By DAWN HANKINS – [email protected]
Recent participants in the Shelbyville Christmas Parade may have noticed the presence of drones. Times-Gazette readers may also notice photographs of drones included in the winter edition of Bedford Life magazine, inserted today.
Credit for these aerial views goes to Josh Grau of Astral Perspectives. An FAA certified remote pilot, professionally fulfilling the dream of a lifetime.
Husband and wife team
So he and his wife, Aerin, live here in Shelbyville. From Unionville to Flat Creek, they’ve been busy this year, capturing spectacular drone views of Bedford County. Astral Perspectives is actually owned by a woman.
Josh and Aerin aren’t originally from Bedford County, but say they’ve come to love Tennessee.
“We have a lot to accomplish as a new business, but our main goal is to celebrate and showcase local Tennessee businesses, starting right here in this region,” Aerin said.
“We want people to see how breathtaking Tennessee is and get to know the inspiring people who live here! What better way to do this than with immersive first-person experiences of local events, businesses, places and landmarks? ”
About the pilot
Josh was born in Tullahoma and raised in Murfreesboro. He admits he has been obsessed with everything about theft since he was 5; his childhood dream was to be a fighter pilot.
As a teenager, he was a sponsored skateboarder for Moab in Murfreesboro and Sixth Avenue in Nashville. He quickly took to filming his friends, capturing their daring tricks on camera, and editing them in eye-catching compilations.
Aerin says that obviously requires “extreme skill”.
“The intense focus and discipline it took to become awesome has never left him,” Aerin said, “even after being forced to quit skateboarding due to an injury.
Eventually, he embarked on the construction and piloting of remote controlled airplanes / drones and eventually found an even more stimulating and rewarding business opportunity.
Josh has been riding this ridge ever since.
After spending thousands of hours on a skilled drone racing simulator, Josh’s technical skills are unmatched by his local peers; he is ranked among the top 100 in the world qualifying for lap time.
Josh worked as a drone racer for the Drone Racing League, as seen on NBC Sports, and this summer he will start racing at the Multi-GP circuit hosted in Knoxville. (https://www.multigp.com/).
He is an FAA certified remote pilot with AMA commercial flight insurance.
About the astral outlook
While Astral Perspectives delivers the footage everyone expects from drones, Josh’s skills as a first-person manual pilot really push the boundaries of what’s possible in a way that confuses people – so much so that the couple coined the expression “astracinematics” to describe their work.
“When people think of drones, they think of a kid’s toy or Mavic / Phantom drones. . . . Josh’s FPV (first person view) drone “quadcopters” are very different.
They have no proximity sensors, no return to hosted security functions and require 100% manual control. Most are custom built; they all require intensive tuning and programming to ensure they fly smoothly.
“Due to the dedication, time and troubleshooting it takes to master this craft, no one in our area is able to offer the images / covers that we can,” says Josh.
With glasses on, Josh explains how his first-person view from the drone’s cockpit is almost like an out-of-body experience: hence the name, Astral Perspectives.
“Not only are we able to get dynamic shots from outdoor locations and maneuver safely around crowds (using the proper equipment and closely following FAA guidelines), we can also present the interior spaces cinematically with the same ease, ”he says.
The goal of Astral Perspectives is to set a new standard for videography and cinematography by providing people with a rare and unique perspective: “astracinematography / astravideoography” as Josh and Aerin invented.
“We want to change people’s minds about drones by combining advanced skills and creativity with safe and responsible practices as defined by the FAA,” says Josh.
When it comes to their business values, the couple note that they want to “stand out in a sea of the mundane” and “offer a fresh perspective that gets people talking about the possibilities.”