The Drone Dish: Sandrine Hecq

AIRVŪZ STAFF NOTE :

Born in South Africa and now living in Australia, top content creator Sandrine Hecq is a world-traveling, drone-flying adventurer.  She has become a juggernaut on Instagram, with over 50k followers as of the beginning of 2019, and her video "My Drone Story" was picked as a finalist for the second annual DVA's.  On this episode of The Drone Dish, Sandrine talks about how she got into travel vlogging, what it's like to fly in Zimbabwe, the Maldives, her adopted new home in Western Australia, and what's next.

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Tyler Mason: Joining us today, all the way from Australia, Sandrine Hecq. Sandrine, thanks for coming on The Drone Dish. Sandrine Hecq: All right. Thank you so much. Very, very humbled to be here today. Tyler Mason: I usually like to start off by asking people how they got into drones. So what was it that first interested you about drones? Sandrine Hecq: I actually came across a video on YouTube about three years ago, with this awesome shot of this guy running on a mountain, and I thought it was maybe a helicopter, the camera that kind of got that. I realized it was a drone. So, that's when I was first introduced to a drone. And I think a few days after seeing that video, I spoke to my team that I work with, and we went and bought a 3R Solo from the shops. And that was our first drone, and that's kind of how it all got started. Tyler Mason: So you guys were kind of ahead of the curve a little bit with the 3DR Solo. Sandrine Hecq: Yeah, it's a really, really good drone, and it works so well in the wind. I think, looking back at the video quality wasn't that amazing, and it did give me a lot of problems. And that's when we decided to invest in the Phantom 4. That was when everything kind of just out changed for us. The quality of that went through ... It was just kind of everything that you wanted at that time. It was really up there. So since looking back, I don't think we'd ever changed drones from DJI. We've just always invested in the new one that comes out. We now have that Phantom 4 Pro, and a Mavic Pro. So we're kind of juggling between those two. Tyler Mason: A lot of the videos that you do are the vlog style of video. What is it about vlogging that you love the most and what do you think drones can add to that vlog style of filming? Sandrine Hecq: Vlogging is something that's come very new to me. I used to do some travel videos, but it wasn't fully my style and I think my part of it was the color grading that I absolutely didn't like. The moment that I saw other people vlogging, I said, "Well, I'm traveling all the time. I might as well take the opportunity to share a story while I'm doing it." That's how it all started. I think you've noticed, a lot of my vlogs are going to Calaguas, so what you see is what I saw, and that's what I love about my blogs. I'm still getting there, getting used to it, and if I did not have the drone, put it in my vlogs, I know that it wouldn't be as fun. I would be kind of boring, because I kind of get real excited to put those drone shots in and they kind of let people see the whole place, not just from the ground but above as well. Tyler Mason: Obviously, based on your videos, travel is a big thing for you. Do you have a favorite place that you've droned on your travels? Sandrine Hecq: Yes. My most favorite place is the Maldives. I went there a few months ago, and I'd only been getting on to see the island and they immediately said, "You're not allowed to drone." And I kind of threw a fit, so I got the managers and organized droning time because there are a lot of sea planes so it was for safety. They don't allow it, nowadays, in a lot of places, but I just said to them, "I'm not here for a honeymoon. I came here especially to drone." I got away with it and just worked with the people there, so they're really cool. The water there, I've never seen clear water like that ever before in my life, so it was definitely an experience and the footage that came out was just, wow. Tyler Mason: You live in Australia, a lot of your travels took place on the ocean. What is it about the water that you think is perfect for aerial cinematography and photography? Sandrine Hecq: I like having grew up on a farm in South Africa with not a lot around me, so when I came to Australia five years ago, the ocean played a huge part in having a new life. It always calmed me. The moment that I get my drone up in sunset or sunrise, that aqua golden color that comes out just kind of gives me goosebumps. That's always been a huge thing to me, is the ocean, the feeling and I love summer. The drone just always takes the colors to the next level, especially if you've got a polarizer, that is definitely one of my biggest tips that I can give anyone, is to make sure that you get a AV filter or a polarizer, because it's completely transformed my footage. Tyler Mason: I know you and Merr Watson, a former Drone Dish guest, are pretty good friends and travel together. The two of you are part of Life by my Own Design. Tell me a little bit about that and how you guys got connected. Sandrine Hecq: Merr is probably my bestest friend in the whole wide world. We do a lot of travels together. What we do is, we sell an education that teaches you how to market any product online, and you just need a laptop and an internet connection and we kind of take that with us. We're allowed to travel the whole world and capture the beauty of this whole world. Sandrine Hecq: I honestly look up to her as the biggest inspiration in my videos and where it takes me. She's got a lot of uniqueness in her. We started at the exact same time. We've got four drones between the two of us now, and a lot of other equipment. We just fell in love with it. Tyler Mason: Now, do the boyfriends drone, too? Do you have enough for all four of you? Sandrine Hecq: Yeah, so Merr and I are actually dating brothers, which is really funny. We started with one drone to share, and that just didn't work out too well. We're very competitive, but in the beginning, I was actually very scared of droning. The boys did start droning first and then Merr took over, because that's Merr. She has a certain eye and needs certain footage, and what happened was, we got our first banks and then we flew to Barakai, and I actually got cut up by the birdie, because I tried to grab it from the air, and it actually left scars on my arm. Now, I've just been scared of crashing them as well. I think it was just a small phobia that I had to get over. Watching Chris drone, and he wouldn't listen to certain things that I needed, and there was just a point where I just grabbed the remote. I've never given it back to him. I think back, "Why didn't I do this a long time ago?" It's getting that feeling that men can drone like women can do it as well. I think there is a lot of women that are getting into it now, so it's good to see the balance of drone roles and men and women doing it. Tyler Mason: My last question for is, you've gone on some great adventures. Do you have any trips or travels coming up in the future? Sandrine Hecq: We actually just finished South Africa and Zimbabwe, and after that, we'll be doing Europe for three months in June. We're really excited to drone Europe. Tyler Mason: We'll all be living vicariously through those upcoming travel videos. Thanks so much for joining us on the Drone Dish today, Sandrine. It's been great chatting with you. Sandrine Hecq: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a huge pleasure and honor.