By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A Bahamian ariel cinematography company believes that there is “huge potential for growth” of the industry in the Bahamas, suggesting that the Government enact guidelines and regulations for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Bahamian airspace.
Lance Knowles, co-owner of Sky High Media Ltd, a Nassau-based arial cinematography and production company told Tribune Business: “I think the growth potential of the industry is huge especially now with manufacturers like DJI, which is probably the largest manufacturers of UAV’s in the world right now. They have made it really accessible for any amateur film maker or hobbyist to go and buy themselves a small quad-copter, put a very powerful go-pro camera on it and instantly they can become an arial cinematographer.
“I think that a lot of people who used to like to video and photos as hobbies will just accept it as a tool in their bag. The growth potential is certainly there. The wave is
coming, certainly as they get more cheaper.”
Mr Knowles said that the company, which is heading into its second year, has seen a tremendous response from the local market and has also secured work with high-end production companies in the United States.
“Business has been great. We have gotten to travel all of the US. We have been all over the Caribbean. We have worked for quite a few high-end production companies out of LA. Businesses here locally is really good. The real estate market is a huge supporter of our business as well as local Indie film industries and local productions.
We also do staple footage from the ground as well along with a lot more production services. We are in the works of opening an RC hobby store that will specifically focus on UAV and drones,” said Mr Knowles.
He added: “Companies are constantly trying to find ways to use this technology to improve transportation. From this industry there is going to be a lot of other industries and jobs that could be available.”
Mr Knowles noted that the use of UAVs or drones has sparked serious debate in the US, adding that it was up to the government to ensure that the industry was regulated in the Bahamas as more persons will ultimately look to utilise the technology.
“It’s all up to the government to make sure its regulated to help those that are actually involved in it. It’s only going to take one bad accident for them to realise just how much of an issue it can be. Here in the Bahamas there are no regulations set in place.
“We operate somewhat on a model aircraft guideline. We try our best not to fly in public areas or over crowds. We actually went ahead and sought out legal advice before starting the business. We also obtained permission from the Civil Aviation Department as well as obtaining liability insurance. Should anything go wrong we know we are covered for liability for that. Having the approvals from Civil Aviation to conduct our daily work is also huge for us.”
Mr Knowles stressed that UAV operators exercise caution when using the technology. “We just ask anyone out there who is doing it to just use common sense. Don’t fly near the airport. Anywhere out west you are at risk. You just have to be sensible. You don’t want it on your shoulders that you took out someone’s kid with your flying lawn mower. “It’s a fun tool to have but I you have to be safe. We need guidelines in place. We need someone to say that within five miles of the airport there is no taking off.