Copter Kids: An innovative movie production tool

Imagine having an out-of-body experience, watching yourself from a third person perspective while being filmed by a mini remote-controlled helicopter flying around you.  Copter Kids, a two-man operation freelance aerial cinematography company hit the video production scene two years ago when Trent Palmer, Truckee native, saw an online video of someone with a camera attached to a remote control helicopter.

Palmer created a homemade remote control helicopter to accommodate a Canon 7D or 5D DSLR camera to shoot aerial video footage. The custom-built chopper can fly up to 80 mph and soar up to 400 feet high, according to the Copter Kids website.  It runs off of 50v lithium batteries and can fly for about eight minutes per battery pack.

Errol Kerr, Palmer’s childhood friend of 16 years, collaborated with Copter Kids when Palmer asked him to test out the camera while Palmer flew the remote control helicopter.

“He killed it,” Palmer said.  “I had a couple other people try it out but Errol definitely controlled the camera the best.”

After Kerr and Palmer combined talents in 2010, they created a 3 minute, 35 second demo reel and posted it on video sharing site, Vimeo, as well as their own site. It quickly attracted a lot of attention.  By word of mouth the Copter Kids blew up.  They have been called “the youngest in the industry” and are considered the “kids” on the set earning them the name ‘Copter Kids. But don’t let age fool you.  Camera Operator Errol Kerr, 25, and remote control helicopter Pilot Trent Palmer, 23, have over 20 years combined experience in remote control and over 10 years working with video and film.  “Trent and I have been friends since we were nine yearsm old,” Kerr explained.  “We used to race BMX and played with R/C planes together.”

The two teamed up in the spring of 2010 after the Vancouver Winter Olympics for a California Tourism commercial shoot.  Palmer was filming the commercial with FLF films, and Kerr was to partake in the commercial after finishing ninth place in skier cross at the Winter Olympics representing Jamaica, the country in which he was born.  Since then, Copter Kids has taken off.

These two have worked with musicians such as Gucci Mane, filming the music video for Gucci time, as well as companies like BF Goodrich. They filmed Shaun White for a commercial that aired during X-Games 15, and a Billabong boardshort campaign called “Life is Better in Boardshorts” which included pro surfer Joel Parkinson.  They have also worked with other production companies such as Original Films and Bandito Brothers.  Palmer and Kerr have accomplished 17 commercial ads and are constantly working on new projects, as the demand for their newly created remote controlled helicopter and camera soars.

“We travel a lot,” said Palmer.  “The last local shoot we did was a Fiat commercial in Tahoe, but we’ve already traveled around the world two times this year.”

Kerr and Palmer’s success with Copter Kids is a reminder that following your passions and being creative can lead to great achievements and an amazing experience.