Pilot Spotlight: Interview with WWD Ambassador, Dana Hill


Tell us your story. How did you get started in the drone industry and when did that happen?

I picked up aerial photography as a hobby. I was so inspired by my high school film class, that I pursued a career in the studio business and joined Local 728 - set lighting technician's union. While I've been lucky enough to get paid to work on TV shows, I have found photography to be an added passion on the side. As a way to spice things up, I purchased a drone as a 28th birthday present for myself and have truly been enjoying the thrill!

Tell us about your company/work/organization and your position.

I am a lighting console programmer, which for the past several years I've been working on Shameless and Animal Kingdom. I basically control all the lights, static or moving, by changing intensities, colors, and shape, and programming light cues when needed. I also founded a company on the side, called Instant Plugs, where I curate content for brands and collaborate with influencers on marketing campaigns.

What kind of drone(s) do you fly and what's your favorite thing about it?

DJI Mavic Pro. Cinematic 4K resolution and the ability to easily fit all components in my bag to carry with me wherever.

Have you learned any valuable lessons being in the drone industry you can share with our female drone community?

Be wary of wireless signals when flying a drone. The wireless signal between your drone's controller and your drone is a line-of-sight signal, which means that if something comes in the way between you and the drone then you can lose control of it. Be sure to always know where your drone is in relation to you, so you can get it back safely and don't rely on the "return to home" feature if things go haywire.

Whether its from a creative, commercial or humanitarian perspective, tell us about your most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.

I took my drone to Mammoth to really test it out for the first time. It. Was. Incredible. For someone who has been to Mammoth hundreds of times in her life, it was so unreal to see such well-known, well-traveled land from a different viewpoint.

What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?

Watch videos to get you inspired! I was self-taught and got such a thrill out of watching drone videos, which is what ultimately inspired me to go out and buy a drone.

What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?

It's great to see so many get involved! Anyone is capable of flying a drone - I work with so many amazing female directors of photography and have learned so much from them, because they seem to be a whole lot more open about sharing their secrets than the men.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?

If I'm not working, or renovating my home in my free time, then I'm probably out rescuing senior dogs from shelters.

My name is Dana Hill and I am 28 years old. I was born in Walnut Creek, CA and graduated from UCSB with a degree in film and media studies. I then moved to Los Angeles, where I pursued my passion for film. I have since joined Local 728, the Set Lighting Technician union and have worked on countless feature films, commercials, and am now working in TV at the Warner Brothers Studios.

I developed a passion for film during my high school media class and pursued that passion throughout college. I have already obtained my dream job and have expanded my interest in film by purchasing a drone. I love the freedom flying my drone gives me and will never stop loving the fresh perspectives my shots offer me.

In my free time I am either on a road trip with my drone, renovating my house in Valencia, CA, or I'm hanging out with my rescue pups!

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