Drone Advice chats with Jack Dostine about the exotic world of professional international drone cinematography. Jack creates bold digital campaigns that strategically connect brands to their audience. He currently lives in North Bondi, Sydney and is based in New York from time to time.

DroneAdvice: What led you into the world of drone cinematography and what’s your drone of choice?

Jack: I started using a drone because I thought it was exciting tech. My first was a DJI Phantom 2 a few years ago. It was terrible. It lost signal all the time and you couldn’t see what it was shooting. Plus, it cost a bomb!

My drone of choice these days is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro for pickup shots on personal projects. It’s super portable so it’s great to take around. For larger client work the DJI Inspire 2 is amazing.

Tahitian reefs
DroneAdvice: Are you operating with any custom setups?

Jack: I don’t use a specific custom hardware setup on the drone. I looked at this option early on but the price of DJI products has come down so much that you really can’t compete with the DJI Inspire 2 and their cameras at the various price points – that is unless you want some heavy lifting with Red Cameras for cinema work. But I find that the non-DJI custom option is a hard sell to clients.

DroneAdvice: It sounds as though your work has led you to some truly amazing and remote destinations – including most recently to the Arctic Circle. What’s it like being a professional globetrotter and using your drone in some of these exotic and far-flung destinations?

Jack: The travel is great. I originally got the drone to showcase the vastness of the places that I was going to, as I found it difficult doing so with just stills alone. So it was a love of travel first, then using drones to help tell the story of the places second.

Paddle boarding in Tahiti
DroneAdvice: What’s been the biggest challenge to date with your drone work?

Jack: From a commercial standpoint, it can be challenging getting approval in remote places. I once had the drone confiscated in Cuba when I was travelling there – before it opened up to the United States. That was scary, I thought someone had planted drugs in my bag due to the way they were interrogating me and my terrible Spanish didn’t help. I was relieved that it was only a drone and I quickly gave it over. I wouldn’t last 5 seconds in a Cuban prison!

An isolated Tahitian jetty
DroneAdvice: What advice would you give to any amateur or professional photographers looking to integrate drones into their kit?

Jack: 100% do it – it’s a great thing to have in your kit but remember that it’s only one technique to storytelling, especially in video. I think people get distracted by the buzz around drones or focus on features and forget it’s about finding moments and presenting a story. You need it in your kit, as nothing captures scale like a drone does, but it’s not going to automatically carry a storyline in and of itself.

* You can get in touch with Jack (pictured below) via his website

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Photos by Jack Dostine.

Jack Dostine Cinematographer Drone Pilot