M2 Aerials Celebrates Emmy Win for Drone Use, Recent Sports-Broadcast Successes
Recent projects include U.S. Open golf, FISA World Rowing Championships
At last month’s NAB Show, M2 Aerials took home a Technology and Engineering Emmy Award for its technical work in drone cinematography: specifically, creating a low-latency remote-controlled airborne-video platform for TV. The award, which honors the accomplishments of the recently acquired HeliVideo Productions, caps off a year of success for M2 Aerials. The aerial-cinematography company has provided drones for several live sports productions, most notably the U.S. Open golf tournament and the FISA World Rowing Championships.
“Drones give you perspective, access, and dynamic visuals like no other tool on the market,” says M2 Aerials VP, Media, Jon Ollwerther. “They do the work of many production tools, including crane, helicopter, blimp, dolly, Russian Arm, and even a condor. … This Emmy win is a clear indication of leading the industry, a recognition long time coming for the team.”
M2 Aerials is wholly owned by drone-as-a-service company Measure and acquired HeliVideo Productions in 2017. HeliVideo was one of the first companies to commercially fly drones in the U.S., and its founder, Eric Austin, was instrumental in crafting the original regulations for commercial drone flight. Today, both Ollwerther and Austin lead M2 Aerials, Ollwerther handling the business development side and Austin the cinematography side. Measure, now a 50-person company, has offices in New York; Los Angeles; Austin, TX; and Washington, DC.
M2 Aerials has provided drone systems for Fox Sports’ coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament, delivering a one-of-a-kind flyover look at the various courses. In late 2017, M2 Aerials traveled to Sarasota, FL, to cover the FISA World Rowing Championships for NEP and Olympic Channel. The company flew a DJI Inspire II drone system, delivering HD video from a unique vantage point.
Ollwerther notes that, although sports broadcasters might feel apprehensive about including a drone in coverage plans, any concerns that the directors and producers of the World Rowing Championships had were quickly allayed.
“They were ecstatic with the drone coverage, and, for them, it was the show-stopper,” says Ollwerther. “They went from saying, ‘We’ll take a shot a couple times from the drone high and wide’ to ‘We’re going to do the cold open with the drone every day’ to ‘We’re going to use the drone to capture the setting, to show off the venue, to enhance sponsorship buys.’ They used the tool in all its versatility.”
M2 Aerials flight operations are overseen by Chief Pilot/SVP, Flight Operations, Chris Courtney, who served more than 24 years in the U.S. Army and Coast Guard as an officer, aviator, and paratrooper. The company aims to create unparalleled visual experiences for broadcast and cinema through drone systems that are quickly deployable and come fully integrated with expert planning, aerial permits, and insurance to give customers peace of mind.