there. You go always a good thing, excellent, so um when youre doing these sorts of shots theres bound to be other people around um. Do you do anything like do you have to do anything to get their permission to be in your your movies or so usually yeah? If im doing like uh like something for a client um, usually its like on their property and whoevers around, is involved in in the shoe. So i know i dont usually have to worry about, like im, never filming over a crowd or that often over people, because a lot of what im filming is like establishings for things. So its a lot of landscape shots where ill make sure that im flying in a safe area, not over people um very few times, do i have to fly over like strangers and, if so like ill make sure to keep a safe distance, um and obviously for Privacy reasons not have their face visible in the shot, sure um, so yeah thats. What i awesome yeah and you must shoot in places where you need to check the airspace. Do you yeah yeah yeah, exactly so whenever i shoot around montreal um lately, a lot of the stuff that ive been shooting around montreal is more for my own fun, but i still get permission from nav, so ill choose a spot ill.
Do all the operational. Do a flight plan ill, do everything and then ill make sure i go at a time where i know its not busy. So my favorite time to shoot is sunrise um, so i tend to go yeah exactly. I tend to go there because number one its the best lighting and number two theres, no one around so youre, not bothering anybody, because thats. What i find is kind of a little annoying about shooting in the city is that you can bother other people youre youre. Just so close to everyone else, most people are super nice about it, but you do get the occasional like doing like get out of here to kind of think every once in a while theres someone thats yeah, and if, if i have a shoot on uh like Lets say the one at the bar coming up: um ill, always get an app permission and then ill get permission from the property owner to take off and land on their location, and i always have insurance and everything so. Okay, yeah very good yeah, because some places require you to have like insurance up to like one million or 1.2 or even two. It depends what client youre shooting for, but okay, yeah yeah, excellent and im obligated to ask if you use drone pilot canada. Of course, of course, i use it all the time because its just an easy, like one, stop shop to know. Okay, if im filming here, wheres the nearest like airport heliport and like how can i contact them? What are the no towns, instead of going like on google, be like skyvector putting in the code and like trying to find the no times that way, and i could do do my flight plan there as well, so its definitely a very good tool.
Glad that you brought it up and im, not the only one who uses it in the industry, so oh awesome, thats, my co worker uses it as well. Yeah, oh, is that right, awesome, yeah, very good. So, with all your experience doing all these different types of gigs, as you call them um there, there must be thousands of drone pilots watching this who think? Oh man, if i could do that, would be awesome. Any suggestions for people who want to get into the film industry yeah, i would say what i would advise, is probably the most valuable thing is to find a mentor. I feel like, even even if you dont know anyone in the drone industry, google search, you know the city youre in what type of contracts you want to do and see whos doing it currently and then email them, because youll find that most people actually are more Willing to help out than you realize and yeah, you shouldnt be afraid to ask for help, because i dont think anyone got anywhere ever on their own or at least not efficiently right. So this is like the quickest way and also just having the right connections in the industry will get you so much further. So much faster and youll learn so many cool things so yeah and also shooting as much as you can and sharing it, because if people cant see your stuff, they dont know what youre capable of right, so our portfolio, basically to say yeah.
This is the kind of stuff i can. I can film yeah exactly and like social media is your friend when it comes to drawing content. Its amazing just got ta, put it up there and have people see it yeah. That is cool. So tell me: what what does the future hold for? Lauren? Well, hopefully, ill be working with drones for the rest of my life, but in terms of the types of films and content that i want to be making. I love working on movies and i hope to continue to do that, but id love to also try more documentary style filmmaking with drones and also some groundwork and some underwater stuff they can get into that um yeah. So id love to work on, like conservation, stuff, environmental stuff, anything to do with nature, because i just find it the world is absolutely beautiful and from a drones perspective, its even better. So it is indeed we love to do that. Yeah, oh thats, fantastic, thats, thats, terrific. I really look forward to seeing your work and thank you so much for spending this time with me tonight. I really appreciate it. Good luck with all of your future endeavors, lauren and uh hope to talk to you again soon. Thank you so much. It was great talking to you.