(Image Credit: Up, Beyond Media)

Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?

I’m originally from Chicago but just recently made the move to the Bellevue area in Washington. Growing up was a lot of fun, I practiced martial arts and gymnastics and spent a lot of time playing video games, when I was in 8th grade I started my first “business” selling backup copies of Playstation games and music CDs on the bus. This is about the same time that I started playing around with Adobe Photoshop and the sort.

What made you decide to create Up, Beyond Media?

Fast forward several years somewhere between 2011 and 2012 and I had just finished graduate school at DePaul earning a Masters in Public Relations and Advertising, while hanging out with my best friend and now business partner, Ben Razdolsky, we were always talking about how great it’d be to open this business, or that business together. The details evade me now but as I recall we got those really small unmanned aerial vehicles, or as the greater public knows them, drones, and started looking into the larger platforms that could carry a GoPro. Our idea was to take to the skies. At the time there were no clear regulations written so we kind of just took it slow, purchased our first DJI drone and built it with the help of my neighbor and started to practice flying with a larger platform, we didn’t even have GPS with our first model.

(Photo Credit: Tony Matesi)

What services do you offer and what type of licenses do you have?

We offer a large array of services including aerial photography and video but beyond that we also offer start to finish video production, aerial inspections and surveys, these are great for cell towers, roofing, wind turbines, buildings, and construction. We even offer 3D-Mapping. We are licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration. To become licensed we had to study and take the test at an FAA testing facility.

What makes you different from other drone services that are out there?

What makes us different is the years of experience and our list of happy clients. 5 years of perfecting our skills and techniques has led us all to now. Up, Beyond Media provides full production from start to finish, we offer in-house video and photo editing. Photo editing is included with all aerial photography services.

(Photo Credit: Tony Matesi)

What inspired you to get into aerial photography/videography?

Well it’s actually quite simple really, we have always had a fascination with flying and photography and as drones began emerging on the market it was just a natural interest to pursue.

What are your favorite places or events to provide services?

Our favorite types of events to provide services for are the Spartan Endurance events that are a part of the Spartan Race series. The drone serves as a complete tool that helps monitor the participants progress throughout the event, adds a layer of risk mitigation and provides us with some killer content that takes Spartan’s entire brand to a new level.

(Photo Credit: Up, Beyond Media)

What are some past examples of your work?

We’ve produced a few videos recently, including this Spartan Endurance video which captures the essence of the event series and this other video for a small non-profit over on Mercer Island, the Friendship Circle 2016 Walk with Friendship event which benefits children with special needs, it was a delight to put this one together.

Walk us through how you work with a client from conception to final product?

Depending on the project there are various levels of how much goes into a project. Some projects are rather simple, we get a call, we scope out the address and check airspace and such to make sure we have the proper FAA permissions to fly in that area. If we find it necessary we will apply for any waivers required by the FAA otherwise we proceed with schedule a site visit. When we arrive one site we scope out the area, check for any hazards that maybe obscure our visual line of site or our shots. Then once we’ve cleared the area and made sure that the perimeter is secure we go through our flight checklist and as soon as well is clear we take off, capture the photos or video required of us and we pretty much pack up and go once we are done. Depending on if it’s an inspection or a full production for a YouTube video or commercial spot we have varying levels of editing we’ll go through. When everything is ready we upload the files to the client, make sure they are satisfied and it’s off we go to the next project.

(Photo Credit: Up, Beyond Media)

Some people feel that drones can be an invasion of privacy. How do you address those concerns?

This is a common misconception that is definitely exasperated by mass media putting a blanket label over all drones. Many people hear drone and they think military drones that drop bombs, that’s not what we’re working with, at all, not even close. The drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that a majority of drone service providers use, like we do at Up, Beyond Media, are small scale and carry cameras with very wide angle lenses. You’d have to get really close to something to actually invade their privacy. There are some drones coming on the market with zoom lenses and while people may be nervous, they should be more worried about the guy with a DSLR and a 400mm lens on it sitting on the street corner taking photos. He can see a lot more detail than our drones ever will. We usually try to reassure people’s concerns by showing them just how little we can see at varying heights and it helps put things into perspective. Truth is, these unmanned aircraft sound like a swarm of bees, you won’t be invading anyone’s privacy without them knowing. They’ll hear you before you see them.

Where do you see Up, Beyond Media in the future?

Up, Beyond Media is positioning itself as a drone service provider that has pilots across the U.S. providing whatever drone services are necessary for the projects we take on. We plan to place a majority of our focus the construction and inspections industries as that’s the first place there is a major need for our support but we plan to take on special projects as well which will include event support and content production, hopefully one day landing ourselves a role in producing a tv commercial spot for an athletic brand or similar.

Click here for more information on Up, Beyond Media.

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