We have some really exciting news! Since we started VReel, co-founder Edward Thomas always dreamt about creating a tool for easy video creation. A few months
We came across you and your brother through your drone flying when VReel started off as a drone platform. How long have you been flying a drone and how did you get into it?
We’ve been flying drones for many years, probably around seven years, more or less. In Holland we were one of the first companies using drones for making videos and photography. At that time it was not like today that you can go to the camera store and pick up a ready made drone, but we had to build our own. So it was a little bit more challenging than it is at the moment. So that was a very exciting time. And also the quality in the beginning was not great. If you would see the images right now from back then you would be laughing. But at that time it was very innovative and exciting.
What sort of quality camera were you able to get on the drone you built yourself?
We had to work with the GoPro, which of course is good. But I remember that in the beginning there was not a good system yet for the stabilisation of the camera. So that was the biggest challenge of getting some nice, clean shots that were kind of stable.
You’re running a successful production company with your brother (BeemFlights). What's it like working with a member of your family? How does that work out for you guys?
Me and my brother Bas have always been very close. While growing up we shared the same friends, played in the same basketball team etc. Bas studied and started with filmmaking about 15 years ago. I was always curious, but we didn’t really start working together until about seven years ago when we also started our story with drone filming. So in the beginning we had to find a way to work together as brothers and it was a little bit challenging. But I think we always had a good connection so we found our way of working together pretty fast because he does most of the filming with a normal camera and the editing and I’m more of the drone pilot. I also take care of the contact with clients, planning and admin like invoicing. So we kind of complement each other, you know.
Sounds like you compliment one another with your different skills. And you Sander are the oldest, does that make you the boss?
A little bit yeah. Like you say, we really compliment each other. And now it’s a lot of fun, especially when we’re traveling. You know, when you can do these things with your brother then it’s very nice. I really enjoy it. And of course sometimes we get into arguments like all brothers or sisters do, but on the other hand we really say what we’re thinking and then we get over it very easily. If you have a colleague that can be a different situation, but as brothers I think there’s a special bond, and it’s in our advantage.
What kind of projects are you filming at the minute, have you been affected by COVID?
When COVID hit we thought “what will happen with this COVID situation?”, a lot of our projects at Beem Flights are outside of Holland, so a lot of them got canceled. But then our other clients, because we have a very wide range of different projects that we film, became bigger. So I think during this last year we even got busier than the year before. While some jobs got canceled or are not possible at the moment, there’s even a bigger need now for online content and clients to be visible which is an advantage.
You're helping people make videos for promotion on social media and their websites. Is that across all different sectors or do you have a particular niche or "sweet spot"?
In the beginning we’re thinking “okay, do we want to focus on a special niche?”, but then we really enjoyed doing such different projects. It’s very interesting to see how very different companies work and to see what they want to promote. So I think it’s very interesting to not focus on a special niche. I have a very wide range of different clients. Me and Bas both love sports so that’s projects we really like, and of course traveling. There are some sectors that we like a bit extra, but we have a very wide range of different clients.
You were traveling quite a lot before the pandemic. Once this is over, is there anywhere special you’re looking forward to traveling to?
It’s difficult to make any exact plans now, but we’re planning on a trip to Scotland. It seems like a very nice country for drone filming as well. We had a lot of projects abroad cancelled like New York and Dubai, so we’re really hoping that those projects will continue when COVID is over and traveling is allowed again. Let’s see what happens. We can’t wait to travel again, it’s the most exciting part of our work. We’ve been lucky that we got to travel so much already for both work and holidays. And of course, when we travel, we bring the drone with us.
Sometimes you go to places and they look nice from the ground perspective, but then you put the drone up and then you’re like “Whoa, this looks so amazing”. Or you see wildlife viewings which are very far away and you try to fly the drone over there. You can really see places you normally wouldn’t see. So that’s very exciting and a unique.
Do you have a favourite memory, or a favourite shot that really took your breath away?
I remember one shot, we traveled to Australia and saw some kangaroos, but every time we saw them there was just a couple. And then at one point we said “Whoa, look over there”, and we saw like 30 or 40 kangaroos. So we put the drone up and they started hopping, so you saw like a big heart of 30 kangaroos and they were hopping and we were filming. That was amazing.
Throughout the years we’ve got some great shots. For example the clips of the windmills in Holland which we have on VReel, it’s literally around the corner for us, like a 10 minute drive. I was checking the weather conditions and saw that it was a foggy morning and I thought “Oh, it would be nice if the wind mills will look like they’re floating while with the sun’s rising”, and the results was really amazing. I really remember flying and as I was looking at the footage I was like “wow, man, this is unbelievable”, and it’s your own backyard more or less – amazing. I actually had my two year old daughter with me, we had a pretty rough night and I decided to wake up early and see the windmills. She was awake, and I took her in the car and drove over. Of course, then she finally fell asleep. So she was sleeping in the car and I was drone flying there.
Your office is on fire and you can only save two pieces of gear. What would you save?
That’s a very difficult question. What first came to my mind is our hard drives with all the drone content. A lot of content can be replaced, but all the images and shots, if you lose them I think that would hurt me the most. So I would definitely get the hard drives, maybe a drone as well.
Where can people find out more about you and your brother's business and where can they go to look you up?
Our website, beemflights.nl is currently under construction, but we’re actually building a print shop where we’ll sell our most unique drone photos. It will be launched soon.