This month we are pleased to welcome Torin Johnson as our Photographer of the Month. Many of our photographers provide aerial video and photography in addition to still photography and floor plans, but Torin is the first photographer I’ve seen offering interior drone video, shot in one take, with a 24 hour turn around! His work is so visually unique, and I was curious to learn more about Torin, his business, New England Drone Tours, and how he is creating this exciting work.
Tammy: How did you become interested in photography? Is there a photographer who has had a great influence on you? Do you have a favorite photograph?
Torin: When I was in high school I took an analog photography class where we learned to develop photos using chemicals in a dark room. This was definitely when I initially got into photography. After highschool, I went to college in Boston for videography and took several digital photography classes.
Tammy: I am so intrigued by your interior drone videography for real estate. Can you tell us a little about how you got started doing this type of work? What has the response been from your agents?
Torin: I got into drones back in 2013 and got into FPV in 2019. When I initially got into FPV drones, I would practice flying at Glen Magna Farms. It is a historic country estate that is open to the public with fields, pathways, and archways that make it ideal for FPV drones.
I would fly here just to practice and would occasionally post the footage to Instagram. The historical society noticed the footage and contracted me to film the entire grounds for them. I pitched the idea of flying inside the renovated 1800’s mansion that overlooks the grounds and they were excited to try it out. The indoor drone video that was filmed got picked up by a local news station and has since birthed New England Drone Tours!
The clients and real estate agents that have used our unique service love the result. Since the videos are shot in one continuous take, it makes it easier for viewers to follow, filming is faster and requires minimal editing. Turnaround time for a residential drone tour is 24 hours. We haven’t been able to find another video service in the area that offers single-take cinematic walkthroughs quite as we do.
Tammy: What was your first job, and what was the most important thing you learned there?
Torin: My first drone-related job was with the Danvers historical society, where I was contracted to film the grounds of Glen Magna Farms. For this project, I filmed outside throughout the gardens as well as a single-take interior drone tour of the Endicott & Peabody Estate that overlooks the grounds.
The most important thing I learned with this initial drone tour was the importance of fine-tuning the drone’s flight performance to be slow and steady. Since the walkthrough videos are normally filmed in one continuous take from outdoors to indoors, the tune on the drone had to be aggressive enough to handle outdoor winds but tame enough to glide through the property at a consistent speed.
Tammy: Where should photographers look for training or education if they’d like to offer this type of service?
Torin: Most of the knowledge that I have with building and flying these drones, I taught myself using YouTube videos. Once you have all the gear, it comes down to practice. FPV drones fly much differently than your standard DJI Mavic. They typically don’t have any sensors on them and are far more acrobatic.
For anyone looking to get into the hobby of FPV, I have my personal YouTube channel, Troncat FPV, where I go over step-by-step how to build FPV drones, show general maintenance, and lots of flight footage. Soon I will be posting behind-the-scenes style videos for the larger real estate gigs we get at New England Drone Tours. There’s a lot that goes into the making of a single-take interior drone video and I’m excited to share the process with my subscribers!
Tammy: In addition to video, what other services do you provide? How has adding CubiCasa to your toolkit been beneficial to you?
Torin: In addition to video production, we offer photography and floor plan services. CubiCasa has changed the game for us with its ease of use, speed, and accuracy. We film our videos in one single take showing the entire property. CubiCasa operates the same way and pairs perfectly with how we film our videos.
Tammy: What books are on your nightstand right now?
Torin: Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. It motivates me to focus on quality over quantity and inspires me to move past my competition and focus on the evolution of my business.
Tammy: If our photographers would like to reach out or follow you, where can they find you?
Torin: We are most active on Instagram and YouTube under the “New England Drone Tours” name. We are also reachable via our website! Newenglanddronetours.com. For any technical info on the drones we use, how they work, or how to build them, please check out my youtube channel Troncat FPV.
Tammy: Do you have any resources or words of wisdom you’d like to leave us with?
Torin: Something that has helped me immensely with the startup of this business is patience and consistency. Social media is substantial for marketing, but I do not believe in daily posting. I am a firm believer in quality over quantity.
Thank you so much Torin, for taking the time to talk with us. I am looking forward to learning more at Troncat FPV!