A Sky High Career

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Posted Wed, Apr 6, 2011

By Justin Schoenborn

Matt Dunn is ready to fly.

Denver – It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday in Larkspur, Colo. All geared up, Matt Dunn is ready to fly. He’s flown his chopper countless times, and for him, it’s just another Saturday in the air. The whir of the chopper blades is a familiar sound. So is the smell of the gasoline that the copter burns as it idles. The flight won’t be too long today. Dunn plans on just going up for a bit to survey a little bit of the local scenery.

Dunn gets situated, pulls down his flight goggles, and pulls back on the flight stick. The helicopter’s engines start to get louder as the machine fights against gravity and begins to lift off into the air. Once a couple of hundred feet up, he hovers for a few seconds and then pushes the throttle forward, heading out into the distance toward the foothills. There’s only one peculiar thing. Dunn’s not in the helicopter, he’s still on the ground.

Matt Dunn is the owner of Aerial Imaging Productions. Aerial Imaging Productions is a Denver-based company that specializes in a form of video production that few others do. Dunn gets all of his footage from the air, without having to ever leave the ground. Aerial Imaging puts small helicopters (compared to full sized ones) into the air, attached with cameras that can capture breathtaking video for their clients. Aerial Imaging work with ranches trying to sell property, golf courses attempting to show off the beauty of the flora and fauna, and even football stadiums trying to give fans a view of the field that no one else can.

Dunn is a gifted individual. Few other people have the ability to properly control multiple aspects of a cameras function from the ground while also making sure the helicopter stays airborne. Though Dunn is an accomplished member of the Colorado Professional Videographers Association, he hasn’t always had these skills. Matt started shooting video over 15 years ago, but it was more or less a hobby and he was never taking the cameras into the air.

“For as long as I’ve known Matt, he’s always been around cameras, but doing this is what really excites him,” said Dunn’s wife Emily. Luckily on most flights, Dunn works with another operator who actually controls the flying of the helicopter so his only focus is controlling the camera. Which is what he’s best at.

For the past few years, Dunn’s main focus has been trying to (no pun intended) get his company off the ground. Though he probably has the talent to do it alone, Dunn has been lucky enough to work with two other very talented people. One is his partner Jeff, a long time real-estate expert who handles much of the business side of things. The other gentleman is the one who does most of the flying of the helicopters.

“I wouldn’t want anyone else up there controlling those cameras,” said Jeff. “Matt is truly an expert at what he does.”
One of the most intriguing things about the way Dunn works is how he actually flies the helicopters from the ground, thousands of feet away. When Dunn is ready to fly, he simply dons a pair of “flight goggles.”

These goggles amazingly allow Dunn to see exactly what the camera is seeing. So Dunn can remain safely on the ground far away from the action, while he’s actually right in the middle of it all. Whatever the camera sees is relayed back to Dunn’s goggles where he sees exactly the same thing.

Though the stress of the job sometimes gets to him, Dunn’s hard work is finally beginning to pay off. Dunn and Aerial Imaging Productions are currently working on a deal to do stadium flyovers for the Denver Broncos. Such a deal would no doubt really help put Dunn’s company on the map, while also opening up many more future business opportunities.

“The great thing about Matt is he’s an absolute joy to work with,” said Geoff Maddaford, another industry creative who’s had opportunities to work with Dunn in the past. “He’s a real laid back guy, and when you’re working with him, it never feels like work.”

Matt’s company not only does just video, but also does 360 degree panoramic still photos, allowing the viewer to control where they want to look on their computer screen

To see more of Matt’s work, check out www.aerialimagingproductions.com

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2 Responses to “A Sky High Career”

  1. Leah Says:

    This is a neat guy, cool story. I liked how you did the reveal in the beginning.
    Would have been nice to see him in the goggles.

    Reply

  2. Andrew Carlson Says:

    Really interesting! Never knew that something like this had an industry!

    Reply

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