Pilot Spotlight: Interview with WWD Ambassador Carys Kaiser
Location: Manchester/ Peak District UK
Tell us about yourself.
I am passionate about encouraging more women to fly drones. 4 years ago, I set up a blog and social media presence as "The Drone Lass", and I know I have inspired others to fly. That is not just women but men as well. I love horses and dogs although I don't own any. To keep fit, I walk in the hills, run and ride a mountain bike. I am passionate about drones, architecture, culture, books, photography, cameras and travel.
What inspired you to begin flying drones, and what made you want to enter the industry as a drone pilot?
I was working in the camera department of the BBC, and production teams were coming in talking about drones. I was fascinated and read lots on the internet. Then, I saw a clip from the NYC Drone Film Festival and decided that I needed a drone. A drone would add to my skill set as a filmmaker and TV camera operator.
What made you make the transition?
I don't think I have made a transition really. I feel that I have added to my skill set and improved my employability as a person. I get booked for lots of reasons: as a Filmmaker, Shooting Producer Director, Camera Operator, and also as a Drone Operator. It has become a combination of all my skills. Although, more and more of my working time and income is drone related.
What drone are you currently flying?
I fly an Inspire 1, Phantom P4P x 2 and a Mavic 2 Pro
What is your favorite feature on your drone and why?
The camera on my Dji Mavic 2 Pro is insane as the colour space is amazing. I loved both the x5 and x7 cameras. You can create amazing footage and stills, and I really enjoy flying it as it is compact. I have flown it and the Dji Inspire 2 for some of the companies I fly for.
What drone images are you most proud of and why?
The new photos I am taking at the moment. I am challenging myself to come up with higher quality images and trying to see the landscape. There is some amazing drone photographers out there, and they are inspiring me to do more stills and make them better.
Have you learned any valuable lessons from being in the drone industry that you can share with our female drone community?
You have to constantly evaluate your own work and be supportive to yourself. Ignore the inner critic that says you can't do something. I have learned that we all have to be beginners at something so allow yourself to be a beginner. Also, learning is a lot of fun. Equally, don't say you can do something unless you have the skills to carry you through. If you don't have the skills, learn them.
Whether it's from a creative, commercial or humanitarian perspective, tell us about your most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.
I fly a lot for BBC Breakfast, and they are always LIVE. To think my pictures are being sent live out to UK homes makes for a memorable experience every time. I try not to think of what might go wrong. Commit to the shot and go for it.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
You must go for it. It is amazing standing in a field or wherever flying a drone. It is fun, challenging, exciting, technical, creative, and who knows where it might lead you.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?
To feel that I am not the only woman doing this is the most wonderful feeling. Also, I see that the industry is going to twist and turn to be something we haven't yet thought it will be. We are at the beginning. Yes, it may be 6 years since the first consumer drones, but the tech is getting better and better and more affordable. I say all the time the drone industry, even as a hobby, is a level playing field for women. Let's be present, lets show up!
Do you have any drone tips & tricks you can share with our audience?
Keep calm and practice flying. Learn about whatever drone you have and whatever drone you can afford. Don't feel you need to constantly update. Although we all love new tech, you can get a lot out of what you currently own. Try and do your own thing and don't constantly compare yourself to others. Be inspired but don't steal others ideas.
What's the best way for our readers to get in touch with you?
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
I love maps and perhaps that was a hidden bit in becoming a PfCO holder in the UK. I have copies of maps in my house and adore the aviation maps. I'm totally geeky about all drone aspects.
She has been flying drones professionally for over four years. She is a camera operator and shooting producer/director for TV and has flown drones for major TV companies including the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and various independent production companies. Carys has appeared on BBC 5 Live, BBC News channels, Good Morning Britain and in The Guardian as a drone industry spokesperson and expert. She is a public speaker and educator can be found flying drones in the Peak District, near Manchester and is a PFCO UAV flight instructor in the UK. One of very few female instructors. She writes a blog entitled The Drone Lass. She has spoken at lots of events about drones including the Photography show UK and The Video show UK.