The last time we reported on Measure, which calls itself “The Drone as a Service Company,” it was in regards to its work in wind farming. The company uses drones to assist corporate customers that require inspection and data analysis, in hopes of making their clients’ businesses more efficient via drones. However, Measure isn’t limiting itself to industries like agriculture or inspection, as it just created M2, a drone-based entertainment division.
“We Don’t Make Drones. We Make Drones Work,” Measure says on its website. Its new nationwide entertainment division, M2, will reportedly be the country’s first drone-based, aerial storytelling company, with full-time UAV pilots. According to Amplify, there’s definite effort on Measure’s part in creating a strong foundation for M2, in regards to bringing together the right group of people.
“M2 really pulls from the best parts of Measure. We leverage Measure’s nationwide footprint. We leverage Measure’s best-in-class compliance and regulatory team, best-in-class flight ops team. We went around and brought the best pilots and cinematographers onto our team,” says Measure’s VP of Media, Jon Ollwerther.
Thus far, M2 seems to be on the right track, having hired Eric Austin, who won an Emmy award for aerial cinematography, and purchased his company, Helivideo Production. Austin has worked in television, film, and with various brands for the better part of a decade, now, notes Amplify. The focus of his former company was shooting aerial footage for television, film, and the web, and M2 certainly found it a valuable asset to secure in forming its own nascent company. However, it seems that M2 has already amassed a thoroughly impressive roster of clients, with Ollwerther’s credo “by creatives, for creatives,” leading the charge.
According to Amplify, M2 has worked with EPSN, ABC, CBS, Coach, Rhianna, The Olympic Channel, Fenty, Puma, New England Productions, Cartier, and NBC Sports. Ollwerther says that “M2 is really aggressively moving into the festival and concert space. We have tech that can do live feed for the festival, streaming feed, broadcast feed and we can do it all simultaneously.” M2 wants to assure prospective clients that they’re not simply a company of drone pilots who know how to keep the UAV’s camera focused on a performance. There’s a long history of experience at the roof of its team. “It is something very different to film for a movie and TV show or a commercial than it is to just take a pretty picture. It takes knowledge and it takes a lifetime of experience and practice and study. That’s what our team brings to the table,” says Ollwerther.
Most recently, M2 recorded aerial footage of a private Stevie Nicks concert on Governor’s Island, an item on its résumé that most certainly places the company in the upper echelon of aerial cinematography production companies. Ollwerther states assuringly, “We help costumers safely integrate drones into their festival or their concert.”
Additionally, Measure claims to have an advantage by having its headquarters located firmly in Washington D.C. This supposedly gives it a hands-on, real-time understanding of continuously evolving drone regulations and laws, resulting in another assurance of safe, legal drone operation. “We make sure that all the permitting is correct and all the safety concerns are met,” says Ollwerther. “It is such a selling point for us that we have this department of people who used to do this professionally in the military and now they do this professionally for small, unmanned aerial systems. Our flight ops team has been deployed in almost every overseas theater.” This is certainly a valuable selling-point for clients with hesitations or doubts about using drones to cover their events. This is a fairly new option, after all.
Drones have been a useful tool in entertainment for longer than you may think. That impressive aerial tracking shot you saw in a film recently was most likely accomplished via drone, whereas trained helicopter pilots were the standard for decades. Intel recently celebrated the Wonder Woman (2017) home-video release in partnership with Warner Bros., by producing a drone-based light show in Los Angeles. Billboards are becoming mobile, thanks to UAVs. One only needs to pay attention to where all of this is headed, to understand why Measure’s M2 division is a good idea.