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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians learn about the ins, outs of drone videography

By Staff | Aug 15, 2018

Members of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club were flying high this past Friday with Tressa Goorsky Cioffi, of Queen of the Drone. As our world expands, so does the expansive ways in which we can view it. Cioffi’s company focused her drones originally on land development and real estate shoots, and more recently has expanded to extensive film footage for advertising of recreational resorts, golf course redevelopment planning, on work progress updates on the courses and more. She is also active in monitoring environmental conditions of the water in Lee County. “At eye level, you can only see so much but at drone level, the vision is mind-blowing,” she told the club.

Cioffi explained that it was her husband’s idea for her to start using drone photography as a marketing tool for their real estate office. One slight problem, she knew nothing about drone photography. Not in favor of the suggestion at first, she accepted the challenge of using the new marketing tool and making it work for the family’s business. It almost was a natural for her – drone photography isn’t so much about taking pictures as it is about commanding the drone with an artistic eye and capturing footage that reflect the reason for the shoot.

She started with no photography experience, no video game experience, just plain in-your-gut sense. A few drone encounters with trees, a few not so neighborly neighbors thinking they were being spied on, a few gates closed and doors shut, but it was fun. Cioffi found her passion: drone photography. She posted some of her drone videos online after a little editing and adding music and they caught several commercial videographers’ attention. Queen of the Drone was noticed by a company called Air Views on social media, and as an incentive they sent her a $2,000 drone to encourage her to go beyond her niche of real estate footage and explore the artistry and possibilities of drone photography.

According to Wikipedia, a drone “is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system or UAS; which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers. Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions too “dull, dirty or dangerous” for humans. While they originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly expanding to commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural and other applications, such as policing, peacekeeping and surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography, agriculture, smuggling, and drone racing. Civilian UAVs now vastly outnumber military UAVs, with estimates of over a million sold by 2015, so they can be seen as an early commercial application of autonomous things.” If you hear buzzing in the skies now, it isn’t the honeybees anymore, it’s a drone.

Drone video footage brings dimension to our visual senses that brings us into a reality almost never available to the masses before. We can capture the rolling pounding waves off-shore the beaches of Hawaii in real-time. We can monitor breeding grounds of wild animals, peruse a golf course renovation and keep the design plan on track – thousands of applications can now use drone technology.

Cioffi is proud of having taken on the original challenge presented by her husband but knows that her knowledge base came from her determination and passion for drone videography and experimenting with the lighter side of drone photography along with the business side. She now receives request from all over Florida to present business proposals for documenting all sorts of business projects and personal requests for drone videography. The world is Cioffi’s workplace and she is excited about where her drones will take her.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are always welcome to attend.