Starting With A Passion – Mitchell’s Story

I took the plunge last year to put my photography to the test, get out of my comfort zone and enquire with yacht clubs about event photography for future regattas. I didn’t know if my photos were up to scratch, but you don’t know until you get in and try.

After taking photos for a local Moreton Bay club at their annual cup I decided to enquire with Southport Yacht Club about their annual Sail Paradise regatta and OK dinghy national championships, using the cup photos as my full portfolio. Through perfect timing and new found confidence I managed to win the job. However there was one big catch.They wanted drone footage!

After seeing the drone photography market soar at record pace I was keen to get a piece of it for myself. But to purchase and learn to fly was one thing. To take off, land and produce good quality video of fast moving forty foot yachts was another. Especially within a two month timeline with very little potential practice on boats available. Trepidation definitely set in.

Boar from DJI Mavic

The first day was a disaster. After capturing some nice overhead footage of the rigging area it came time to launch from a boat for the first time. With all hands occupied with the starting sequence, and without ever launching from my own hands I decided to launch off the wide open deck. My theory was that the props would only be feathering once the drone was turned on. However as the boat dropped into a small trough and lurched forward on the anchor chain the drone stayed at its starting position, eventually meeting my hands. Instinct would say that you would press up on the control and get it out of there. But having little experience with controls and a tad naive I didn’t react in time. The saving grace was that wasn’t lost over the side of the boat. However my tablet was busted, props snapped and my fingers cut. A lesson I sorely learnt from.

The remaining regatta footage was saved by having a cheap backup tablet available. However without good GPS signal from the tablet I had to rely on a lot of manual flying along with my sailing knowledge to know where to be and what was possible in terms of capturing the action. What followed was some extremely nerve wracking but successful flights along with some help from unsuspecting crew to catch the drone. I am glad to say that I captured some footage that was well received enough to negate the preconceived need for helicopter footage and to be asked back in 2019. What started as a nightmare became a successful regatta and a massive learning experience. An expensive one at that.

Stepping forward four months and I have taken footage at a number of sailing regattas and am growing more and more confident with every flight. My footage is becoming smoother, faster and closer to the action which is essential to engage the audience and make them realise how exciting sailing can be.

As my business name suggests (@surfsailkite) my passion is for water sports. There is so much potential for footage in the ocean and I want to be at the forefront. However my interests do not stop at the waters edge. I am keen to capture action sports, shoot landscape photography and provide event photography. Just being in the air will make me happy.

When I was asked by Greenroom to become a part of the company I jumped at the chance. While my role currently revolves around documentation, training and video editing the skills I have taken onboard though my drone and photography experience will be put to good use in the future business setup. Undertaking jobs and assignments in the commercial arena will become part of our business philosophy and my work under the guise @surfsailkite will come under the wing of Greenroom Robotics.

As an engineer twice over (Chemical and Naval Architect) I feel that I can also bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the Greenroom team in other areas. Especially in managing teams and projects. In my short career so far as a NA I have already managed a project built around autonomous technology (see Hydrocontest) and see many opportunities in my current work for autonomous technology to be implemented. I see autonomy as the next logical step in many industries technology development which is a vision that I share with Greenroom.

I an excited to grow and develop my skills as a pilot and an engineer in the UAV industry and look forward to what we at Greenroom Robotics can accomplish.

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