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The Story of the FPoleV: The ‘Not a Drone’ Motion Pictures Software


Motion photographer Steven Donovan developed a novel option to seize aerial stunts. Referred to as the FPoleV, the outcomes have amazed on-line viewers and introduced him a cult-like following.

Donovan’s FPoleV permits him to movie dynamic and standout movies with what quantities to a custom-made 24-foot digicam pole. He posts the clips of cliff divers, skate boarders, mermaids, parkour athletes, ice skaters, BMX-ers, scooter riders, and plenty of others to his 62k followers on Instagram.

Passionate cameraman Donovan spoke to PetaPixel about his journey from cleansing bathrooms for the nationwide parks to turning into an internationally-recognized motion sports activities pioneer.

“About ten years in the past, I obtained an enormous growth crane for my GoPro and I actually liked the shot you could possibly get with it,” explains Donovan.

“Then I had a golf ball retriever, these extendable sticks to seize balls out of water or a ditch and I strapped a GoPro to that and the pictures had been horrible, I largely used it for lengthy selfies and stuff,” he continues.

“Then there was one firm who made a Kickstarter for a gimbal that had a distant so you could possibly truly management it from a distance. That was a gamechanger for what I used to be doing on the pole. So I upgraded to a 16 foot window cleansing pole so I might get these growth film pictures that I at all times liked.”

On the time, Donovan was working at Glacier Nationwide Park in Montana the place he needed to seize the attractive wilderness, however drones are banned from nationwide parks so the resourceful photographer used his trusty window cleansing pole as a substitute.

“That the place I at all times needed to be, in nature filming motion sports activities, however I didn’t have an entire lot of entry to that originally. Within the nationwide parks there was solely folks mountaineering or climbing.”

Nonetheless, Donovan had contact with a small group of cliff jumpers based mostly in Northern California. So he determined to give up the nationwide park gig, purchased a small van for $1,000 to reside out of, and hit the highway to satisfy up with the cliff divers.

“What they had been doing was actually rad, however the filming was whack. I knew with their abilities and my filming abilities it was a chance to alter the sport,” says Donovan.

“So I give up my job and lived out of my truck and adopted the cliff jumpers, and I’m nonetheless doing that now. A few of these guys at the moment are my finest pals.

“Between me bringing in a brand new aspect of filming, and them progressing so quick and pushing the bounds, it obtained the eye of all people on-line. Our clips are going viral, we didn’t get the form of sponsorships we hoped as a result of it’s an unlawful sport in some methods.”

The FPoleV

FPoleV, which is a play on phrases of FPV, happened after Donovan suffered a nasty skateboard accident leaving him unable to go on a cliff diving journey to Switzerland. Seeking to flip a foul episode into one thing constructive, he started wholesale carbon fiber poles on-line.

“There was an organization who made window cleansing poles and digicam poles, and I requested them if they may mix these two issues,” says Donovan.

“Can you set a 1/4-inch tripod mount on a window cleansing pole that extends 30 foot? We went forwards and backwards till they despatched out prototype that turned out flawlessly.”

Across the identical time, Donovan gained the GoPro Million Greenback Problem, not as soon as, however twice, and gained a major sum of money that he says was an enormous reassurance “he was on the suitable path.”

“The wholesale firm was keen to do exactly 10 poles, which was uncommon, and solely as a result of they appreciated the product, however 10 orders was quite a bit for me on the time,” explains Donovan.

“It prices hundreds of {dollars}. However I noticed if I didn’t make the order another person would transfer into the pole market and capitalize on it.”

From the preliminary order of 10, Donovan’s now bought over 160 poles. The carbon fiber FPoleV is a prosumer, not a client, product. It retails at $500, and if you need one you must message Donovan on Instagram.

360 Cameras Modified the Sport

Donovan’s hanging work is helped enormously by the development of 360-degree cameras, which suggests moderately than worrying about what’s within the body, he can reframe the pictures in put up.

“When I discovered 360, there wasn’t that a lot different there about it and I used to be ready to determine all by myself, it’s a model new mind-set of filming,” he says.

“Currently I’ve been attempting to indicate that the poles will not be only for cliff leaping, lately I shot an ice skating video with the pole and that obtained quite a lot of consideration.”

Donovan, who makes use of a GoPro Max, began to experiment by throwing the digicam after the cliff divers to get pictures he says folks “had been blown away by.”

As featured in an article by PetaPixel, he makes use of the 4 foot detachable part of the FPoleV, which floats, so he doesn’t need to “danger his personal life” by leaping with the daredevils.

“I used to get entangled with the leaping however I’m 28 now, I’m getting outdated. I’ve obtained again points which is a mixture of residing within the van and filming. Once they began doing larger jumps, I began throwing the pole in after them.”

Donovan remains to be residing a “free” way of life, which he says is extra essential to him proper now than constructing an enormous enterprise round his product.

“Proper now I’m engaged on a 15 foot micro pole and that might be extra within the selfie stick/backpack kind pole. I additionally wish to make a floating selfie stick.”



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