When I started designing shirts for drone pilots and drone enthusiasts, I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be the uber-entity that Drone Ops Airborne is becoming. It went from: “Hey, I’ve got an idea for a shirt that I would want and I bet my fellow drone pilots would want one too!” to “I need a decent amount of really awesome t-shirts and merchandise so when drone dudes come to my site, they will find a couple things that they’ll have to have, and my website and social media has to be in lock-step with that, blah, blah, blah, blah, blaaaahhh.” You get the point, combine that with all the stuff I do for my first love, flying commercial drones with Dronewrx and getting sub-hired by other companies, and it’s A LOT of work!
Designing clothing and merchandise for the coolest (pre)occupation on the planet: Aerial Cinematographers
Though this is a labor of love, and I do have a degree in graphic design and lots of experience designing graphics and t-shirts, the process I’m using – Direct To Garment, is quite different from the old days of hand cutting over lays and burning screens. Now I can just design a graphic and upload it to the printers site and they have the equivalent of an ink jet printer that prints right on the garment. But of course it’s not quite that simple. There’s the fact that it’s a fairly large line screen, 65dpi for those of you who have knowledge of such details which limits some of the effects, I’m of course printing on fabric, for dark garments it’s necessary to print a white base so the colors will pop (which has always been a factor, but the method is now different), and there’s no real gradation of color. I got back my first run of samples and on the “Chosen Family” shirt what was a very light “comet tail” on screen making a drone look like it was moving, was so dark it required re-designing. But that’s what the sample process is for, and why pencils have erasers!
When you do what you love and are passionate about it, time isn’t necessarily the first priority
My original goal was to launch April 1st but with delays which was foolish (haha get it, April 1st!?) and unforeseen obstacles I’ve changed that to “when it’s ready, it’s ready”. But as I wait for my second set of samples, I’m pretty sure that date is coming soon. Once I am happy with the designs, then i have to do a photo shoot, then of course there’s editing the photos, and editing the footage into nice one minute clips for Instagram and Facebook. Of course a photo shoot can’t be going to the park and snapping some pix on your phone, ohhhh nooooo!! The locations I’m currently looking at are Rancho-Gualaupe Sand Dunes near Santa Maria, which are just south of Pismo Beach. Those would give us the stark serenity of the sand dunes with the beach that it’s right next to. Of course since I’ve never shot there, it’s unknown territory and I know that large sections of the dunes are often closed because of endangered species. So I’d hate to get all the way up there and not be able to access them. The second idea is starting the day at one of the lakes in the San Bernardino mountains like Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear, then heading down the backside of the mountain out to one of the many dry lake beds that are out that way. In fact just yesterday I was at El Mirage Dry lake shooting aerials for Lululemon, so that’s a strong contender. Of course the wind is always a huge consideration. Yesterday we had 18-20 kts wind. Just a few hours out in that and today I felt like a potato chip. Dry and crispy! This second set of locations is sounding better as I type it, so thanks for helping me decide. 🙂 When you do something like this you have to manage people and the closer we are to LA the better for everyone. Luckily one of my friends and business partners shoots photos for fitness trainers so finding fit, good looking people will not be very hard. Check out his work and products at https://fwuel.com/ If you happen to also be a trainer in addition to flying drones for fun and profit, you constantly NEED marketing and social media and I couldn’t recommend him more. Of course I do live in Hollywood, so those kid of people are as easy to find as walking out the door. 🙂