Hovering above the activity below, Skycam Jamaica, the aerial photography and videography start-up, is reaping benefits by taking imagery from a different angle.
Ravi Sittol, operations director at the company, is the technical brains behind the operations, outfitting the miniature copters to the company’s specifications.
“What it’s really called is a multi-copter, or a hexacopter. A normal helicopter has one main rotor. Right now we have a six- rotor so it’s a hexacopter,” said Sittol of the copters which are operated manually.
“It’s equipped with satellite GPS, and a flight computer to stabilise flights so you can leave it to hover there for as long as the battery allows you,” added the 27-year-old who always loved aircraft.
The devices allow them to take still photographs and high-definition video for their clients.
“We get live streaming on to our monitors so we can frame our shots,” Sittol, who has a background in architecture, said.
The take-up for their services has been good since they officially started the company early this year.
“People are very interested. The reality is, because of the technology involved in the service and the risk each time we fly, we can’t give away the service. So we have to consider the possibility of an accident,” said Gabriel Heron, commercial director and the second partner in the business.
Heron pointed out that since starting up they have done work for Trident, Sigma Run, a private party, Dream Launch, Kabana City and live streaming of two Dover events.
Safety is of great importance in their line of work.
“We have strict safety measures as it’s a man-made device, so we do a lot of preflight checks,” said Sittol, explaining that safety measures involve logging flight details and ensuring they have a 10-foot radius clear air for take-off. They are also regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and so they cannot fly within three miles of the airport or above 500 feet.
“We fly way below that. I like to have it in my line of sight,” said Sittol further explaining, “I’d like to make it clear it is not a drone, it is an aerial camera,” he said. “A drone has different connotation … about war, spying, invading privacy. This is nothing like that. It’s really for cinematography.”
The cost of video ranges from $40,00 to $140,000 and still pictures start at $20,000.
“It’s a better perspective,” said Sittol of the aerial view.