The first time we heard the term, ‘Drone Footage’ it was with a pause of scepticism that we hastily proceeded to research further, this unlikely sounding new filming technique.
Its ultra-modern name is perhaps a mixed blessing. The adventurer in us was suitable intrigued by its sci-fi suggestiveness, but the cynic hastened to think ‘it’s just a techno fad, it will pass’.
If you are, as yet unfamiliar with the the process of drone filming it is (in very basic terms) the process by which a small remote controlled flying robot, takes aerial shots and footage using an on board camera…that’s basically it.
From early concerns over the quality of images and the feasibility of the process, it is only in the last couple of years that the commercial potential of drone filming has started to become apparent. This has led to a sharp rise in the number of drone footage related startups, hoping to cut themselves a slice of the pie.
Airstoc is a great example of the innovation that the rise of this industry has created.
We chat to co-founder Giles about the business, the City, drone footage and their startup journey.
Hi Giles, so first off can you tell us a little explain to us what Airstoc is?
"Airstoc is the first two sided marketplace dedicated to the professional drone filming industry. We are a one stop shop for all aerial requirements and we work exclusively with the very best professional operators worldwide.
Firstly, we provide a very simple online portal for customers to carry out aerial filming. Customers simply fill out a brief online, receive their quotes back, and then choose the relevant operator(s) to go with. This eliminates all the time, stress and costs typically involved and suddenly allows aerial filming to be carried out at a fraction of the price, anywhere in the world.
Secondly, and as a result of the locations and sights these operators capture, we showcase and sell aerial stock footage, offering a completely different and unique perspective to any other stock website, at a price to meet all budgets. We are one of the only companies worldwide to offer Ultra HD aerial stock footage.
Our customer base is global and we cover a huge array of sectors from TV, films and video production to tourism, travel, real estate, inspections, thermal imaging and surveying etc. The more industries start adopting this technology, the biggest our customer becomes. Within the next decade, it is said that drones will be used for all aerial work, replacing expensive traditional methods, and that is very exciting news for us."
We know that there are certain preconceptions about drone aerial footage re. quality of images and so forth, how is Airstoc managing to offset these notions?
"With us having a professional pilot as a co-founder who used to have his own drone company, we have market knowledge that has proven invaluable. This also gave us credibility from the start which was vital in developing Airstoc.
As a result, we knew the top professionals worldwide and went about contacting them directly. We have spent the best part of 9 months vetting them all, making sure only the very best are onboard, who have the skills, experience, technology and resources to meet our vision of delivering fantastic video footage whether bespoke or as stock.
We also made sure that our operators could fully showcase their work, website, etc to customers through Airstoc, to build up trust with customers and help educate the industry as a whole. By making sure we only work with the best and have a site to showcase the work of the operators, we are hoping this will go some way to improving this misconception that currently surrounds it."
Having initially created the business in just 54 hours at Sheffield Startup Weekend, can you tell us what you think the benefits are of taking part in such an intense startup building event?
"I am a great advert for this event because I thought that the event was aimed more at tech people and not commercial people like myself, so I was sceptical prior to going, which I know I am not alone with these thoughts.
In actual fact, the event was one of the best things I have done and in some many ways, it has transformed who I am, due to leaving my full time job shortly afterwards to go into Airstoc. It is not only great fun to be involved with so many people from different walks of life, you learn so much in such a short space of time and also have a better understanding as to who you are and what you’re skilled at afterwards. I literally could recommend it highly enough.
You are forced to get involved in different areas, some you enjoy and some you don’t. Plus you have to work in a team of people you have just met, pushed against time, with a lot of strong characters. However, by the end, you have new friends, not only just in your own team but across the whole event, have learnt so much, got involved in things you never would be before, and ultimately, have the opportunity to win the top prize at the end, whilst sipping on lot of well-deserved wine and beer."