We Interviewed Canadian born drone racing pilot and drone teacher, Nick Iversen, who has recently moved to Costa Rica as a digital nomad content creator.
He specializes in creating high quality cinematic video content with one of his many small hand built drones that he outfits with an HD camera able to capture stunning 4k video. Nick founded Canadian Drone Academy, a STEM education program for schools and also founded Drone Sports Canada, one of Canada’s biggest drone racing leagues. He’s traveled to beautiful Costa Rica and is capturing its beauty through the eyes of his specialized cinematic drones. We sat down with Nick a few weeks ago and asked him questions about his drone career and what the future holds with the new emerging TV and Film drone industry that is currently exploding.
Hi Nick! When did you first get into drones and what attracted you to it?
I got into drones in the summer of 2015 after a 15-year career in web design and building startup companies online. I was fed up with always being in front of a computer and was looking for something new that could allow me to continue as a freelancer and travel the world. I was on YouTube watching videos and stumbled upon a drone video of someone flying around and inside an abandoned building while doing crazy maneuvers.
This was the first time I saw an FPV drone (First Person View) which allows you to see in real time what the drone is seeing through a pair of VR like goggles. The best way I can describe it is like an outer body experience where you can control where you’re going with a controller. It feels like you’re a bird flying in a video game. I was instantly hooked and set out to learn to fly an FPV drone. At this point, I quickly learned I also had to learn to build the machine itself! Learning to build and fly FPV drones took me 3-4 months, but it taught me so many different skills, including lots of patience.
Can you tell us more about the drone work you’ve done over the last few years?
When I was building my first racing drone in 2015 I needed help figuring out how it all worked. I had found a few facebook groups with other drone pilots who helped me throughout the process. We started to meet up and practice flying together which then led to the start of our Montreal drone racing league, which eventually became Drone Sports Canada drone racing league.
Building and flying a drone had a very steep learning curve and since the industry was still in its infancy, I decided to start a business teaching people to build and fly drones called the Canadian Drone Academy. We developed a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education program for kids 10+ to engage them to learn about drones through racing and competitions similar to intramural robotics programs. Over the last 2 years I’ve started to focus on using my drone racing skills to create high quality cinematic video content for all sorts of different projects. I can produce better shots easier and faster than a traditional helicopter and am able to follow almost any subject within a few feet without any danger. My smallest drones can even fly indoors around people through tiny spaces. With all the years of practice from racing, flying cinematically is easy, fun and enjoyable, but in the end it requires many skills combined to create professional content.
What brought you to Costa Rica and what are your plans?
I was looking to leave Canada in 2021 and travel as a digital nomad content creator with my drones. I knew I wanted somewhere lush and beautiful with nature so I could capture amazing content easily. After asking around and talking to some friends, many people said that I had to visit Costa Rica and I remembered my brother telling me how much he loved traveling there. So I booked a ticket for the start of the year and it was the best decision I’ve made in a long time! I’ve been traveling up and down the west coast and I’m totally in love with nature and the people here. I love it so much I have decided to become a resident here to continue filming and doing projects here. I’m currently located in the mid central area of Garabito so I can easily travel around to different parts of Costa Rica filming new content or working on projects. I’m looking to collaborate with all types of local people, places or businesses that would like to showcase life here from a different perspective.
Where do you see the cinematic drone filming industry going in the future?
Because of my involvement running a drone racing league I was fortunate enough to travel to many international world championships drone races with the best pilots in the world. Many of the top pilots have started to use their skills flying cinematic drones with very expensive film quality cameras, and have been shooting some of the best video content in the world coming out over the last 1-2 years. The number one pilot in Canada for several years running, has been GAB707 who raced in many of the events I helped organize in Canada, has become one of the most renowned Cinematic Drone pilots in the world working for major tourism board, national geographics and live broadcasting of major snowboarding competition like Supernatural.
This specific industry is currently blowing up and you can see Cinematic FPV shots in all your favorite films, tv shows and music videos. Drones have become the best way to capture incredible perspectives that have never been seen before, with just 1 professional pilot you can capture what an entire team could do, and cost 10 times less than the traditional way. The demand will continue to increase for top professional quality pilots to fly as more producers and cinematographers see the work of these new flying cameramen.
What’s the best way for people to follow your work or contact you to collaborate together?
You can stay up to date with my travels and latest content on Instagram
You can like my page on Facebook for new photos and video content
You can book a meeting with me online http://www.createrealitymedia.com/work-with-us
You can connect with me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-iversen-bb7392a/
Reel for Costa Rica 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2cVQJ_Glaw
To see all my videos https://youtube.com/channel/UCfwZvf_Rcgb2AieQHAT7pyg