Touring Drone Dudes' Insane Drone Filmmaking Hangar
Obviously, i need to learn a whole lot of different equipment and it’s the stuff that they want to be using, but we’re going to get a tour of the shop and it’s freaking amazing like we just started walking around we’re told stop don’t tell me anymore. We need to do this on camera, otherwise, like it’s, it’s, freaking, sick, so let’s go inside, take a peek at all the cool stuff that we’ve got and oh my gosh, and to give us the tour today. We’Ve got jake from drone dudes we’re super excited to be here: how’s it going what’s uh what’s your own dudes. What do you guys do? We’Re an aerial cinematography production company we’ve been in la here since 2010, which is a really long time. If you know anything about drones, yeah handle all kinds of aircraft, big and small feature films. Tv shows commercials, music, videos, uh, you name it. We can fly it. Seeing us go from a small company in a garage about the size of our front office to what you’re about to see now so nice. Well, let’s see it. What do we got in here? This? Is it holy crap? This is our hangar we’re here at the van nuys airport of all places in the prop park, because we have more propellers than just about anybody else here, that’s what we told the airport manager and they laughed so they let us in. I see there’s an alta x, that’s already taken off.
Don’T worry it’ll, come to you, oh snap. It is definitely without a doubt. The best heavy lift cinema drone we’ve ever worked with a lot of people had a lot of questions about it being a quad. In terms of its redundancy and reliability – but i know i do in our experience – um it’s been terrific, always for us it’s the versatility. It allows us to do whatever task. We need to do whether it’s flying a big cinema, camera package or flying a big giant light to light a scene whether we have to turn it into a delivery. Drone we’ve done all kinds of different things with it and whatever task we’ve thrown at it, it’s managed to pull it off with no issues ever right now, it’s all cleaned off, but normally when we’re prepping a shoot. These tables get littered with all the gear and equipment that is being you know, meticulously, checked and prepared made ready for whatever production we’re going on and it’s nice to be able to work on the drone at eye level um without having it take up any space. On the table right and being able to lift it up and get it away whenever you need to – and you know, it’s really easy to just pop it off right here and then you can also bring in the gimbal get it exactly. So you guys do a ton of different kinds of r d stuff to like make.
You know the drones work. You’Ve got the truck that’s, like you know, freaking bolted together, like it’s, awesome, sure what’s what’s going on this morning. This is all yeah. Well, anybody who knows anything about drones knows that you’re constantly doing customization and creating your own parts and things that work with you know whatever system you’re using um so over here we have a whole bunch of 3d printers. I call this the printer farm, but it’s really the rnt corner tyler here who works with us as an operator. He also runs his own 3d printing company making pieces for assistant camera camera carts and he helps us with all kinds of 3d printing needs. This is actually a mount if you recognize that anybody who’s seen dji goggles knows that those will fit right on the front of that and we’ll just strap it to the back, and we have a baby pin mount. So you can put that right on a stand and no longer have to kind of jerry rig your goggle mount moving on this way, we have all of our different kinds of tools, all different kinds of workbenches, with whatever full size tool, kit, we’re all about organization. Here i think the organization on set is really one of the most major keys to success. It really becomes something that, when you’re unorganized people notice and it’s very easy to spot, when somebody doesn’t have cables ready or their cart is a mess or their truck is a mess.
People pick up on these kinds of things and we put a lot of effort into making sure that when people look at us that’s, not the perception that we’re given. So i think the crown jewel of your organizational practice for being prepared on set it’s got to be the truck right. I would say so yeah this truck really was born out of creativity, about a different way of operating with a drone people so traditionally have been working off a camera part where they pop the drone out on the ground and they have their car with the monitor And the you know, control surface or whatever it may be, and they work off of that unit. And we were on a movie about two years ago, where we kept having to move from different locations to different location, every 10 or 15 minutes, because wherever we would set up even when we weren’t shooting all of a sudden, they would move the camera to a Different part of the set – and we were in the shot in the background, so we just for whatever reason we had to move every like 10 or 15 minutes. We had this idea where we said what, if we just had a giant cart on wheels that could go anywhere and carry everything, wait: that’s a car, so we got a giant truck. It’S got plenty of power to haul all the equipment, all the extra weight and the trailer i’m six foot, three like that’s, not like just big this truck and what we did was we decided that we wanted a way to be able to work from the truck Without ever having to set foot on the ground, especially with the drone, because if you’ve ever worked with any of those big drones, you know that it can be scary when the big one spins up – and you know if you’ve never seen it before it – can be A little bit frightening, so one thing that we did was we decided to keep everything elevated raised up so that whenever we’re working with a client, everybody can stay safe on the ground and only the flight crew and the people that are qualified to interact with the Drone go up top on the roof, like nerd it’s, pretty great up here i mean nobody wants me to interact with the client or be any other client, so they just put me up on the roof.
What is going on in here so right now? What you’re? Looking at up here is a antenna array and right now we have the master, wheels antenna setup and the patch antenna for the teradek system on the alexa camera setup, and basically, we put on this five pin antenna array, whatever we may need for whatever shoot we’re Doing so, whatever equipment we’re using we’ll mount the external receivers here, uh we’ll mount the teradek antenna here, and this can swivel so that, whichever way the drone goes, you can point it at the camera for best reception um. These are kind of the kinds of things that help us do the job from the truck, because the system that this is attached to is actually mounted inside in the vaccine so where traditionally, the operator might have to be outside to get the best signal range now They can sit inside and how does the signal get from outside here into the car? Everything is running through these distribution boxes here in the back, so whether it’s video signal or the other cables, everything has a way to safely run from the exterior to the interior of the truck and stay weather, protected and sealed out here. So it goes all the way from antenna down through into these ports, which is that’s just the window of yeah and then gets distributed by different things inside and then gets spit back out to these ports. I feel like i’ve, been stepping up on this thing, but it doesn’t look like it’s, just a stepping stool what’s going on in here, no it’s it well.
It is a step, but a little bit more. Oh, my goodness. This is uh our charging box and inside here we have battery charging for all of our major systems. Oh there’s, a big battery so in here is a big it’s, a lion, energy battery bank and it’s backup, and this when it’s fully charged can run for about 14 hours. Just non stop fully powering the entire truck all the monitors and everything inside so there’s. A giant battery here, but you also can jack in a jenny for this whole thing correct, so they actually serve different purposes, but basically, this battery is powering all the electronics on the truck. So all the wi fi bits the antennas, everything that can get power on the inside monitors master wheels. Everything comes from this one power unit and its backup. Everything that has to do with charging comes from a different power unit which plugs into our big honda. 3500 watt generator, so you just have a small little battery that you want to charge yeah. I mean something small like this: 16 000 milliamp power, twelve. But the nice thing about this box is that we have custom cutouts here so that we can actually drop the batteries into place and charge them on the go. That is so. We have to move around on set and what we love about. These is that we can charge while we’re on the move right. So so because this is ventilated right here they go fan on the side.
We can just pop this closed and then it’s a lifo, safe thing and they can just be driving to the next spot. If you’ve ever worked with an inspire 2 or any tv, 50s you’ll notice that this is a dji, quick charger, it’s incredible and we use these same batteries not only for the inspire 2 but to power all of our gimbals. So, whether it’s the ronin or the movi pro we power them both off of these batteries, these run the entire gimbal, the camera. Everything from the drone down is being run by these batteries. This is part of your organizational technique, kind of like to have everything running off of the same battery, so that you know you just always have the same stuff ready to go yeah and we have a surplus of tv 50s that get retired from inspire use. After a certain time, they just become camera based they’re your low draw exact camera camera and gimbal batteries. What i like about these tv 50s is that they’re really easy to transport. You can fit a lot of them in a little case. You can fit a lot of them in here. Even we line this side, and we even lined these guys down here, sometimes with tv 50s. It makes it really easy to reach right in here, grab what you need and put it right on the drone yeah. You never have to worry about going back to your truck.
You never have to worry about setting up charging somewhere else. It’S all right here in front of you, you can manage it from you know where you’re going to be hanging out for your entire shoot. Well, you’re! Never going back to your truck! You just never leave your truck yeah like is there a bathroom in here somewhere like yeah? The idea is, you know, kind of it pulls the trailer to set the trailer, has all the cases that contain everything and then once we get there, we build it all onto here and then we’re on the truck for the rest of the day. We never have to go back to our home base. We never have to go back for for any supplies or anything like that, because everything is built on here. It’S the end of last year, we’ve offered up the opportunity for any pilots or directors or dps producers. Anybody that works with us to sign our hall of fame charge box so we’ve got. You know some big names up here: jeff cronin with afc he shot fight club, okay, let’s, get rid of this and uh head upstairs. What is going on up here? This is kind of the party piece of the truck um, the top deck the dance floor. Everybody loves the dance floor, so when we started out, we originally made it out of wood um and the problem with wood. Is that it’s not as strong as diamond plate? Right, but over time we decided that diamond plate was the most secure material, because when you have 150 000 worth of drone up here right also you you don’t, want everything to be falling through the roof and coming down on top of your pickup truck yeah solid Enough that you can very confidently be up here when you’re out in the desert, or something like that, doesn’t it get hot shiny like how do you it used to when it was original diamond plate.
It was reflective and it was a real problem, because especially the second that you try to look that way out into the sun. It would just blind you, so what we did was we actually painted it. This special color, which is both heat resistant and non reflective, it’s, not hot, to the touch, even on a 100 degree day really, and it doesn’t get reflected when you’re trying to look off the front of the truck when you’re flying while we’re up. Here you want to show us what’s going on on this back wall here, oh yeah, this is uh the great wall of gear, part of being a company that does aerials and works with this much different variety of equipment is keeping track of all of it. It’S kind of beautiful um, so yeah, like i said organization, is really key to everything that we do here. Um everything has a home. Everything has a dedicated place where it lives everything you know when something is gone. It’S really easy to know. What’S checked out on a job who’s got what we keep logs with everything that goes out so that we can make sure that everything that goes out comes back in, and you know everything here is kind of organized by section. So we have like dji drones. Heavy lift drones. We try our best to separate everything that way when we prep a job, it’s really easy to say. I know that this piece of gear goes with this.
You know kind of whole picture yeah. So when i’m, taking out the alta, i remember to prep the ulta radios and the headsets and all the extra things that go with the alta or when i’m doing the inspire. I remember to grab both cases of batteries because they’re both sitting right next to each other in the in the right place. So you know, like i said before, organization really is key and we try to apply that mantra to everything in here, whether it’s just the wall that’s holding the cases or the truck that we take out to do the job yeah. Why don’t we uh jump down off the top and take a look at the rest of the truck yeah let’s. Do it okay, so we’re to walk around the front of the truck you? Have the camera suspended off of the landing platform? Why, like this is insane this right here is called a flow cine black arm. What it is is basically a single axis stabilization arm that irons out bumps for the camera system um. So what we like to do get some bumps here, yeah a couple of bumps irons them out just fine um. What we like to do with this thing is: it has a couple different purposes number one it’s used for kind of a low budget car to car filming solution, so we can throw the camera on this and drive around and shoot. You know cars on the ground from the truck, but you know we can move this up and down.
So you get like lower to the ground exactly because, like if you’re shooting a sports car you’re already over top of it exactly exactly it’s, you know it’s, not something that replaces a russian arm or a traditional. You know kind of pursuit arm kind of vehicle, it’s, something you could toss in exactly it’s a toss in um. The main thing for it, though, is that 100 000. The main thing is that when we drive around set sometimes it’s a pain to find a spot where this camera can safely transport inside the truck, because when we have it on the drone, it’s got the big landing legs on the front. It takes up a pretty big footprint, so the purpose of the black arm is that we can just hook the camera onto this and it can safely dampen the load while we’re driving around from point to point on set. It gives us time to work on the gimbal, because the gimbal can remain on and active while we’re driving around. So it gives me time to kind of iron out any issues that i might be having, while i’m on the set it’s a toad in the hole from free fly. We love free fly, and you literally just comes off like that, and then that literally just clips into the drone put this right into the bottom. And then when you want to put it back and safety latch and you’re done and that’s the same on this.
And on the drone it’s the exact same attachment, it’s called a toad in the hole and the tone of the hole is great because it’s a pretty robust, safe, quick release method. I see that obviously there’s a gimbal and then there’s fizz control, so for those that maybe don’t know what that is. It’S focus iris zoom and i guess we just have focus iris and from the truck there’s controls to be able to change all of those things. Whether that’s the gimbal, the focus the iris, this is uh it’s, common name as a fizz or a hand unit. This one is the teradek rt motion. It’S got a couple: different channels, focus iris and zoom, but you can spin the wheel for the focus motor and this is controlling. You know, focus obviously, and we and the iris motor. Of course, we get a little slider from the iris yeah, which is a slider, and we mark it down so that you can tell what stop you’re at so i’m at a t8 here and i’m at a t8 here. Well, how do we control the gimbal, then we’ve seen how to control the phys system we’ve seen how to control the truck and now all that’s left is to be able to turn this thing around. How does that work? Well, that depends on which way you want to do it. You got options. This is overwhelming. Oh, yes, dude i’d get so motion sick.
If we were trying to move the car around, we do this, while we’re driving down the road all the time you don’t have to get used to it, you’d be surprised because, when you’re watching in the camera you kind of get tunnel vision a little bit as To what you’re doing anyway, so what’s in front of you here, these are called the dji master, wheels it’s a dji product of all things and basically they’re force sensitive wheels that control pan tilt and roll on the camera. You have all kinds of different adjustments here in terms of your speed and the smoothness, and you can see on the screen right there next to you that this is controlling all the different axes of movement. So anyway, this is uh connected to the receiver. That was back up on the trident up on the roof, so that’s. What allows you to stay in here um and still remain fully in control with the best signal range possible. You say control, but this is embarrassing like i can. I can definitely like, if i just had to think about one axis for the most part, that would be okay but like as soon as i’m, trying to add in the height. This is like doing like this thing like we try to like. We try to yeah and i mean we’ll fly down the road. You know 60 miles an hour with andrew in the back flying the alta right and i’m sitting here with the director next to me, calling the shot saying you know swoop to the right and do this and do that and you know it’s a pretty cool experience When it’s all running and happening, there’s really not a lot like it in the film industry.
Besides, maybe like a camera pursuit car like an arm car, i can record a shot right here. Right say i do a little move and then i can play it back at the touch of a button, and this is that final resolution correct and so now we’re watching back the shot that we just did. So we can quickly review and make any notes or adjustments that we need to make to the shot figure out what we liked, what we didn’t like, and how to make it better that’s, pretty sick for another video we’re gon na go ahead and actually try to Teach me how to use the wheel see what kind of shots we can get and then, hopefully graduate to some bigger and bigger drones, doing heavy lift and cine and all this stuff kind of in one check back for the other video too much truck. To add anything more so you have this awesome setup in the truck, but like how do you get all your to set like it’s not going to fit in there with all the wheels and stuff, even with the eight foot bed? It’S, not quite big enough for for all of you. You can just start strapping stuff to the landing yeah. Now what we have. Actually, we have this 10 foot box, trailer and it’s great, because the truck is already so enormous that we can luckily fit all the extra gap that we need into this small footprint yeah which any bigger than this, and this whole thing would be.
You know it’s 40 feet right now from end to end huge it’s great because on the inside, what we’ve actually done it’s a bit of a mess right now, so you’ll have to excuse me, but what we’ve done is actually taken the same shelving that we have Over here, you’ll notice it’s the exact same wrap, so we literally just took an extra one of those racks and built it in here and gave ourselves room to fit all the kinds of camera equipment that we need up on the rope on the wall. We strap our camera, cart, our tent all the creature comforts that you need to kind of keep yourself made in the shade when you’re on set crafty’s in here in here. We have another one of the same batteries that we have inside the truck, and this does all the power for the trailer whether we have to charge things in here whether we have to run the lights whatever it may be. This battery has it covered for way more time than we would ever need and gives us the flexibility to turn the trailer into another. You know vehicle for us. Should we need it, like? I said before we generally don’t ever leave anything in here to the point where we would have to come back and forth between the truck, but sometimes it gives us an advantage if we have to set up a computer to download footage or things like that.
We can do that in here. If we need to, i don’t have a hanger, so you know what you need a hanger. No, you need a van like ours. Okay, this is what you need, because this is your workstation away from home. Yeah andrew and i have both slept in this man before on separate occasions. It looks like i should be out of speakeasy or something right. It was like originally made for burning man and then converted into a drone van. I see, but it kind of serves both purposes now, like i said more than enough space to do everything you need to do there’s a power set up underneath that bottom bench, so you can stab in with a generator into the side of the van and give Yourself, power for charging or soldering or whatever kind of work you need to do in here. You have all the space and up here actually is another tone: the hole mount oh yeah, so you can actually clip the whole gimbal right into here. So when we take this van out on those kinds of jobs, sometimes i’ll do my camera builds right here. I’Ll clip the gimbal right up and just piece piece it all together right here, pull it off the roof and i’m ready to go. When does the van get a landing pad, that’s a lot of cool big stuff, but like we’re we’re here for the fpv what’s, the fpv situation at drones? I’M glad you asked, we have just about every option you could ask for starting over here with the granddaddy of all of them.
This is the catalyst machine works, money, shop, mini yeah, um, it’s kind of the new industry standard in terms of cine lifters. There are a lot of really great options out there. The sicario is great there’s i’ve seen some other options that are really really great builds, but for us this was the one that we ultimately decided to go with and it’s treated us really well so far yeah. This thing’s amazing, it blows my mind every time how something this big can truly feel like a five inch. Quad like these batteries are absolutely massive, like i mean for fpv and then and then the komodo itself. Well, yes, relatively speaking, a small camera still is like 1500 grams it’s heavy, pretty cool fpv drone. There we’ve got another fpv drone right here, more or less yeah a double fpv drone actually look right there, so there’s yeah right, because we got there’s an fpv camera right there, an fpv camera right there and then one you know pleb camera i mean. So you have this rigged up with the dji digital fpv system. I tore this entire drone apart and put a little bc on the inside that’s, stepping down to nine volt power from the six cell power that comes in from the drone. So you don’t even have a separate battery, so there’s no separate battery, especially with something like this. You want everything to be clean and tight because, like i said this, camera rotates 360.
yeah. So, on a wide lens, like this 16 millimeter, you don’t want to have a big battery that’s here, protruding out from the system. Having this thing down here is already bad enough right, but luckily this the setup as it is, you can’t see the antennas or the air unit. What we’ve done is just taken this and put it on this. This place is insane dude. I just want to sit here and just take it all in, like i don’t want to leave. Do we have to go, do a shoot later we do, but then we got to come back to drop everything off so we’ll be back. Don’T worry well! Thank you. So much for giving us the tour of the drone dudes hanger. What do you guys call it? We do call it the hangar, yeah um, thanks for coming i’m sure it won’t be the last time we see you here, dude i’m, so stoked. I just want to play with everything now: yeah there’s lots to play with and we’re definitely going to be expanding and doing a lot more in here we, you know, we came into this space with the intention of you know. Now we have this incredible space. We want to really be doing more on. You know the media sphere, whether it’s with youtube or with instagram or whatever it may be. We want to really bring the knowledge that we have at drone dudes to the rest of the world and to the rest of everybody else, and you know that’s why we were so excited to partner up with you and get to show everybody on your channel.
What we have going on here – because you know there’s so many people that only see one side of the drone industry, whether it’s the cinema side or the fpv side, and they don’t really cross over and i think, what’s cool about what we’re doing here is we’re. Really trying to bridge the gap on both sides, whether it’s bringing fpv people up to speed with heavy lift stuff, bringing heavy lift people up to speed with the fpv world. You know cinema people into the fpv world and showing them the amazing stuff that fpv can do um. I think that that is really what is so cool that’s going on here right now and something that we’re trying to strive so much for in the future. Yeah – and i mean we’re so grateful to learn more, i i feel like every time i get to come into a space like this. You know i get to. I get inspired to think of new ways to try things, especially like on the organization side. Like you know, fpv is so kind of run and gun that you forget that, like you, still have to figure out ways to be professional and to carry yourself professionally, and you know seeing how you guys have that set up has really inspired me to how i Want to go back and do my setup, but it’s not going to be our last time that we’re going to interact with drone dudes, hopefully we’re, going to get some cool behind the scenes.
Stuff not just like what we’re doing tomorrow with motorcyclists, but hopefully on real productions eventually and make sure that you know we’re continuing to tell the story of fpv both from the hobbyist side and the professional side um and then into the wider world of drones. So thanks very much everybody for watching hope. You enjoyed this tour of drone dudes. If this is your first time on the channel, please consider subscribing and if it’s definitely worth it and if you’re, a returning visitor or anything like that, you always support the channel by using the affiliate links or patreon or any of that stuff. So thanks very much for coming to hang out on this tour of the drone dudes hangar and stay flying Music.