Jamie – JAC Productions

UAVAIR Alumni Club

Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot – Visual Line of Sight)

Jamie runs a successful production business, with a keen interest in drones and an in depth understanding of the many and varied uses of this technology, Jamie has been able to expand his product offering to include:

  • Aerial still Imagery
  • Aerial High Resolution Video
  • 2D topographic mapping
  • 3D mapping and modelling
  • Asset inspections
  • Agronomic multi-spectural imaging for crop health and soil data
  • Field survey and crop damage assessment
  • Construction and project documentation
  • Real Estate and promotional events

We sat down with Jamie to chat about his training and the use of drones within his business, JAC Productions.

Tell me a little bit about your business?

JAC Productions is a business focused on producing high quality Photographic and Cinematic content. I started the business back in 2000 in Newcastle and soon found myself very busy in the music industcorporate sector along with heavy industry and social events. Newcastle is one of the best under-rated cities in the country and I enjoyed every moment there. I moved the business out to my home town of Narrabri in North West NSW in 2004 and found a whole new market in the agribusinesses and the associated corporate entities of this vital industry that proudly supplies food and fibre to the world.

The land out here is so photogenic and the people have smiles that light up the lens. The animals and landscapes are memorable and so truly Aussie. There is just so much to film and photograph on a scale that is mind blowing which fortunately is a perfect excuse for flying our UAV’s.

JAC Productions have been lucky enough to supply content for companies and marketing campaigns all over the world and produced three feature length Fishing and Adventure shows, two of which are on commercial television today. I really enjoy capturing the stories of people in a genuine heartfelt way that captures the spirit and passion of what they do and why they do it.

JAC Productions has now moved into the skies with the addition of the UAV/RPAS technology that still blows my mind every time I fly – which are most days of the week. The benefits that this technology has bought to my business are staggering and just simply amazing. We now look at the world in a totally different way and get shots we could of only dreamed about previously plus we no longer have to fork out $2500 hour for stabilised aerial imagery from a helicopter or similar.

The UAV/RPAS technology has also opened up endless opportunities to use this equipment for so many other uses other than filming and artistic photography. JAC Productions is developing our fleet to assist the agronomic world in multispectral imaging and crop health data analytics. This is a very exciting avenue and one we are learning about more and more every day.


What training did you complete to become a drone pilot?

I have been flying for 6 years and learnt from the school of hard knocks and gravity. Some lessons were learnt the hard way! What goes up will definitely come down….When I first got into the drone market there was very little option but to build your own devices and customise to your requirements, thankfully those days are behind us and the plethora of options available today should certainly come with marriage counselling. I wanted to operate commercially so when the CASA regulations where finally looking like being instated I decided to get a head of the pack and enrol with an industry trusted training provider and the best in the business – UAVAIR.

This training was extremely educational and thorough, it covered every topic a UAV Pilot could ever want and was true pilot training. The assessment process was rigorous but you walked away knowing that you now have a much better understanding of the key aviation topics and skill sets to operate efficiently and safely.

Once I completed my RePL with UAVAIR I was equipped with the knowledge to put together all the documents and procedures required to sit for the CASA ReOC Operators certificate. This certificate allows me to operate commercially in my own business and operate a fleet of aircraft along with the legal entity to employ other pilots.


Tell me about an interesting drone operation you have completed and how?

Every job certainly has some element of interest apart from trying to dodge the eagles and hawks that are a constant battle out here in the bush. I guess a really interesting area that I have been focusing on lately has been the survey mapping and 3D modelling of cropping fields in excess of 250 Hectares. To put that into perspective it is like imaging 250 football fields from 50m AGL. This requires an extreme amount of batteries, patience, aerogard and concentration.

A job of this size will see over 3500 images taken, several near miss bird strikes (some not so near missed) at least one or two crop duster aircraft will ground you as they travel through, 15 batteries and the swallowing of at least 5 flies over several hours. Out here safe operating practices and radio communications are vitally important as agricultural regions have extreme use of low flying crop duster aircraft – when I say low flying I mean one meter off the ground one second and pulling up and banking left and right to turn around for another pass the next minute. These aircraft travel between sites at very low altitude at very fast speeds so it is a constant watch, listen and communicate when in the field.

All the images captured are then stitched together over a 24 hour period and presented to the client for their use. This data will assist in making decisions about crop health or determining other factors of interest. This technology has allowed us to gather this information in way that could never be done to this level of detail previously.


What was the most beneficial piece of knowledge you took out of your training with UAVAIR?

That is a tough question based on there was so much beneficial information learned during the UAVAIR training, I guess the best component for me was fully understanding the flight zones and where we can and can’t fly – this is a much more complex area than many give credit or respect to. Having the knowledge and experience now to determine where I am flying is legal, safe and compliant gives me much more confidence and peace of mind.