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


Motion photographer Steven Donovan developed a singular technique 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 personalized 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 changing into an internationally-recognized motion sports activities pioneer.

“About ten years in the past, I obtained a large 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 really 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 all the time liked.”

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

“That the place I all the time wished 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 individuals mountaineering or climbing.”

Nevertheless, Donovan had contact with a small group of cliff jumpers primarily based in Northern California. So he determined to give up the nationwide park gig, purchased a small van for $1,000 to dwell out of, and hit the street to fulfill 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 vary 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 greatest buddies.

“Between me bringing in a brand new component of filming, and them progressing so quick and pushing the bounds, it obtained the eye of everyone on-line. Our clips are going viral, we didn’t get the sort 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. Trying to flip a nasty episode into one thing optimistic, 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 place a 1/4-inch tripod mount on a window cleansing pole that extends 30 foot? We went backwards and forwards 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 big sum of money that he says was an enormous reassurance “he was on the correct path.”

“The wholesale firm was prepared to just do 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 1000’s 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 it’s important to message Donovan on Instagram.

360 Cameras Modified the Recreation

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

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

“Currently I’ve been attempting to indicate that the poles usually are not only for cliff leaping, not too long ago I shot an ice skating video with the pole and that obtained lots 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 individuals “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 must “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 mix of dwelling within the van and filming. After they began doing greater jumps, I began throwing the pole in after them.”

Donovan continues to be dwelling a “free” way of life, which he says is extra vital 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 will probably be extra within the selfie stick/backpack kind pole. I additionally need to make a floating selfie stick.”



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