Zoning in On Drones

By: Academy Contributor | July 13, 2017

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s your new student project.

Academy of Art University’s drone production course provides students the opportunity to be part of an exciting shift in communication that has quickly made its presence in film, television, and photography.

“If you want to discover photography or discover your images from a different perspective, take your vision to a different perspective,” Associate Director at the School of Communications & Media Technologies Steve Kotton said. “The drone class is a good place to experiment.”

The drone course emphasizes two aspects of aerial production—creative storytelling, and the standard rules and regulations of flight. Students have the opportunity to explore the strategies and techniques used by professionals to safely conduct aerial photography and cinematography using industry-standard equipment.

Each student taking the course is first issued a small, personal drone. They start by learning how to fly in a controlled environment and later advance to medium-sized models allowing them to fly farther. Once students have a strong handle on the controls, they are able to access large professional drones manufactured by DJI, the industry’s largest drone maker.

“I remember taking off for the first time. It was the most terrifying experience; I’d never touched a drone before in my life,” School of Motion Pictures & Television student Daniel Oplcensky said. “Now I’m actually really good at it. I’m confident in it.”

Although popular in film and television, the drone production course is open to all students across departments. Rather than only attracting students from the School of Motion Pictures & Television or the School of Communications & Media Technologies, the course has also been proven valuable to students from departments such as the School of Landscape Architecture, said School of Motion Pictures & Television Director Kenn Ferro.

“You can kind of go all over the place if you want,” School of Photography student Patrick Dunn said. “After my first class, I was exuberant to do so much other stuff. The opportunities are endless.”

Find out more information about Academy of Art University’s drone production class here!

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