MERIDEN — It flies up to 400 feet, takes photos and videos and looks like something out of a science fiction movie. It’s a multi-rotor aircraft for aerial filming and city resident and business owner Clem Kasinskas owns one.
The four-propeller remote controlled helicopter made by DJI, is rigged up to a small camera and runs by battery. Using the remote control, Kasinskas moves the helicopter where he wants it to go and can see photos or videos being shot on the screen located on the remote. Kasinskas who works for the city and school system, has used the device to create a video of the Maloney High School renovation project.
“It’s a cheaper solution for my clients,” Kasinskas said Monday at the Hub site. “You don’t have to rent a helicopter.”
Kasinskas, has owned and operated On Site Video, a videography and photography company, for 20 years. He does weddings and events, shoots footage for real estate agents and property owners. Some of the shoots require aerial shots and his clients have rented helicopters, which can cost $1,500 an hour.
“It’s just another tool,” he said.
Earlier this month, he used the device to shoot the construction behind the Gravel Street high school. Foundations and dirt mounds were captured in the one-minute video.
“It’s exciting,” said School Superintendent Mark D. Benigni. “It’s capturing major developments throughout different stages and phases.”
“We’re keeping the public informed,” said City Councilor Brian Daniels. “This is a major milestone for the city.”
On Monday afternoon, Kasinskas took his helicopter to the Hub site. He pulled out a plastic landing pad and then the four winged contraption from its box. He plugged in its battery pack, which lasts for six minutes, and after pushing a few buttons, it was ready for take off.
Holding the large remote control, one much bigger than used for the average remote-controlled car, Kasinskas had the helicopter flying high in the sky and moving around the edge of the Hub.
It took a video of the site and still photographs every five seconds.
“It’s kind of like a toy,” Kasinskas said with eyes glued to the sky. He watched as the helicopter moved around. He said he’s still trying to get used to it.
“But it does have safety issues and privacy issues,” he said. “There’s a lot you have to consider.”
The device poses a safety issue, because if it ever fell out the sky, it could hurt someone.
Because the device is like a drone, it poses privacy concerns as it shoots video and pictures.
“But it is exciting technology,” Kasinskas said. “And it’s one more thing my company offers. I can given them something they haven’t seen.”
During a recent weekend, Kasinskas used the helicopter to shoot wedding. He said it gives couples’ that “wow” factor.
“It’s a whole different perception,” he said.
While the devices are known to be used in the military they are makes its way over to the commercial businesses including environmental and utility companies, according to a spokesperson at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. The devices can monitor gas line, smoke stacks, see if water is building up and just a provide a visual aide that’s not typically there.
Farmers can use the devices to spray pesticides and patrol property. The spokesperson said the devices can reduce costs and risks, but they pose a lot of unknowns and questions. Regulations are in the early processes.