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DJI interviews drone expert Wiebe de Jager from DroneWatch

DJI interviews drone expert Wiebe de Jager from DroneWatch

Recently, DJI interviewed my good friend, fellow Dutchman, and drone expert, Wiebe de Jager from DroneWatch. Here are the interview and background information on Wiebe’s work for the Dutch TV show ‘real Life in the Zoo.’

DJI interviews Wiebe de Jager from DroneWatch

Hi Wiebe, please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your experience using drones?

Sure! I entered the drone world in 2014, with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. I was instantly hooked to the technology and started a blog about drones, which evolved into www.dronewatch.nl. Since then, my career changed dramatically: I quit my day job, wrote a couple of books about drone photography and video, and became a professional drone pilot. I have flown (and reviewed) almost every DJI drone model. Right now I’m finishing my review of the Mavic Air 2.

We heard that you were recently involved in a drone project for a Dutch TV program ‘Real Life in the Zoo’. This sounds really interesting, please tell us more about it?

Yes, it definitely was a first for me. I was commissioned to provide a number of drone shots from Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen. The program is characterized by the unique perspectives from which it is filmed and the animals play the leading role in the six-part series ‘Real Life in the Zoo’.

Their lives are captured day and night with countless hidden cameras to closely follow them, revealing what happens in the zoo after closing time and in places where visitors are usually unable to access.

Normally, the team uses action cameras, amongst professional recording equipment, to film the animals. However, a big disadvantage of these cameras is that they are static and cannot track the animals during their activities. That is where the idea to use drones arose, capturing animals from previously ‘impossible’ camera angles.

In consultation with the caretakers, Dronewatch was approached with the request to provide these unusual shots.

Which drones did you use for this extraordinary job and why?

For this job we used three different DJI drones: a DJI Inspire 2 for beauty shots (sunrise, overview images), a DJI Mavic 2 Pro for shots at a somewhat lower height, and a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom for close-up shots of the animals.

Thanks to the 24-96 mm zoom range of the Mavic 2 Zoom and its relatively low noise production, we were able to get full screen, close-ups of the animals without disturbing them.

Weren’t the animals distracted by the drone? How did they react?

It soon became apparent that the different animals showed no interest at all in the drone, and in most cases didn’t even notice it. This made it possible to create some very unique drone shots, including flying low from the ditch around the elephant enclosure and getting some amazing shots of giraffes against a rising sun.

Interested in becoming a professional drone pilot?

If you want to turn your hobby into your career, practice how to fly your drone safely, and learn what it takes to get your Part 107, be sure to check out the excellent training modules from The Drone U.

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