Say you’ve got something you want to film. A first ascent. An epic snowboard or downhill run. A mysterious pointbreak you somehow discovered. What do you do? Your idiot friend got a quadcopter for Christmas. Should you bribe him with beer to film it? Hell no. That’s what droners.io is for.
The website matches a drone pilot with, well, someone who needs a drone pilot. It works like this. Pilots create an account, set up a profile, and can upload video reels. People who need to hire a pilot have a couple options. They can browse through pilot profiles, searching by specialty (think: wedding, sports, and construction), until they find someone they think looks right for the job, and then they can reach out to that person directly. Alternatively, they can create a job listing with all the relevant details (location, date, what they need exactly) on the site and let pilots bid on it.
It’s kind of a great idea. As we’ve all seen in the last couple of years, the footage you can get with drone photography and videography is absolutely breathtaking. But we’ve also seen plenty examples of an uglier truth: drones are hard to fly well. I don’t think I know a single person (myself included) who owns a quadcopter who hasn’t wrecked it at least a handful of times. It’s easy enough to find pilots on droners.io who have hours of flying time logged under their belts. And most of them carry their own insurance, should something go wrong.
Safety aside, some of the pilots registered on Droners are incredible. Take Chad Copeland from Seattle, whose work has been seen in Outside, among many other magazines. Or HeliVideo Productions, who shot footage for the 2015 remake of Point Break. These are some heavy-hitters. Droners.io has nearly 1,500 registered pilots at the time of this writing, and I managed to waste a good hour just watching various stunning highlight reels. There’s a lot of talent there.
The website has only been around for six months, but its timing couldn’t be better. Now that everyone has to register their drone with the FAA, people are increasingly aware of the risks of flying before sufficient training. If you’re trying something big, you want to trust that your aerial photographer knows how to fly, not just so as to best capture your glory, but to keep you and everyone in the area safe. If there’s an easy way to hire a professional who’s much less likely to screw things up, we’re all for it.
Brent Rose is a freelance writer and regular Outside contributor. He is currently traveling the U.S. living in a high tech van, looking for stories to tell. Follow his adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and ConnectedStates.com