April 19 2022

Featured Flyer Spotlight: Pete Greep

Kendall Martin

Introduction

My name is Pete and I’m an outdoor nut, living on the outskirts of the Vegas desert in Henderson, NV, to be more specific. I love riding dirtbikes, shredding the dunes in my sand car, and traveling to new places to explore with my best friend & wife, Anna.

That’s not all though, I love pizza, cold beer, scuba diving, mountain biking, and an occasional hike, as long as it is someplace worth checking out. I take my coffee black and love to go fast, but at the same time, I love a good campfire in the mountains with no other sounds other than a nearby creek. My outdoor adventures were made even more possible a few years ago when I built out our own adventure Sprinter camper van. It’s enabled us to travel and get out more than we could have ever imagined. This is what inspired me to start my own adventure blog and YouTube channel; Live Like Pete. It’s where I share all my adventures, and the things I learn along the way and hopefully inspire others to get out and do more of what they love in life.

Drone Experience

I’ve never owned a drone before my Skydio 2. My friends always offered up their DJI drones for me to try but I was always too afraid of crashing them. I figured I would wait for technology to catch up and make something I could fly that was basically fool-proof and sure enough Skydio made one!

The first time I heard about Skydio was on a friend’s YouTube video. He was filming himself riding all over the desert without anyone at the controls. This drone was doing all the work while he was out having fun! In the past, I’ve heard of many “follow-me” type drones, but I’ve never seen any such footage or even proof that they actually follow you while avoiding crashing. His footage was amazing and I immediately knew I had to have one. Years ago I’d set up tripods on solo rides and try to capture some of the action, but never from above. Skydio has changed the way I capture my shots.

Favorite Activity

Although I absolutely love what Skydio captures on my dirtbike rides, shredding the sand dunes in my buggy has to be my all-time favorite activity that I love to film with my Skydio. I’m usually way too focused on driving my sandcar and navigating the sand dunes to pay attention to anything else. That’s why I always love reviewing the footage to see what cool shots my Skydio has managed to capture. When I carve through the smooth sand or crest a razorback dune, those videos always amaze me from the perspective above.

Favorite Skydio Video

I think my favorite video that I’ve shot to date is simply me driving down the super scenic roads near Brianhead, Utah. The way the Skydio dodges in and out of trees and rock formations made for such a cool and enjoyable video to watch.

Skydio Experience

The first time I flew my Skydio was in the mountains with my dirtbike. I launched it with my beacon and just went for it. I expected it to crash right into a tree. I was amazed how it followed me through the forest and always maintained its “eyes” on me no matter what direction I rode. Although at one point it did crash into a thin branch, I quickly realized I had to be careful around thin objects. I was so stoked how this opened up so many possibilities for future videos and content.

Tips & Tricks

In order to get the best shot, plan your favorite videos (or flights) early in the morning or late in the day. Basically, whenever the sun is low, lighting is at its best angle for great shots and adds so much more to your videos. Also change up your direction, distance, and angle to capture multiple angles. Nobody wants to watch the same shot or perspective for 20 minutes.

Favorite Skills

I used to think the Motion Track skill was the only skill I needed, but with the recent Skydio KeyFrame software update, this skill has opened my eyes to the possibilities for much more dynamic shots. Although I learned fairly quickly how to be proficient at flying my Skydio with the Controller, there were some shots that I thought would be really easy to capture, but were still difficult. I realized being a good/cinematic pilot isn't just about being able to fly the drone safely, it’s also about adjusting the camera gimbal smoothly so it’s pointed at the subject. These tough maneuvers are made simple with the Keyframe skill.

Social Channels

Although I share just about every bit of my Skydio content on my Live Like Pete YouTube channel, Instagram, and FB, my videos and photos captured with my Skydio are a big part of my adventure blog. Most of my audience are nomadic, dirt biking, outdoor people so being able to capture and share what I do really helps me tell my story. In addition to my blog, I built and run a website and social media for the entire Dumont Dunes community. My sandcar videos are always a hit with my fellow dune buddies.

Final Thoughts

Here’s a quick tip for Skydians and first-timers. Trust your Skydio but pay attention to that Beacon! Don’t look back and make sure it's following you, as it really screws up your videos making you look like an idiot on camera. Instead, pay attention to the indicator light on the Beacon, or listen to make sure it's still behind you. Mount it on your handlebars or somewhere you can see/access it easily. The Beacon indicator will always be blue if it’s connected and it has eyes on you. It will also beep rather loudly if it loses GPS signal or the battery is low. So trust your drone and go shred! Just be smart and always watch out for those pesky little branches and powerlines.

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