The Story of the FPoleV: The ‘Not a Drone’ Action Photography Tool


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FPoleV Imagery

Motion photographer Steven Donovan developed a singular method 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 digital camera pole. He posts the clips of cliff divers, skate boarders, mermaids, parkour athletes, ice skaters, BMX-ers, scooter riders, and lots of others to his 62k followers on Instagram.

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

“About ten years in the past, I acquired a large increase crane for my GoPro and I actually cherished the shot you possibly can 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 photographs 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 possibly can 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 may get these increase film photographs that I all the time cherished.”

On the time, Donovan was working at Glacier Nationwide Park in Montana the place he needed to seize the gorgeous 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 needed to be, in nature filming motion sports activities, however I didn’t have a complete 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 dwell out of, and hit the highway 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 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 buddies.

“Between me bringing in a brand new aspect of filming, and them progressing so quick and pushing the bounds, it acquired 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, took place after Donovan suffered a nasty skateboard accident leaving him unable to go on a cliff diving journey to Switzerland. Trying to flip a foul episode into one thing constructive, he started taking a look at wholesale carbon fiber poles on-line.

“There was an organization who made window cleansing poles and digital camera 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 received the GoPro Million Greenback Problem, not as soon as, however twice, and received a major sum of money that he says was an enormous reassurance “he was on the correct path.”

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

“It prices hundreds of {dollars}. However I spotted 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 shopper, product. It retails at $500, and in order for you one you need 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 suggests reasonably than worrying about what’s within the body, he can reframe the photographs in put up.

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

“These days I’ve been attempting to point out 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 acquired lots of consideration.”

Donovan, who makes use of a GoPro Max, began to experiment by throwing the digital camera after the cliff divers to get photographs 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 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 previous. I’ve acquired again points which is a mixture of dwelling within the van and filming. Once they began doing larger jumps, I began throwing the pole in after them.”

Donovan remains 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 might be extra within the selfie stick/backpack sort pole. I additionally need to make a floating selfie stick.”

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