Any work out there? Thinking of purchasing ALTA 8

Discussion in 'ALTA 8' started by andy moore, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. andy moore

    andy moore New Member

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    I'm out of California thinking of purchasing the Alta 8...was just curious about demand for these bad boys..I've been shooting film/video for the last decade wanting to take to the skies but hesitant to take the leap...I work primarily in extreme sports and commercial Television. I've got access to all the cameras and lenses at my work so it seems like a good idea...just wondering if the paying gigs are out there and if so what is an average daily rate say with a red or Alexa Mini package on the Alta 8 ?
     
  2. Bryan Harvey

    Bryan Harvey Member

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    I think depends on your individual situation and whether you think your current clients have a demand and are willing to pay for drone aerials at the Alta level. Going after new clients in California could be tough because you've got a lot of competition with many teams out there that have been in the game from early on. While there will always be a market for flying the biggest cameras and the best lenses at the very top tier of production, the trend is smaller drones and purpose-built drone cameras with RAW recording capabilities satisfying most production needs at far cheaper price point, far less money at risk of crashing, and less dangerous to fly (DJI Inspire X5R for example). This only makes sense because the people that are going to jump on here and say there's no comparison between the image from Red and cine lenses vs a DJI X5R are the same people that won't be able to tell the difference in a blind test side by side video comparison. Point being the purpose-built drone cameras are very good and relatively cheap. Think $1500/day vs $5000/day. But honestly rates are very hard to comment on because they can be all over the map. You think you're just going to buy one Alta 8 and be done? Most operators at this level never go to a job without two complete Alta Kits, backup is crucial in this game. Are you ready to practice, get your FAA 333 and/or 107 waivers? Do you have any experience with flight safety and airspace? Lots to think about.
     
  3. Jason Toth

    Jason Toth Active Member

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    There is no demand for specific drones, its all about the operators and their experience. We shoot pretty much daily and only once (last week) got asked if we had a Alta... and it was only used as a prop LOL " the commercials going to be sweet"!!!). The Alta 8 a great machine but its still under thrusted for the payload.
     
  4. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    +1 to Bryan. Except sounds like u have unfettered access to arris, reds, and cinema lenses. In this case, an Alta might be the way to go instead of dji stuff. If u don't have a gimbal, that another 10 grand. 30-35 grand later, u have drone footage. Now u have to learn to fly it without crashing. Insurance helps, but not for a lot of the smaller crashes, which are usually the majority.


    Jason is right, it's underthrusted. But for the price point and ease of use, I think it's a quality buy.

    I think it's simple. . . If u have the cameras and lenses and network of clients and can afford the 30 grand for the system and the extra 10 grand to maximize the qualities it offers over dji inspire 1( an amazing, turnkey out the box drone), then get an Alta or learn to build. This means access to a wireless follow focus, wireless video transmitter, etc. otherwise, it's an inspire for my money. It's not the same, but the difference in learning curves is the difference between leaning basic addition or learning advanced algebra.
     
  5. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    And Jason is right specific drone demands are really rare.

    And Bryan is spot on with the backup comment. U can get away with promising a 30 thousand dollar rig and have it crap out on set, and then u have a 6000$ backup for the meantime. This is the minimum u can get away with, like the absolute minimum.

    What u cannot get away with is having no backup at all. . . So if u cant afford some type of backup system to an Alta(or similar 8 rotor) two inspire 1's for the win. Or contact the closest drone operators to u and see about long term collaborations.

    Rates are pretty much determined by either ur client pool (if ur lucky), or your competition. If ur new, probably gonna be the latter
     
  6. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I would 100% agree with all of the comments. Flying a big rig is no joke. 30K is a huge investment in something that may or may not return an ROI. Redundancy is key! You cant go on set and realize that after you plug in the battery the rig wont start or has some sort of fault. Also to command a $5000+ day rate you cant be a one man shop. You need to have a bunch of ancillary gear, like professional directors viewing monitors and pro gear. When you show up at call time you should be ready within 30 minutes to be able to get in the air and get the shot. In prder to this safely you need a tech. I never go on set without myself a cam op and at least on tech sometimes an extra crew member to be a VO as per FAA requirements. One of the biggest complaints I hear from producers who hire novices or even experienced RC guys is that they do not understands these simple things.
    Plus flying on set can be demanding. You could do something stupid and simple like be a crane replacement. A lot of times they will want want whatever they can get out of you. Then it could be demanding like "I want you to fly four feet off the ground chase our picture car at 40 mph at point X start climbing and getting a reveal or the reverse of that shot." You have to be able to do that. Also you have to have the experience to know what is not feasible and safe. "Like hey can you drop from 500 feet straight down fast to 20 feet and push it forward as hard as you can go?" Yup ,been asked to do crazy shit like that and even crazier.

    My thought is that if you thinking of getting into this. Start small and get your self like a Phantom 3 Pro or 4 and learn to fly it and figure out hoe to do maneuvers first. Than I would get a less expensive large rig like a used S1000 or an old Cinestar and get used to flying that.

    TBH, movie and TV gigs sound sexy and they do make decent if you can get them, I get quite a bit since I am in the IATSE 600. Most of my sustaining money is in the boring stuff doing inspections on like a wind turbine or solar farm. Not as glamorous, but it can be done with cheaper equipment like a Phantom 3 Pro with some exceptions when I need FLIR than I have to use an Inspire 1 XT. These return the investment way quicker than buying the most expensive rig on the planet and hoe Hollywood starts calling you. Especially if you are in CA. You have like a dozen shops with full complements of very pro gear who many are already are well seeded in the industry. It will be very hard from the outside to try to break in.
     

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