Ireland is renowned around the world for its stunning scenery and beautiful countryside.
One man who appreciates his surroundings as much as any is Co Carlow resident Paul Brennan. He became an internet star in March when he published a video on YouTube of a drone camera being used to herd sheep. The video went viral and Paul was interviewed by some of the biggest broadcasting companies in the world.
Since then, he has recorded several more successful videos of Irish farms using his drone camera.
We spoke to Paul about his passion for videography, and his tips and tricks for other keen videographers out there. Here is what he had to say.
My name is Paul Brennan from Skyfly Photography. I live in Carlow in the Southeast of Ireland. I specialise in aerial landscape photography and videography with an emphasis on farming. I do all of my work with a Yuneec Typhoon Q500 drone. This drone also allows me to transfer its camera from the drone to a steadygrip which I use for ground filming. My camera takes a 16mp picture and films in 1080HD. It’s is attached to a gimbal to keep my footage smooth.
Being honest I was never interested in photography until I bought my first drone (Phantom Vision) in April 2014. Then I soon found out how beautiful the Irish landscape was from the air and I began to take pictures in my local area.
I am a farmer’s son and farming has always been close to my heart and through the eyes of my drone I realised there was nothing as beautiful as a farmer at work in the Irish fields. So when taking photos became a hobby I decided to concentrate most of my time on farmers working in the fields.
Throughout 2014 I took many photos of farming landscapes and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There is nothing like being out in the fresh air in a corn or silage field on a fine summers day. When I took my first picture I had no photography knowledge and to this day I would consider myself far from being an expert. But I did know what a good photograph should look like and I learned the basics as I went along. I sometimes use Lightroom to edit my photos but it’s mostly just basic iPhoto that I use. The two biggest adjustments. I use are brightness and saturation. One of my trademarks is that I slightly over saturated my photos and videos to bring the colours to life and be more vibrant. In my opinion photographers can talk slot of nonsense about this setting or that setting because at the end of the day it’s either a good photo/ video or it’s not. And if the photo is good then it should need very little adjusting.
People ask me what kick I get out of doing this. It’s very simple, I am recording history. Yesterday I was up making a video of a neighbour making square bales of hay. Everyone thought it was a lovely video but imagine in eighty years time how valuable that piece of footage is when that farmers great great granddaughter is able to watch him making hay in 2015. With the passage of time I think my work will become more treasured and valuable, especially to the families of the farmers in the video.
Here are examples of my work on my Facebook page which is called Skyfly Photography. I display most of my work on this page. Personally I find that having a Facebook page makes it so much easier to connect with your potential audience. Your new work appears on their timeline as opposed to them having to visit your webpage.
In February 2015 I bought my second drone and decided to take a step up and start recording video from the air. Again I had absolutely no training and I am still trying to learn as I go along. I try to make a video as I would like to see it and take it from there. Normally when I go to film in a field I will record about 45 minutes of footage. I will then edit this down to about 12 mins of good footage. I then choose the music (which is the hardest part). The next edit will be done to try and balance that the footage is showing the story I want to tell and also that the flow of the footage connects to the music. To do a 4 minute video would take me about 12-18 hours including all filming and editing. I use basic iMovie to edit my footage.
One of the my high points of making videos was when I put together a video about my drone rounding up sheep on our farm. I edited it in 20 minutes and put it in YouTube. It went viral and I ended up with my video on television all over the world and I was interviewed by everyone from Fox News and the BBC to the Wall Street Journal. It was an amazing experience. The video was called Shep the Drone.
With drone photography your biggest enemies are the wind and rain as the drone will not fly in bad weather and god knows there is plenty of it in Ireland.
Thanks to Paul for telling us his story and for some great tips too. Take a look at some of his videos below.