MEDFORD, Ore. – Ben Bachman fiddles with a football-sized panel of controls as his children play at a Medford park. A small drone hovers above them, capturing the moment on film.
“This drone can do pretty much anything you can imagine,” said Bachman. “It can get up high, get a panoramic shot, the applications are pretty much endless.”
Bachman’s company, Rogue Aerial Productions, is just a couple weeks old. Already he has been approached by tourist destinations looking to do commercials, utility companies hoping to inspect high-up power lines, and real estate agents seeking aerial views of properties.
The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts the market for commercial drones will reach $13.5 billion in the next three years, and create a boom of high paying jobs.
While Bachman’s little quadcopter is on the simpler side, drones like it have been serving customers for years.
That includes local filmmakers.
“Aerial drones have really opened up a world of possibilities for shoots,” said Gary Kout, Executive Director of Southern Oregon Film and Television.
Kout says he first used a drone in 1999, while shooting a commercial for Coca-Cola in Hawaii.
Since then, he says they’ve become a bigger and bigger part of the filmmakers’ toolkit, taking them to new places and doing things that previously required a helicopter and a lot of money to accomplish.
“We used one in the arctic circle,” said Kout. “I’ve used them with driving cars, I’ve used them with runners around a track.”
Bachman says his company is aiming simple for now, but in the future he’ll invest in better camera mounts and batteries with longer life.
He says the market for commercial drones is getting ready to soar, and he plans to go with it.
“This is getting really big,” said Bachman. “People are really realizing the benefits of the drones.”