Sean Silas aka Silas Of The Lamb specializes in graphics design, using software such as Photoshop, Affinity Designer, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X, Lightroom, ReaIlusion Character Creator 3, iClone 7, and Unreal Engine 4. He is also a guitarist/composer/producer. He uses software like Pro-tools, Reason, and Nexus.
How did you get into being a drone pilot, and what would you say are the most important skills every drone operator needs to succeed?
Sean Silas: I started flying drones in 2018, after a break of not flying R/C helicopters in 10 years. I actually have been flying radio control for over 30 years. When I saw you can strap a camera on a flying machine to get footage, it was something I had to get into being a photographer!
The most important skill or good practice is smooth flight. If you are a bird soaring, that’s how you should look into smooth flight. That’s if you are shooting video (film). It’s okay to “hot dog” around to have fun. I do it when I need some excitement.
When it comes to getting certain kinds of shots, what are your preferred camera settings, frame rate, and resolution that you like to fly and operate your drones?
Sean Silas: Sure! When I am flying at golden time, which is normally from 5pm to dusk, my setting is set at manual ISO from 100-800. Anything more than that, you get noise. When it’s almost dark, like 45 minutes before it’s completely dark, I may go up to 1800 and just use Final Cut or DaVinci software using noise reducer plugins. This is the same for early clear or broken cloud mornings. On clear days, I use filters, like N8, N4’s. They have apps to help judge the best for what time of day you are shooting. I always shoot in 4K with my drones. The frame rate is 24 for film cinematic or 30 standard, 60 for slow motion. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve…
If you could share 3 Drone Operating Do’s and 3 Drone Operating Don’ts, what would they be?
Sean Silas: From being safe and having my FAA Part 107 license: Don’t fly at night, (unless you have a waiver). Don’t fly over people. Don’t fly near airports…
Do’s: Always pre-flight check your aircraft. Fly with someone that is a spotter. Properly discharge your batteries if stored for a long time. One more, always give manned aircraft the right of way. Try to fly “Line of Site” but, if you have a spotter, that helps a lot.
How are you navigating and keeping active and creative during these COVID pandemic months?
Sean Silas: Since COVID, I don’t fly around people much unless we are wearing masks. Not much remote filmmaking… The director always wants to look at the monitor to see what I am shooting. I do shoot a lot on the set and at the studio. We always practice social distancing when it’s required. It’s pretty much 50/50 as far as location shooting. I will be doing survey flights on classified towers, so it’s the same with those types of jobs. Safety first!
Be sure to go to Sean Silas’ S.O.T.L Gallery where you can purchase his photos,
from aerial drone footage to DSLR photography.
Interview conducted by Jody Michelle Solis. Associate Publisher for StudentFilmmakers Magazine (www.studentfilmmakers.com), HD Pro Guide Magazine (www.hdproguide.com), and Sports Video Tech (www.sportsvideotech.com) Magazine.
“With the rapid application of the changing technologies, we are all students.”