Winter Park may get dronevideo service | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park may get dronevideo service

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

Once relegated to science fiction and military applications, drones are slowly working their way into the fabric of every day life.

As platforms for videography, drones have opened the skies to both amateur and professional filmmakers and democratized what has long been an exclusive capability.

This winter, skiers and snowboarders at Winter Park Resort may get a chance to harness that capability for their own personalized video.

Cape Productions LLC will officially launch their drone video service this season, and Winter Park Resort could be one of the few to host the new service.

"The inspiration for the product was the Warren Miller movies that we grew up watching," said Louis Gresham, president and COO of Cape Productions.

The project is still pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Forest Service, which owns the land where Winter Park Resort operates.

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If approved, skiers and riders will be able to purchase a video package either online or at a kiosk on the slopes, Gresham said.

"You just take off down the run either on skis or a board, do what ever you do, and a drone will follow you and film you," Gresham said.

The video package will cost around $150 and will included three filmed runs down the designated drone run.

Within a couple of days, patrons will get a link to their professionally edited and produced video on Cape Productions' website, Gresham said.

The video itself as well as the raw footage will also be available for download.

"Some of our customers like to make their own little edits," Gresham said.

The videos will include still photography captured by Cape staff on site and landscape shots captured by the drone, Gresham said.

Steve Hurlbert with Winter Park Resort said the concept is in line with the resort's goals.

"From our standpoint we're excited about the technology because it's another way for people to share their experience at Winter Park, and it's another way by using technology to enhance the guest experience here," Hurlbert said.

Though this year will be Cape's official launch in the United States, the company has been perfecting its services in Canada since last year, Gresham said.

"Last season was really our moving from alpha to beta, and now we're going to our full launch," he said.

If approved, Cape's Winter Park Resort service will have one drone flying at any given time, though the company keeps a fleet at each resort where it operates.

The drones are completely automated and are restricted to a pre-defined corridor, though a pilot will be on site per FAA regulations and to optimize the drone's performance, Gresham said.

In addition to videography, drones present a number of exciting opportunities in various applications, from routine inspections of lift towers to search and rescue missions, Hurlbert said.

Still, approval of Cape's service won't mean Mary Jane will soon be swarming with unmanned aerial vehicles, he said.

"It seems like there are a lot of possibilities out there, which is exciting, but at the same time we are cognizant of the fact that while we want to enhance the experience, we don't want to do anything that detracts from the experience, and we would do nothing that would in anyway interfere with the safety and the enjoyment of our guests," Hurlbert said.

Cape has been in negotiations with the FAA and USFS for around nine months, and it's unclear when the service could gain the requisite approval, Gresham said.

If it is approved, Winter Park Resort will move forward with developing an operating plan and determining where the service will be offered, Hurlbert said.

In the meantime, Gresham is staying optimistic.

"We're really excited," Gresham said. "Winter Park is a beautiful resort and we couldn't be more excited to make this happen."

For more information, visit http://www.cape.com.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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