EDITION: December 2021 - February 2022

Combining Art with Drone Technology

By Jerry Brownstein
Everyone dreams of having a career that is based on the things that they love to do, and Manuel Helbling has made that happen. He found a way to blend his enthusiasm for flying drones with his artistic background and education. Manuel grew up here on Ibiza and graduated from the Morna International College in Santa Gertrudis. From there his education was focused on the arts - first at the School for Art and Design in Zurich, Switzerland, and then at the Escola d’Art d’Eivissa for interior design. In 2015 he began flying drones as a hobby, and it soon became his passion. His path to making a career out of what he loves doing began by studying 3D & Animation at the University of Greenwich (UK). Soon after graduating in 2019, he received his official certification as a professional drone pilot, and began integrating his artistic talent into a new venture: Aerial Craft Ibiza.

One of his primary jobs is working with his family at Posidonia Properties. This prominent real estate and design company was founded here over 30 years ago by Manuel’s parents Paul and Liliane Helbling. As the business grew over the years, so didtheir family, and each member has become an important part of the team. Manuel creates innovative video and pictorial presentations of the properties using drone technology. His marketing package includes 3D displays, dramatic drone videos and 360º virtual tours of the house and surroundings. “It is a full cinematic real estate service which brings the property to life.” This is a beautiful way for the client to get a complete view of the house and its surroundings from anywhere in the world.

But Aerial Craft Ibiza is not limited to just the family business. Manuel provides creative video presentations and other drone services for hotels, restaurants, yachts, sport activities, events and more. This past summer he collaborated with the company ‘Drone to Yachts’, which is the first in the world to use drones to send meals and supplies to boats. Manuel has also produced videos for TV programs, particularly those involving natural disasters like the active volcano in La Palma, and he filmed the world champion of Cliff Diving. But perhaps his most creative work is using drones to make aerial cinematography that features the natural beauty of Ibiza and Formentera. Much of this is done with FPV drones which are a fascinating technology.

FPV stands for First Person Viewing. This is different from the traditional method of drone piloting, where the pilot controls the aircraft from his perspective on the ground. In contrast, the FPV pilot flies a drone from the perspective of someone who is actually on the aircraft. Here’s how it works: FPV drones are equipped with a video camera, and the operator (pilot) wears special goggles. Live video from the drone is transmitted to the goggles, and this is what the pilot sees in real time. With this first person view the pilot feels like he is in the air with the drone, as all that he sees is what the drone’s camera is sending to his eyes.

FPV opens up endless possibilities for cinematic art. The pilot controls what is unfolding in the video by navigating the drone’s flight pattern to change or enhance the scene. Manuel expresses it this way: “What I like about the FPV drones is that you can get very creative shots which would never be possible with a standard drone.” You can see some of his striking videos and photos on the website: https://www.aerialcraftibiza.com/ They are a beautiful testament to the blend of artistic taste and technological knowhow that Manuel has developed.