Cleveland — Eric Herringer’s arms are down to his side, holding onto what looks like a video game console controller. His head is wrapped in virtual reality goggles, and only a few years ago he would have been more accustomed to the cyberpunk capabilities of science fiction.
His feet are firmly planted on the ground, but he is flying.
“”It’s always fierce, “Hellinger said. “It always drives your adrenaline. That’s what I like. I like the pressure.”
Hellinger is a professional FPV or “first person view” drone pilot.
Most modern drones are carefully controlled by GPS positioning, so pilots can easily and meticulously position and hover their drones in the air to take aerial shots as seen on television and news stations. I can do it.
FPV drones are different. They put full control of the drone on the pilot, and Herringer uses a custom drone controller and a virtual reality headset to give him first-person perspective and unmatched precision in controlling the flight of the drone.
“It’s starting to be used in all kinds of applications, movies, commercials, etc.,” says Herringer. “I do a lot of indoor work around here, but it’s nice because indoors aren’t related to the weather.”
With FPV drone control, Hellinger can fly around buildings and large obstacles, and even in tight spaces such as rock climbing gyms, posh dealers, and news, with spectacular high-flying drone maneuvers and stunts. You can do it. 5 studios.
“It’s very similar to a video game,” he said.
Inside the News 5 studio, Herringer demonstrates a customized 5-inch FPV drone (a small camera surrounded by four drone propellers with a small carbon fiber frame, soldered flight control circuit board, and 3D printed plastic guards). I did it. He attached a GoPro camera to the top and strapped it to the VR goggles. The miniature flying machine steadily floated a few feet off the ground and was vibrant.
“On the ground, the goggles can be seen through,” he explained to a curious spectator as he was preparing for his next flight. “If you use a headset and use a controller, it looks like an RC controller.”
With the controller in hand, he began maneuvering small devices around the studio, zipping the space, to Rafter, and even to News 5 anchor Danita Harris.
And as soon as he took off, Herringer had to put the drone back.
“The battery needs to be replaced,” he said. “Battery life is about 5 minutes.”
For outdoor flights, Hellinger uses a larger 10-pound drone with a larger battery that can fly slightly longer (7-10 minutes). The drone can also support autopilot with GPS and large cameras.
“Knowing how to make a drone is definitely very important because you can improvise effectively on the set.”
For example, he said he was able to attach the GoPro to the rear and take a reverse shot on one shoot.
When maneuvering manually like a real pilot, the Herringer is not only around the drone, but also some other factors and variables such as radio signal strength, link quality, controller battery life, drone battery life, wind speed, etc. You also need to pay attention to.
“The learning curve for FPV is definitely small, but if you take the time to practice and learn how to build them, you will definitely be rewarded,” says Herringer.
You might think that Herringer has been maneuvering drones for years, as you can send a drone to a barrel roll with a flick of your finger, and you can easily send a drone in the narrowest space, but that’s not the case. There is none.
“I started flying the drone in early 2021,” he said. Prior to that, he jumped into jobs such as car salesman, copier salesman, and professional tour musician, playing lead guitar and bass.
He said he couldn’t make a lot of money by doing that, so he decided to fly with a new career path.
“I just saw it would be what people need,” Herringer said. “And especially the FPV stuff, I just started seeing how unique it was and never stopped.”
Since then, Hellinger and his company, Vivid Flight Media, have shot FPV drone videos for prominent clients such as the Cleveland Guardians, Cavaliers, Mountain Dew, Playhouse Square and Jack Entertainment.
In addition to the adrenaline rush of FPV drone flight, Helinger said the end result of his work is very satisfying.
“The most rewarding thing about this kind of work is getting people the best footage they’ve ever seen,” he said. “After shooting, all the production staff are standing around monitors and cameras, and I personally enjoy their jaws being in awe of the shots they just shot.”
Herringer may have noticed his call as the list of clients grows and the portfolio of impressive and exhilarating drone videos from around Cleveland and beyond expands.
“I really enjoy getting great footage for people,” he said. “Another thing I enjoy about it is that I’m really passionate about it. At that moment, you’re completely at that moment. You’re connected to the machine, When you’re flying it, it doesn’t seem that time really matters at that point. You’re just in it. It’s so cool. It works too. “
See more about Hellinger’s video on his Instagram page, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and website.
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