Press Releases

  • Aerial MOB: An Offer We Cannot Refuse

    Aerial MOB: An Offer We Cannot Refuse

    In late September 2014, Aerial MOB became one of the first six American film production companies selected by the FAA to receive a Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to use UASs for movies, television and commercials.
    Much has changed since then. Being the godfather of the drone industry has turned out to be a goldmine for Aerial MOB. Still, in the world of media, plot-lines, personalities and silicone enhancements don’t last beyond the pilot, and it’s no different in the burgeoning drone industry. The company would not have been able to grow so fast without being able to deliver on a golden narrative. The cream always rises to the top and Aerial MOB is one of the masters of visual drone storytelling.
    “Pre-certification, we were working, on average, once every six weeks. We were doing much smaller jobs with much smaller production companies. After, we average seven to eight jobs a month,” said Tony Carmean, Aerial MOB’s co-founder and chief marketing officer.
    With golden quality comes top companies with big budgets to spend showcasing their products. Aerial MOB’s client list now includes some of the biggest entertainment and media companies in the world, including BBC, HBO, MTV, and Warner Brothers, among many others. Car companies and consumer brands like NIKE, KIA, BMW and American Express have also gravitated to the MOB for its talent to create stunning visuals.

    Tony Carmean said drones allow directors to be more efficient and more creative.
    “UASs get shots in close spaces in 20 minutes. Before you would need a half to full day just to set up,” said Carmean.
    “UASs also give cinematographers (the opportunity)…to get single continuous shots and long pans over (a landscape) that you couldn’t easily get before.”

    Aerial MOB uses about five different cameras, ranging from a low-end UAS similar to a GoPro in which the camera is built into the aircraft, to the mid-range Panasonic Lumix G DMC GH4, to the high-end Arri ALEXA Mini. The ALEXA Mini retails for $60,000.
    “All of our pilots are FAA certified and are professional cinematographers. They’re members of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600,” Carmean continued.

    As it is commercially known, the highest the devices can fly is 400 feet. Most shots are done at 100 feet and under, eliminating the need for a van full of movie production equipment like dollies, jibs, trams, and cranes. Drones save industry money, but they have also help productions to remain lean, and mean.
    Carmean said when the pilots send a $100,000 machine up to film fireworks, “there’s a lot of pressure on the pilots.”
    The UASs are covered by insurance, but must be treated carefully because many are leased. A complex shoot for a stunt and explosion-filled car commercial can last three 10 to 12 hour days in the hot, dry Southern California chaparral.
    A tight crew of UAS pilots, directors and assistants, and contracted stuntmen work closely and tirelessly to get the shots just right. They are obligated to operate under FAA guidelines, but since Aerial MOB is part of the entertainment production industry, different and stringent rules apply providing another layer of protection and safety. Governing bodies such as local and regional permit offices have assumed jurisdiction when it comes to profession drone shoots in the Golden State.
    Aerial MOB does about 60 percent of its work in Southern California. Its crew has traveled as far north as Vancouver and south as Mexico City.
    Carmean said filming in another country requires a lot of preparation.
    “You list everything you’re bringing in, and everything you’re bringing out. We still have to file paperwork with the FAA for every job. The client has to go their permitting agency (where the shoot will take place) and file with them too,” he said. It’s not an easy process.
    UAS shots are not greatly affected by air pollution. Cameras can be outfitted with different filters to give a specific tone to footage.
    “We do a lot of car commercials where the UASs chase cars on mountain roads. We filmed a guy who got mugged with a reveal shot 20 feet above his head. For the CBS show The Mentalist, we had a very cool continuous shot, with a police officer and a detective out in the woods. The camera pans over the woods and heads in a certain direction,” said Carmean.
    Carmean said his job is coordination. He is on set often.
    “We do everything from the more laid-back plate shots (background landscape shots which do not contain actors or specific set pieces) to action scenes for TV shows,” said Carmean.

    Since Aerial MOB was among the first companies to receive certification from the FAA, it is also getting attention from politicians.
    In late April 2015, Aerial MOB’s partners were guests of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) at the 3rd annual Creativity Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together policy makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists to explain how the expansion of the creative community encourages economic development.
    “We were in front of U.S. Senators and Congressmen and the news media, and met with U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). We sat with the FAA for three hours afterward. The FAA listened and made some changes,” said Carmean.
    Carmean said he and other partners explained certification for every location shoot is a little onerous. They also offered suggestions for how to streamline the FAA’s paperwork processes.
    In the coming years, Ariel MOB is looking to expand beyond show business into transportation, building, and utilities inspection.

    “We (the company) made a conscious decision three years ago (to start UAS filming) last year when the FAA was set to grant certification. It was good timing. We have four partner owners, three full-time employees, and about 15 independent contractors. We haven’t lost anybody (since we started). We want to grow,” said Carmean.

  • FAA Approves Drone Companies

    FAA Approves Drone Companies

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has granted regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies, the first step to allowing the film and television industry the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. Secretary Foxx made the announcement on a conference call with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chris Dodd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.
    Secretary Anthony Foxx also determined that the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness based on a finding they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
    “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial UAS use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight,” said Secretary Foxx. “These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance.”
    The firms asked the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. To receive the exemptions, the firms had to show their UAS operations would not adversely affect safety, or would provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemptions.
    In their applications, the firms said the operators will hold private pilot certificates, keep the UAS within line of sight at all times and restrict flights to the “sterile area” on the set. In granting the exemption, FAA accepted these safety conditions, adding an inspection of the aircraft before each flight, and prohibiting operations at night. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents.
    “The applicants submitted UAS flight manuals with detailed safety procedures that were a key factor in our approval of their requests,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground.”
    The Motion Picture Association of America facilitated the exemption requests on behalf of these six members: Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB, LLC, HeliVideo Productions, LLC, Pictorvision Inc, RC Pro Productions Consulting, LLC dba Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media, LLC. The FAA has asked for additional information from Flying-Cam, Inc., a seventh aerial video company that filed for exemptions with this group in June. The agency is working closely with the company to obtain the required information.
    The FAA encourages other industry associations to work with interested parties to develop safety manuals and standard operating procedures that will help facilitate similar petitions.
    As of today, the agency is considering 40 requests for exemptions from other commercial entities.

  • Drone World Expo – Interview with Tony Carmean

    Drone World Expo

    To find out what inspires their interest in UAS and attracts the Advisory Board Members to support Drone World Expo, we scheduled a series of exclusive interviews.

    Our second interviewee is Tony Carmean, CMO & Founding Partner, Aerial MOB, LLC. Tony oversees all aspects of marketing and overall business development for the rapidly growing company. Before forming Aerial MOB with his Partners in early 2013, Tony’s career included a 19 years in the media industry with a successful track record in business development and sports marketing. Tony has a key role in developing the unmanned aerial cinematography side of the Aerial MOB business model and has been instrumental in the company’s successful bid to become one of the first companies to receive am FAA exemption for use of unmanned aircraft on scripted closed set film productions.

    Question: Your background is in media, advertising, and sports marketing. What got you interested in UAS and aerial photography ?

    Answer: A friend of mine who is now one of my business partners got involved with flying drones as a hobby about 7 or 8 years ago. He began showing me some of the aerial footage he was getting, and about 4 years ago, we began discussing business opportunities around the commercial use of drones.

    Question: Tell us about Aerial Mob : When was it founded ? Was it doing aerial photography by helicopter before drones, or did it start out with drones

    Answer: We were founded in early 2013 so we have been in business about 2 1/2 years. Our business model has always been and will continue to be 100% drone centric. Although we are known as the first company to get a 333 exemption for use of drones in film production, our company really is “all things drones”. We work in other industries like utilities and agriculture, and we also have a product development side of our business. If it has to do with drones, Aerial MOB is involved!

    Question: What do you see as being the advantage(s) of using drones for aerial photography ?

    Answer: Perspectives that you cannot capture with any other film production tools. Most people think we replace full size aircraft in film production. We can accomplish dollie, jib, crane, Russian Arm Car, and full size aircraft shots, and not only combine them into one continuous shot that cannot be achieved any other way, but we can do it quicker, more efficiently, and for an overall lower cost.

    Question: Some people complain that the FAA is dragging its feet – others point out that they have a massive responsibility for air safety and that can’t be rushed. How do you see the FAA’s approach…?

    Answer: We lean towards the latter. The FAA has a daunting task to integrate UAS (drones) into national airspace, and they have to take a measured, methodical approach to this integration. Safety is #1, so it is just going to take time to roll out the commercial use of drones in a safe manner.

    Question: What do you see as being the main hurdles to be overcome on the path towards liberating the use of drones by aerial photographers…?

    Answer: Technology that is currently being developed by companies like us that will make it safer to operate drones commercially. Technology like seek and avoid technology and geo fencing will help greatly.

    Question: There’s been an explosion of interest in organising exhibitions and conferences about drones in the USA this year. Why did you choose to put your weight behind Drone World Expo ?

    Answer: We have been and will continually be involved with a good number of events and conferences, but the Drone World Expo stands out given it’s emerging position as THE leading conference in the US that addresses all issues related to the business of drones.

  • Panavision, Drone Company Aerial MOB Form Alliance

    hollywoodreporter.com announcement
    SEPTEMBER 04, 2015 2:03pm PT by Carolyn Giardina

    Panavision will recommend Aerial MOB as their preferred drone company in the U.S.

    Aerial MOB — a provider of drone services for feature and TV production — has reached an agreement with Panavision through which the camera and lens systems supplier will recommend Aerial MOB as its preferred drone company in the United States.

    The recommendation from lens and camera systems giant Panavision could help boost business for Aerial MOB, which has recently provided drones services on series including Supergirl, Criminal Minds Beyond Borders, The Leftovers and The Voice. (Panavision customers are not required to work with Aerial MOB.)

    “Their focus on providing advanced aerial technology, with an emphasis on safety and performance, forms a natural alliance of our two companies,” said Bob Harvey, Panavision’s executive vp, global sales and marketing.

    A year ago this month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved operator exemptions for six aerial production companies to use small, unmanned aircrafts systems (UAS), or drones, for filming motion pictures and television programming in U.S. airspace. Aerial MOB was among those six companies, and additional exemptions have been granted since them.

    This was big news when it occurred, as a growing camp in Hollywood has asserted that mounting cameras on drones offers new creative options, cost savings and, perhaps, safer sets. But regulatory issues had been a hurdle; in order to conduct a commercial operation with an unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace, users had needed a certified aircraft, licensed pilot and FAA approval. The FAA is currently working to loosen these regulatory restrictions.

  • FAA Approves Aerial MOB First Exemption Round

    For Immediate Release
    FAA Link

    September 25, 2014
    Contact: Les Dorr, Jr. or Alison Duquette
    Phone: (202) 267-3883

    Six Companies Can Now Fly Small UAS Following FAA-approved Safety Procedures

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has granted regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies, the first step to allowing the film and television industry the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. Secretary Foxx made the announcement on a conference call with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chris Dodd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.
    Secretary Anthony Foxx also determined that the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness based on a finding they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
    “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial UAS use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight,” said Secretary Foxx. “These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance.”
    The firms asked the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. To receive the exemptions, the firms had to show their UAS operations would not adversely affect safety, or would provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemptions.
    In their applications, the firms said the operators will hold private pilot certificates, keep the UAS within line of sight at all times and restrict flights to the “sterile area” on the set. In granting the exemption, FAA accepted these safety conditions, adding an inspection of the aircraft before each flight, and prohibiting operations at night. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents.
    “The applicants submitted UAS flight manuals with detailed safety procedures that were a key factor in our approval of their requests,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground.”
    The Motion Picture Association of America facilitated the exemption requests on behalf of these six members: Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB, LLC, HeliVideo Productions, LLC, Pictorvision Inc, RC Pro Productions Consulting, LLC dba Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media, LLC. The FAA has asked for additional information from Flying-Cam, Inc., a seventh aerial video company that filed for exemptions with this group in June. The agency is working closely with the company to obtain the required information.
    The FAA encourages other industry associations to work with interested parties to develop safety manuals and standard operating procedures that will help facilitate similar petitions.
    As of today, the agency is considering 40 requests for exemptions from other commercial entities.