Vadim Sherbakov Interview
For those who don’t know him yet, Vadim Sherbakov (@madebyvadim) is a multi-talented creative force based in Moscow, Russia. Despite his expertise in web UX/UI design and art directing, Vadim has set out to further explore artistic passions in the last few years, finding success in not only traditional photography, but aerial photography & videography as well.
Recently featured as a top 25 best drone photographer, among many other awards, Vadim is already making waves and gaining fans worldwide. I’m glad to call Vadim an inspiration, and more importantly a new friend after speaking with him for this extended Q&A session. This is one you’re not going to want to miss!
Table of Contents
Tip: Use these jump links and the barrow button at the bottom right of your screen to move around the page!
3. Intro to Drones
4. Filmmaking & travel
5. Drone Regulations
6. Russian Drone Community
7. DJI & Polar Pro
8. Drone Hardware
9. 2017 Plans
10. Syrp Hardware
11. Timelapse, Dronelapse, and Aerial Photography
12. Creative Pursuits
Vadim: I changed drastically from being a corporate head, doing business, which I don’t really like, to creative stuff. And since then, I’m just doing totally creative stuff.
Again, the photography drone stuff and videography is like a hobby of mine obviously. But still, I do creative work. I’m an art director which is doing websites, interactive websites. And this is my main job for many years.
But my background in creative started in films, TV shows and things like that. I worked again as an art director in a CG company, a computer graphics company doing some stuff for films (basically, feature films. I worked for a Russian company. You’ve never, ever heard of them. If you’re Russian, maybe you’ve heard of them. I worked on a couple of things—one, again, in Russia. And then we moved to web design.
Not to get stuck in total web design kind of stuff, I pursued the hobby of photographs, videos, and recently, droning (which I fell in love with). And that’s it! That’s a small portion of my background or something like that.
Spencer: I feel where you’re coming from. Right now, my main job is in a very big corporation. I sit in literally a gray cube. And kind of the same as you, I’m finding it’s really fun to create, and that gives me a lot more happiness than it does just taking orders all day.
Do you think you get a lot of benefit out of your work as a creative? You design the direction. Whatever you want to do, you go create it. Do you find that satisfying?
Vadim: Absolutely! Absolutely. It’s a little bit different in Russia from America because we are pressured to, straight after high school, go to the university or some sort of higher education. And obviously, if you don’t pursue this kind of thing, your relatives, your close relatives will be saying, “Oh, my God! This is crazy. You’re missing something in your life. You’re not going to be a whole person.” Crazy, crazy stuff!
The one thing I like about Americans, they can all—maybe not all of them, but most of them can get like a year when you decide…
Spencer: Yes, a year. “Take your time. Figure it out.”
Vadim: Exactly! We don’t have this opportunity. Straight after the high school—the men, obviously not the women—the men goes to the military service. It’s mandatory. And obviously, it’s really, really bad. We have a bad situation. And we have to some kind of avoid that.
So, this is another pressure. It’s completely different from America. And maybe it’ll be difficult to understand. But still, for us, it’s still a pressure.
So, coming back to that, when I was young, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a DJ. I wanted to be a business person. I don’t know. I have no idea.
So, my parents have taken the initiative. They said, “Okay, okay. You have to do something. This is university. Let’s try and do this one.” And obviously, it was business because they are business-oriented people, my parents. And I went for that.
I was living in the UK for five years, working in the UK for five years and things like that, but it’s totally not my thing. And unfortunately, I realized this a bit later in my life.
And then, I completely changed that around. I said, “Okay, no more business. No more acquiring business stuff, offices, and cubicles and things like that. I want to have creative freedom. I want to create something.”
Even during those days, those years, I was doing some creative work. I would photograph this for a friend. It’s completely bullshit. Completely, I messed it up. But I felt like, “Wow! That was creative. That’s what I wanted to do.” It completely changed.
An opportunity presented itself. My parents know a guy from a sport TV channel and just asked, “Okay, this is my son. Can you just help him out maybe for two months? And when he realized that it’s total bullshit, he will go back to business and forget about that,” but I didn’t. I stuck to that.
I went and I was a designer, and then moving on, moving on. I was snowball-rolling there. I stuck through this and changed a few—not jobs, but mainly—well, you could say they’re jobs, but they’re related to creative stuff like CG, then films, then advertising, then go back to what I really, really liked, web design, interactive web design, promotion, promos, everything moving and things like that.
So, I totally understand that my creative side has taken over the old business side. It’s a blast. It’s really, really a blast. Obviously, I don’t want to go back to any business, any cubicles, any offices.
Spencer: Do you find that now that you’ve reached—I mean, I would say that you’ve definitely reached some success. You’ve got a little bit of a global reach. You’re working with DJI and Polar Pro. Is there a little part of you that wants to go back and say to all your family and relatives, “See? Look what I’m doing now!”
Vadim: They are very supportive on all of my movies. My mom likes it. My dad likes it. You know what I mean? They are very, very supportive.
Obviously, I was joking when I said my father wants me to go back to business. He really didn’t care as long as I’m happy. I obviously have money support from my family. I’m married, but without children.
That’s it! They are extremely supportive. I think they more happy than when I was miserable and doing some business work. They are absolutely, absolutely happy.
Spencer: That’s great. I can tell your voice and by your passion that you’re super excited about it.
It’s inspiring. I mean, it’s a lot more satisfying to do creative work and go make films. I get what you’re saying where you feel like, sometimes, you might think it’s bullshit or whatever. You’re just creating it for yourself. But when it makes you happy, sometimes, it doesn’t even matter, “I think this is cool, so I’m just going to do it.”
Vadim: Absolutely! Absolutely, absolutely. It’s the same with me.
And actually, the same with my wife. She was working even more than me in the business industry in advertising. She was a client director and doing some really great work with the clients and creative stuff, but managing client entry and things like that. She’s a client director. And she also completely changed her life.
She went for freelance, but she’s doing some jewelry. So, she’s making this stuff—and instead of me, digital.
Spencer: Pushing pixels.
Vadim: Yeah, pushing pixels, stuff like that. She is doing real work with her hands, welding and things like that.
Vadim: And also, a family of freelancers. I’m a freelancer. She’s a freelancer. And obviously, both of us are doing creative field jobs or work, and we’re alone.
Obviously, I’d only go back if it’s something really terrible or, I don’t know, something’s happening where I have to go back to work for an office or a client.
But that’s another thing. I went freelancing a long time ago. And now, I cannot go back. I cannot work for a company, even doing the creative stuff. If somebody said, “Could you work for us as an art director” or something like that, I obviously would say no because I really, really like freelancing and working for myself.
Spencer: So, you pick your projects and you set the schedule. I mean, if you want to go have a Skype interview with a random guy from the Internet, you can go do that.
Vadim: Absolutely! And obviously, I will be cheating to say you can do whatever you want as a freelancer. No, because you have the same stuff as a company. You have deadlines for projects and things like that. But obviously, you can say no to any other project and go back and shoot films and what-not.But this really gives me the freedom and the satisfaction in what I do.
Spencer: Ah, that’s fantastic to hear. Like you said, it’s a snowball. I can see it from some of your past work. I feel like it keeps going. You’ve got a lot of momentum right now, so I don’t think you’ll ever have to look back.
Vadim: I hope so. I’m actually not very young, but I hope I have some momentum going.
Introduction to Drones
Spencer: Yeah! Age doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s about the work you do and how happy you are.
I want to ask a little bit more about how you moved from photography into drones. How did you get your first one? How did you get inspired? Did you see a video and go buy one? How did you jump into that?
Vadim: Actually, I’ve been doing the photography for a few years, and then stopped completely. I was involved with web design, CG, IBM and things like that. It’s just photography was not my priority. I stopped. I don’t know why.
Maybe something wasn’t working as I imagined this photography to work. And I stopped.
And then, I went to Iceland—the first time, not the last winter, but the first time I went to Iceland—and there was like a click where I said, “Okay, I have to do photography again. I have to, I have to do it. I saw an amazing tutorial by Elia Locardi”—you’ve heard of him. He’s an amazing landscape photographer.
I purchased the tutorial and things like that. And I was, “Okay! Now, I know what to do. It’s not shoot like this before. The things, the awful things I’ve done with the photography. Now, I know what to do. Now, I know.”
I was so passionate about that. And then, a few of my friends showed me a few videos of drones just flying. I was like, “Wow! This is so amazing! This is impossible. This is impossible.”
It was a few years ago before DJI, I think, even Phantom 2. I checked some links, and the prices for the drone, I thought, “Oh, my God! No, I have to sell some part of my body to get that drone. No way I can afford that, no way.”
And then, DJI came out with the Phantom 3 Pro. I was, “Oh, my God! This is it! This is it.”
I mean, I obviously jumped into this bandwagon a little bit later because everybody was using the Phantom 2, and by the Phantom 3 Pro, they were already professionals. But I just jumped into Phantom 3 Pro, and I was amazed at the new opportunities, the new angles, perspectives. It came from photography more to the drone photography than videography.
But purchasing the drone, I was thinking, “It’s going to be flying photos, a flying camera”—not a video camera, just a floating camera, nothing else.
And then, I said to myself, “Okay, it’s amazing for photography, but I can do great videos.” Maybe my background from films somehow helped me with the editing and the sound effects and things like that. And it just went from that.
But it started just as photography, as a floating camera.
Spencer: I’m really having the same kind of feeling when I saw the first one. It was about a year ago, and I just saw one. I saw the price. I got the Phantom 3 Pro. I think that’s the one you use, right?
Vadim: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Spencer: Yeah, I saw that one. I did all the research for weeks and weeks. I wouldn’t travel anywhere without it in 2016. It’s been really cool.
For me, I’m a very amateur photographer, and it makes my photography look really good because people don’t really expect to see drone pictures. I get a lot of like, “Hey, great job!” which is really new for me. I like it!
Vadim: Absolutely like that, yeah.
Filmmaking & Travel
Spencer: Cool, man! So you obviously do a lot of travel with your drone and go to some amazing places. I mean, you talked about Iceland. That’s from your video, Vindur. Just gorgeous! And then, you mentioned the place in Italy. Is it Val di Funes?
Vadim: Yeah. It’s Val di Funes, the region. But obviously, you can call this Dolomites. I don’t know how this Italian sound correctly. I call it “do-lo-mi-ty” which is a mountain range. I love it!
I mean, I’ve never been to America. And probably, I will fall in love with American mountains and the ranges. But for now, Dolomites is one of my favorite, favorite locations. And I did not even explore it yet fully.
Everywhere you go, you can see different angles. There’s another one which is in previous videos as well. I think it’s called In the Air. It’s just the opener of this. It’s again, Dolomites, it’s an amazing, amazing arrangement.
And obviously, for me, it’s easy to travel to Italy or, I don’t know, Australia or… It’s quite cheap.
Spencer: Is there anywhere you want to go next? Those places are amazing! I’ve met a couple of folks who are doing really great work in South Africa and Western Australia.
Vadim: We actually planned for this year to go to Norway again. I want to have like a Vindur version 2, but for Norway.
Vadim: We just came back from Portugal—amazing place as well. Oh, all the surprises! I mean, for me, I didn’t expect Portugal to be so amazing. The cliffs and the coastline is… wow!
I don’t have anything close to that basically in Moscow, in Russia. It’s just flat, flat, flat for a thousand kilometers. The nearest mountain is like 3000 km. away from […] my house. But there’s nothing, nothing, nothing there really.
Spencer: We can’t fly a drone that far yet.
Vadim: No, unfortunately not… or maybe fortunately actually. 5 km….that’s enough. In Iceland, I just beat my own record, I flew 2 km. away.
Sorry, I speak in kilometers because, obviously, it’s our measurement. Two kilometers away, that’s the most I can fly. Nothing else! I mean 300 meters, 500 meters, that’s what I usually operate within.
Anyway, Norway and Japan. I would fly to Japan, but just for photography because I don’t think the drone will be really appropriate.
Spencer: Right! They’re pretty sensitive about it.
I had a chance to go to Tokyo last November. Beautiful! It’s the number one place on my list to go back, Tokyo and Kyoto. It’s an amazing place. The people are very friendly.
But they do have a lot of rules in the parks and things about drones. I talked to SuperIdol JP who did a drone video in southern Japan. And I think they have some pretty strict regulations.
So, I agree with you, street photography, you’ll have plenty to look at there, for sure.
Vadim: I will take my Mavic Pro with me just in case if opportunity happens—obviously, not Tokyo and the Kyoto, but maybe some mountains. You know, they have crazy zig-zagging roads somewhere in the middle of the country, maybe like that, for a quick snapshot, but nothing crazy.
Vadim: I also respect the rules. Obviously, as we know, with the drone rules, it’s almost impossible to respect them all. But I try to do my best. I try to fly from absolutely secure locations. I fly as minimal as possible, just shooting straight at things and planning before that.
People ask me, for example, when I drone or fly in Rome (in Italy, in Rome), “How can you do that?” I found an absolutely secure location—nobody ever there, just on the embankment of the river. Just fly for two minutes, three minutes, and that’s it! I had it fly over the river, and not over the town or things like that.
Spencer: I think, sometimes, you have to do things first without asking permission. That’s just something I’ve learned over the last couple of years. Every time I ask for something I want to do that’s usually not for the rules, people tell you no. So I’d rather just go do it.
Vadim: Absolutely! And I mentioned earlier, Elia Locardi who does absolutely amazing landscape photography, he’s also a DJI ambassador. He was basically doing the same stuff.
I mean, he’s saying that we’re all thinking. If you’re okay, if you’re careful enough, if you’re doing everything within the universal rules of not flying high, you’re not flying far, you’re not flying over the people or over the building, no, just do it very quickly and go back.
If somebody asks you not to do it, you just politely smile, and obviously obey that and go somewhere else. Otherwise, we’ll be buried in bureaucracy of the permits and things like that.
Spencer: That’s a good lead-in. I want to ask you how is the drone community in Russia and in Moscow? Have you connected with anyone else doing the same thing? Is it difficult to get a permit?
Vadim: It’s actually very strange here.
First, about a year ago, the rule was released, and it was so strict. You can’t fly a drone heavier than something like 20 grams.
And then you have to register through their aviation society or aviation ministry, something like that.
But then, it’s completely changed after one month. You don’t have to register your drone which is heavier than 51 kilos. 51 kilos!
Spencer: That’s quite a lot.
Vadim: Me, it’s like me. I’m 60 kilos. I’m 60 kilos. So basically, I have to be flying myself, then I’ll have to register myself as a drone or something.
Spencer: That’s a big drone.
Vadim: It is big! Obviously, I’ve never heard of a drone which is—I’ve never seen a drone that’s 51 kilos.
Spencer: That’s because its a plane!
Vadim: I would love to see that. I think even DJI’s biggest and baddest 8-propeller drone is like, I don’t know, 30 kilos maybe.
Spencer: Right, maybe. Maybe it’s that big. They’re not big, but you don’t need much. It’s almost like a missile at that point.
Vadim: It is, it is! And they changed it, I don’t know why.
Usually, Russian rules are all stupid rules, and this one wasn’t an exception—in a good way because you don’t have to register.
So, basically, no one can stop you from flying. But if they see you flying, they can ask for permission. You still have to have permission. But again, nobody knows how to get permission. Not like the FAA in America where you have a certain rule you follow and you apply for this and you apply for that and you have permission. It’s like, “You need permission, but we don’t know how you get permission.”
Spencer: I see. It’s more of a dance. Less of a hard and fast science, more of an art. It’s more about finding a good opportunity.
Vadim: It’s the Russian way to get this. “Okay, have permission, but we don’t know how to get this permission,” something like that. I don’t know! It’s crazy. It’s a crazy, crazy rule. I mean, this is the Russian rule.
So, technically, if you come to Russia, if you don’t see anybody complaining or you’re in a very secure location, you just fly.
And then, if somebody came to you and said, “Okay, you can’t fly in here,” you say something like “Ah, I don’t have to have permission. My drone is not 51 kilos. My drone is very small.” Be like that.
Russian Drone Community
Vadim: The community in Russia is a very—not diverse, but you can’t find any single DJI forum related to drone community and you can find everybody. It’s like everywhere—it’s like five people here, ten people here, somebody is here, and other people are in Facebook and other people are in the forum of the DJI dealer or something like that. So really, it’s scrambled across the country.
I know a couple of guys and a girl who do amazing photography in Russia. They are living in St. Petersburg—not in Moscow, but St. Petersburg in…
Spencer: You must be talking about Arina.
Vadim: Yeah, exactly.
Spencer: She does fantastic work!
Vadim: She does. And another guy who’s doing an amazing job—Smelov.Photo. He does amazing work. Again, he’s a photographer, but he came to the drone through photography. He’s also doing amazing work.
But that’s it! Every other Russian I saw or heard about is like maybe a company guy, maybe a company guy working for the company…
Spencer: Sure, inspecting an oil field or something like that.
Vadim: Something like that. They’re not really creative. It’s more of business or, I would say, boring stuff.
So, for me, community is more about people from Europe or America or Australia. But Russia, I don’t know what they’re thinking.
Spencer: Sure! That just means you get to stand out because you don’t have a lot of competition.
The thing is that most Russians, they don’t speak English. They’re more secluded in the Russian community. Most people are speaking Russian.
We’re not globally known as a brand or as a person. So that’s probably one of the reasons why there are not more Russian drone pilots.
DJI & Polar Pro Ambassadorship
Spencer: Speaking of global reach, and you mentioned working with DJI and Polar Pro, I’m curious about how that works. How did you get in touch with them? And what does a sponsorship with them look like?
Did they sponsor you to go create videos? I noticed you just put one up of waves crashing on the shore for Polar Pro.
Vadim: I don’t want to disappoint you, but I don’t have any relationship with DJI unfortunately.
Spencer: Oh, okay. I’m sorry. I misunderstood that.
Vadim: Actually, they like all my stuff. They put it in all of their forums and YouTube channels and things like that. But when I reached them personally saying, “I’d like to have a content creator’s position or a freelance content creative,” they never responded to me.
If you know the guy called Ronny… DH…DroneHeroes?
Spencer: Oh, yeah. I mean, some of these pictures are even ones I’ve featured, for sure.
Vadim: His name is Ronny. He’s from Holland. We’re online friends. We met sometimes in Russia and things like that.
So, he had 70,000 followers—not big, but not a small number of followers. And even he’s struggling with any kind of relationship with DJI. Obviously, he didn’t ask about, “Okay, send me an Inspire 2” No! He’s just, “Guys, can we discuss some creative possibility? I shoot for you, collaboration…” Zero! Zero. Zero response.
Vadim: So, technically, for me with my puny 14,000 or 15,000 followers and things like that, even the DJI knows me already through the YouTube channel, there’s no chance of being recognized by DJI.
I am an ambassador with Polar Pro. They recognized me straightaway. They use my portfolio. They offered me ambassadorial position, and it’s working great.
This is what a relationship with ambassadors and cooperation looks like for me. They send me stuff, free stuff. They didn’t ask me, “Okay, Vadim, could you please create something, you walking with our drones” or whatever. No! They ask, “Just make a great picture and use this hash tag because this is what we’re all about.”
Vadim: We don’t maybe want this “Okay, this is my field test from…” And they’re absolutely right. This stuff is too direct.
Spencer: It’s not authentic. People can see right through that.
Vadim: Exactly! It’s in your face.
Obviously, I put some pictures with Polar Pro field test on my accounts. But it’s because I like the scenery. Obviously, I’ve also taken photos and videos, and all of my photos are made with a Polar Pro.
And it’s completely true because I was using Polar Pro before they reached me. I purchased myself some field test. I loved them! And then, they reached out to me and said, “Okay, would you like to be our ambassador?” and then I said, “Obviously, of course.”
They send me their stuff. They’re really great for a product. I don’t take this for granted. It’s really great stuff!
Again, they are really good to have the right partnership or relationship with their goodwill ambassadors. DJI, unfortunately no.
Spencer: Hopefully, they continue to get smarter. But then again, DJI is not—they make a good drone, but they’re not everything. There are so many other folks out there in the space.
It’s cool to hear that you have a good working partnership. Being a guy who’s really new to creative style work, making some websites and making some drone videos trying to sell them here, people like to devalue any creative work and say things like, “You should do it for free for exposure.” They want to just treat your work like a commodity.
So, when I see that you have a partnership that’s a two way street, that’s encouraging.
Vadim: Absolutely! And I think if I push forward and I make even more noise, I probably—sometimes, I’d get through to DJI or any other related industry folks. But again, I think DJI is too concerned with their followers at the moment. They’re jumping to this former bandwagon too late, too late.
They’re thinking followers are the key, but it was like two or three years ago. Now, content is the key. Obviously, they’re getting smart, they are getting more creative people. And then, probably, something will change from that perspective. Not only the followers will count as the main reason they are pursuing this person.
Spencer: Yeah, I think you have to divorce the two because you can have fake followers. If engagement is low, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.
So, just keep doing what you’re doing, man. I think people really resonate with your work.
Spencer: I watched your tutorial on Lightroom tips on how to edit. That kind of look behind-the-scenes was really awesome, man. I want to thank you for doing that, and encourage you to keep doing more videos like that.
Vadim: I would love to make more tutorials. I was thinking about that. People ask me a lot about my color correcting and grading for the films because the struggle with the—and they may not believe me that I’m doing this on Phantom 3. I’m thinking, “Okay, it must be the Inspire. It must be an Inspire or something like that.”
Spencer: I want to talk about that point because when people say that, and they don’t ask about your work, they say, “Oh, what’s your equipment?”, it’s kind of like, “Oh, yeah, the equipment did all the work.” No, the equipment doesn’t really matter up to a certain point, right?
Vadim: Absolutely! You’re saying exactly what I’m saying. It doesn’t matter what you’re using, it only matters that you created that absolutely amazing video. You probably saw amazing Mavic films or short clips or videos just about recently. And [the hardware] doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter.
Vadim: But again, going back to tutorials, I want to create this tutorial for grading and color correction on video exactly—and the drone video. There are a lot of beautiful, helpful and cool tutorials for the color correcting and grading. But I didn’t find so many which is emphasizing drone only. They’re talking about correcting your iPhone’s videos…
How can you shoot with the Sony-something-A7, blah-blah-blah and correct this, and things like that.
But nobody even talk about—not even producing necessarily, but which is drone specific, addressing the drone problems you have with sharpness and the waves on the horizon.
Spencer: Yeah, questions like how you balance the brightness of the sky with the dark landscape and all these new challenges, right?
Vadim: I want to create this tutorial. And also include the problem solving of the skewed horizon. Sometimes, in Phantom 3, you know this problem where you have a horizon and there’s a bulk in the middle. I also addressed this one in—maybe more than once because I was using After Effects .But still, it’s a professional correcting the horizon.
But I have no time. This is my problem. I have no time. And I would love to do more.
Spencer: Competing priorities, for sure.
Spencer: We talked a little bit about this year. You might want to go to Norway and do a Vindur round two possibly. What other projects are you really interested in?
You mentioned Japan. Do you have any big videos you want to make specifically or other locations or any collaborations you want to do differently this year?
Vadim: Absolutely! I want to create the second version of Icarus. Icarus is like a homage to Phantom 3. I took the best of the best from Phantom 3 for all the period of two years.
I want to do the same, like a second video as well, possibly anything from Portugal, maybe then Japan. I will add some film from Japan, some film from Norway (which I will not use in the Vindur 2), and then combine them hopefully in a year-long experience and create a second Icarus video.
It’s taking too long of a time to create. What I’m saying to all of my people who follow me or ask me the question, I tell them that don’t just put the video out straightaway. “Okay, I went to shoot in my backyard, so here’s the video.” Collect them!
Obviously, from Portugal, I have already posted some videos. But still, just collect the best parts, and then create some amazing video.
Vadim: Obviously, it will take longer, maybe half a year (or maybe a year or two or whatever), but it’s going to be an amazing, amazing video at the end of a day. Don’t just throw away, “I just went to this beautiful location. Here’s the video.” And then, you go dump everything.
Spencer: Right! I think people have a very short attention span when it comes to “Okay, I’m flying on a beach,” and ten seconds later… I think to highlight a real style, especially when you have a theme to it, people really love that.
Vadim: So this is my goal. It’s immediately more related to photography if you’re interested in that.
Syrp Timelapse Hardware
Vadim: Okay. I’m trying to apply to a few companies again for this ambassadorial partnerships. One of them is Syrp if you know them. It’s a timelapse…
Spencer: Syrp, I haven’t heard of them.
Vadim: It’s in New Zealand. They produced an amazing equipment for the timelapse, the best one I saw.
I’m talking to them. “Maybe you can send me your free stuff…”
Spencer: Are they doing like slider rails or…?
Vadim: Yeah, exactly. Exactly!
You can check their website . They’re absolutely amazing.
And they are, I would say, cheap for what they do. It’s not so expensive comparing price and features. That’s kind of the thing to know—price and features. I have one item from them already. I bought it from my own money, and I fell in love with it.
Vadim: It’s like a hockey puck. It’s very small. This is my phone, so it’s very small. You just put this on a tripod. Here, you have your power. And it rotates…
Spencer: Oh, it rotates it automatically.
Vadim: And this actually have an amazing app. So you can shoot timelapses on rotation. It’s like a full day’s worth of battery.
It’s amazing. Amazing! And you just plug your cord here and to the computer, and it’s taking care of everything. 360, 120, 180 degree and things like that.
So it’s absolutely amazing. I fell in love with this product.
So, I reached out to them and to all these other companies. We’ll see what happens with these collaborations. Maybe we can have some special, exclusive content for them.
These are my goals. I don’t want to say that I want to be a freeloader obviously. But I want to have some product which I really, really like, but probably don’t because, again, photos and videos isn’t just my hobbies. If I was working on that, I’m always looking for other stuff as well.
But obviously, I want to be creating amazing things like that for the collaboration.
So, it’s not total freeloader, “Give me a free stuff,” not stuff like that. But I’m really thinking of stuff that I really, really love and want to work with and create some stuff for me and for them as well. It’s like a win-win situation.
Anyway, it’s a common thing. I think you know all of these. But this is my goal this year, have more collaboration, more collaborative work. And it’s been my boundaries as well to creating these timelapses and things like that which I’m not very proficient at.
Timelapse, Dronelapse, and Aerial Photography
Spencer: Timelapses is the really interesting intersection of photography and video.
I’ve got the Phantom 4 Pro coming today. I sold my Phantom 3 Pro. I shed a couple of tears. But I’m really excited because it’s got this timelapse feature on it where you can set it, and it’s essentially like a sliding rail, but in the sky. So, we could do a lot of cool dronelapse photography with it. I’m really excited to try that too.
Vadim: You will be amazed. I mean, I didn’t even think twice when I saw Phantom 4 Pro (I obviously just have the Phantom 3 Pro). I wouldn’t think twice to order that because it’s a game-changer. It’s absolutely amazing!
They have a manual shutter. They have a…
Spencer: …a one-inch sensor.
Vadim: Amazing! I didn’t have so much time to play with this, but what I saw is a hundred megabytes per second video. It’s amazing! One thing that I really don’t like about this—or don’t like yet about this—is the focus. Oh, my God! This is a nightmare. The focus, oh, my God! I almost forgot about this a couple of times.
You know this stuff. The Phantom 3 is infinity-focused all the time. But this, this is really tricky stuff.
Spencer: It adds another dimension, but it is nice to have that aperture control—especially for landscape shots too.
And there are a lot of really big people online who are doing all kinds of comparison videos. “Hey, here’s F5.6, here’s F11. Play with it.” So, for people who can use that like yourself, I think there’s a lot to do there.
And then, you can play with that and the filters too. I mean, it’s basically like taking this guy [holds camera] and it puts it in the sky.
Vadim: Actually, I was waiting for this. After Phantom 3, I was waiting for Phantom 4. And I think Phantom 4 Pro is what they should have released after the Phantom 3 straightaway.
Spencer: Yes! They skipped to the Phantom 4 and it was so rushed. I feel like if I would’ve bought a 4, and then they came out with a Pro, I would’ve been like—it’s basically the 5 because they’re so different.
Vadim: I really love my Mavic as well. I’m really, really looking forward for Mavic v2 because I think they will eliminate the small mistakes they have and the camera problems they really have now. And then they’ll be an absolutely amazing, amazing, amazing product because of these small factors—the size factor and the ability to fly.
Even now, I was thinking it’s amazing for city droning. When you come to a new city, and you find a location which you’re a little bit scared of flying the Phantom 4 or Phantom 3…
Spencer: Yeah, you take the big thing out, and you unzip the backpack, and everyone looks at you like, “Hey, what’s he doing over there?”
Vadim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. “You know that the drone is prohibited here?” or something like that.
Spencer: It’s like, “I have permission,” but who gives you permission?
Vadim: Exactly. But then, you can find the smallest, secluded area, and you’re just [buzzing]. Exactly! And I think it’s even less noisy than the Phantom 3.
It’s an amazing, amazing machine. I’m really, really looking forward. I was blessed to win the Mavic Pro.
Spencer: Oh, wow you won it?
Vadim: Honestly, it’s the only material thing I ever won… ever! Maybe when I was like two years old, I won $2 or something like that. But since then, it’s nothing. It’s just awards, rewards—I don’t know, awards mostly, things like that. But honestly, a physical thing is the only thing I want.
So, I’m so grateful I won this. But version 2, I will definitely get myself if I didn’t win anything like that. I’m 100% sure it would be an amazing, amazing, amazing drone. It’s already amazing, but…
What’s a word that’s greater than “amazing”?
Spencer: Just incredible, fantastic!
Vadim: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Super duper amazing. So, it will be a blast. And this combo of Phantom 4 and Mavic 2 or Mavic 1 is pretty amazing.
Spencer: It makes you pretty dangerous.
Spencer: To wrap up, do you have anyone that you’d recommend, any creatives?
Vadim: [Smelov.Photo] lives in St. Petersburg which is obviously a much more photogenic city. It’s more European than Russian. When you see this, you’re like in Amsterdam or Vienna or anything like that. It’s not looking like the typical Russian city.
Spencer: Yes, its very colorful.
Vadim: It’s absolutely beautiful. And he’s lucky to live there; I don’t unfortunately.
Spencer: Anyone else you’d kind of recommend to folks to go check out people who inspire you, people who you think are just really doing awesome things.
Vadim: How about Michael Shainblum. He’s an amazing, amazing photographer. I mean, you have to check him out.
Spencer: Oh, okay. I think I featured one or two of his photos on my instagram account. Let me see. Oh, yes, this guy is fantastic. Actually, yeah…
Vadim: Lots of aerial short clips and photographs. Amazing photographs!
Who else? Barry Blanchard the guy who is responsible for the whole DJI forum community in Facebook? He’s got amazing photos, aerial photos as well.
He’s working with DJI. It’s a good contact to be friend with.
Spencer: I can imagine. So, he leads the forums for DJI?
Vadim: He’s like an administrator for all the forums of DJI. You know the forums for the DJI Mavic Owners Group or DJI Phantom Owners Group and things like that? He’s a very communicative person. He’s a very responsive person. And he’s an amazing, amazing photographer as well.
He’s a photographer (and I’m not sure, a videographer. I didn’t see any videos from him, but the photos are amazing).
Another guy which is probably photography that I really want to mention, he’s one of my favorite, Ted Gore. He’s just unbelievable. I look at his photos and I was thinking, “Maybe I should sell my camera and move on and do something else in life like pottery or maybe book-reading.”
One of the very best in landscape photography.
Ah, okay. I’m a huge fan of landscape and cityscape photography (not like wedding photography or nature photography). So, I only concentrate on those two.
These guys, Michael and Ted, they are at the peak of their games . They are, phew, amazing!
They also have tutorials as well. It’s really great. I really like learning. I’m not sure I’m good at teaching, but I really like learning.
Spencer: I think your tutorial was excellent, like we talked about. People responded well to it. I think all you have to do is just be yourself and just walk people through.
People aren’t looking for some fluff and flair. They just want to see you at your desk and follow along. So, I think you’re good at it.
Spencer: To wrap it up, I want to highlight where people can find you. Where should people check out your work?
Spencer: Well, unfortunately, I have to go work in my gray cube in a little bit and get going. But thanks so much, man. It’s been really cool talking to you. This has been an awesome interview.
Vadim: It was a pleasure to meet you as well.