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A Photographer with a Drone

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Richmond, Virginia.  This Matthew.  Hello, sir.  It's great to have you here.

CALLER:  Hello.  How are you?

RUSH:  Good.  Thank you.

CALLER:  It's a beautiful day today.

RUSH:  I would know.  I'm inside.

CALLER:  Oh, dear.  I'm not outside, either, but I love the wonderful weather because I have a business that deals with photography.

RUSH:  Oh, cool.

CALLER:  And in my photography business, I use a, quote, "drone."  I say "quote, 'drone'" because drones, I think, they have a bad rap.  They've been around for a long time.

RUSH:  Did you happen to see yesterday, maybe the day before, a North Korean drone crashed in South Korea? They said it was a North Korean drone, and I believed it.  It was just the cheapest thing. It looked like a model airplane.  It was light blue, about 24 inches long.  I mean, it looked typical. It was just pathetic.  If that was the best they had, it was the funniest thing.  How big is your drone?

CALLER:  Mine fits in about a suitcase kind of size.  It's about 24 inches by 24 inches.  It's actually what's called a quad copter.  It's got four propellers on it.

RUSH:  Okay.  Is it actually... I mean, you call it a drone because of what it does, but it doesn't look like what most people think a drone looks like, a fixed wing aircraft?

CALLER:  It's not. No. It's basically like a helicopter.

RUSH:  Right.  You control it on the ground with sticks and so forth.

CALLER:  Yes, it's got a monitor on it so I can monitor it through my cell phone or iPhone or something like that.  So it's got a first-person view on it so I can see where I'm going and take pictures and high-definition video with it.

RUSH:  How high does your drone go?

CALLER:  It has the potential of going up to 600 feet.

RUSH:  What kind of fuel does it use? How long can you keep it in the air?

CALLER:  It uses batteries, and those batteries last about 20 to 25 minutes.

RUSH:  Really, 25 minutes?

CALLER:  These drones are actually being used all the time.

RUSH:  I know.  There's just a story here on the news that a drone crashed on the highway and a guy ran over it.  But it was a militarylooking drone.  It had a 15-foot wingspan and all that, just ran out of fuel, I guess, or did something. Some guy ran over it and didn't know what had happened for a while.

CALLER:  Well, the FAA has been trying to crack down on the use of these things, even, quote, "commercially."  They just tried to fine someone who shot a video, I guess it was last year, at UVA, University of Virginia, right here in Virginia, where I am.

RUSH:  Let me tell you something, Matthew.  I have watched some videos taken with contraptions like yours, and they're some of the coolest things I've ever seen.

CALLER:  Well, if you watch any commercial on TV, you've probably seen them being used, because any time you see a car driving down the road and they have a shot of it circling around that car, they use a drone.

RUSH:  Right. What kind of photography do you do? You do still, video, or both?

CALLER:  Both.  Still, video.  I'm using it primarily right now for real estate.  It's a high-demand kind of market that has never seen this before, and you get totally new shots, to be able to say see everything differently.

RUSH:  What do you mean?  Properties you want to sell?

CALLER:  Not I'm selling, but real estate agents and brokers.

RUSH:  Right, okay.

CALLER:  That want to sell their property, and they want people to be able to look at their properties and it is not have some standard picture that looks like somebody shot it with their cell phone looking out their car window.  They want to be able to see a property in one picture and see what it looks like. See what the house looks like, see what the front door looks like and backyard.

RUSH:  Right.

CALLER:  Some of it all in one picture.

RUSH:  What the bird sees before it drops on your window.

CALLER:  Yeah.  Not what you see on, you know, one of those websites that has maps on it -- which I won't name -- but, you know, something that's clear, something that gives them a good idea if they'll even want to spend some time to look at this property.

RUSH:  So you've got the FAA you're afraid they're gotten clamp down and not let you essentially stay in business?

CALLER:  Well, what happens is this person at UVA shot a movie for UVA to endorse their school and help publicize the school. He was slapped with a $10,000 fine from the FAA, and a judge, Judge Patrick Geraghty, ruled in favor of the defendant and said that FAA couldn't do it. They didn't have the right to. There's no, quote, "law" on the books right now that stops them from shooting this video and using it.

RUSH:  Yeah, well, all it takes is one regulation now.  We don't even need laws anymore, as you well know, Matthew.

CALLER:  Yes, exactly.

RUSH:  This is fascinating.  Is this the primary way you now stay in business, with drone photography, or do you do other kinds of photography without using the drone?  In other words, if you were ever outlawed, if the drone was outlawed, would it wipe your business out?

CALLER:  Well, it would definitely change the nature of it, because right now I'm using it to, like I said, see everything differently.

RUSH:  What kind of camera or lens do you put on this drone?

CALLER:  Well, some of the models have cameras actually built into them.

RUSH:  Right.

CALLER:  Some of the higher-end models that professionasl and cinematographers use have options. It cost $15,000 for the drone.

RUSH: That's not bad, in terms of corporate investment, capital.

CALLER:  Right.

RUSH:  How many drones do you have?

CALLER:  Right now I have one that I use primarily.

RUSH:  Well, the only thing that I can think that is gonna happen is that while you're flying your drone around, some busybody who doesn't like electronic cigarettes is gonna see the thing and think you're spying on her while she's in her bathing suit in the backyard and try to get you on invasion of privacy.

CALLER:  Well, I have kind of a background in some stuff that helps me also, so whenever I shoot a property, my big thing is always get a release from whoever owns it -- you know, has a right to it.  So I only fly over the properties that I know that I can, or public space.  So I don't even go there, literally.

RUSH:  Doesn't matter.  You might not even have to go there. If some busybody finds out what you're doing, and is in the drone's line of sight, they're gonna go after you because they're busybodies.

CALLER:  Yes.  Yep.  That's always a possibility.

RUSH:  I think that's where you ought to prepare yourself for opposition to your business come from is from people that think you're invading their privacy.  I mean, as far as they know, they see your drone and it could be the NSA.  Remember now --

CALLER: (laughing)

RUSH: Don't laugh, Matthew. Everybody thinks the NSA is spying on them.  Most people don't know that their lives are so boring that the NSA wouldn't care.  Most people think the NSA wants to find out what you're doing. So they see your drone up there and say, "Oh, no, no!" You say, "I'm just taking pictures for a real estate broker."

Yeah, that's what you say, but we know what you're really doing!" If they get sympathetic judges, that's what I would steel yourself for.  I think it would be fun.  In fact, I have a drone.  I was given one of these helicopters he's talking about.  (chuckling) Yes.  Neighbors have seen it, but they don't know whose it is.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Matthew, I'll tell you something else you're gonna have to keep a sharp eye out for out there, is people that want to shoot your drone down.  Just sportsmen.  They're gonna see something up there and say, "Oh, wow!" I've got a brochure from the National Association of Drones Sportsmen. It's icon, logo, is drones in the crosshairs of a shotgun sight. 

It's all about the case these guys want to make for shooting down drones if they get too close to something you're interested in.  The National Association of Drones Sportsmen.  This is not gonna end well.  Too many people are gonna see a drone and want to shoot it down. Others are gonna think it's an invasion of privacy.  Anyway.  I hope, Matthew is okay. He probably gets 400 bucks for every shoot, and probably earns his living that way.

He's probably got a $5,000 device.  UAV, they're called, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  The next thing is these drone guys are gonna arm 'em, put BBs on 'em are something. If the NADS guys show up and try to shoot 'em down, the drone is gonna fire back -- you know, in your back door (chuckling) -- and then gonna be the FAA that calls you; it's gonna be ATF.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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