Patrice Gaucher is a Canadian living in Hong Kong. But he’s not just any Canadian living in Hong Kong, he’s a Canadian living in Hong Kong who has what would be, for a lot of people, a dream job.
As the founder and CEO of Aerial Entertainment Studios, a platform set up for cinematographers to share, sell and distribute their aerial travel footage commercially, Patrice deals with the beauty of adventure on a daily basis. Whether he’s out in the big wide world shooting himself or navigating his way through reams of stunning edits from the filmmakers that use AES, he’s constantly immersed in the kind of landscapes that make you go “oooh…that’s bloody lovely.”
To get a feel for the type of wanderlust-inducing clips Patrice and AES produces, one need only soak up the serenity of his most recent clip, Bali Uncharted. The drone footage, shot from way up in the big blue sky, showcases one of the most popular tourist destinations for Australians from mesmerising new angles.
When, why and how did you start Aerial Entertainment Studios?
Ever since my family and I moved to Asia, one of our objectives was to travel as much as possible and explore the world. Not only would this allow us to see many of the world’s most exotic places, but it would also be great exposure for our son, which would hopefully help him develop into a well-rounded individual.
About four years ago, I purchased my first aerial camera (drone) and started using it to capture aerial images of the areas we were traveling to. Reviewing the footage after each trip made me realise that images captured from the air often were much more beautiful than what we could see with our own eyes. So I decided to start producing videos that were made exclusively from the aerial footage captured during our trips.
Some of these videos gained quite a lot of traction on social media and I started getting a lot of requests to purchase the rights to those videos. Aerial Entertainment Studios was founded as a result of this demand.
What's your filmmaking background?
I learned through trial and error. When I started aerial cinematography, most of the shots were bad because they were improvised and no real planning went into capturing the footage. Producing videos from such footage is extremely difficult as you need to be lucky to get anything that has commercial value. Luckily, my approach evolved over time and now every single shoot is carefully planned.
How does AES work, from beginning to end?
In essence, we serve as a window to the world for creative artists and aerial cinematographers. Artists who have high quality footage to sell can do so on our platform. They simply need to create an account on our website and within a few minutes can be uploading content for approval.
This approval process is key to maintaining top quality content for customers. As mentioned before, we are focused on displaying the beauty of the planet and as such are very selective about the type of content we showcase. We are looking for sequences that will wow people.
This whole company was founded out of passion for showcasing the world’s most exotic locations, and the more artists we have sharing their work, the more this will attract customers looking for quality aerial footage.
What's your favourite aspect of your job?
You would think that traveling is the most fun about my job, but in reality what brings me the strongest sense of accomplishment is to see an idea develop into reality.
Why were you drawn to Bali for your Bali Uncharted video?
Bali is a well-known tourist destination. It has developed tremendously in the past 20 years to the point where people often complain that it has become "too commercial". But there are areas and islands near Bali that have maintained that rugged natural aspect and few people know about them, so the intent with this specific video was to showcase some of those lesser-known areas.
Whereabouts in Bali did you visit to get the footage?
We shot in a number of locations including Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan (islands near Bali), then Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Batur Volcano, Uluwatu and a number of other spots. Most of the sequences in the video were shot from a privately chartered boat as there are no roads are available to reach these locations
Do you get up to much in the way of adventure in your spare time?
Absolutely! Travelling allows me to psychologically escape from the day-to-day stresses in life. Seeing the sheer beauty of nature, a gorgeous scenic area or a breathtaking sunset makes me feel calm and allows me to forget all other issues. I need times like that to operate.
Do you have any advice for those who might want to get into more adventurous or creative jobs themselves?
Follow your passion and do what you love. You only live once so spending 80% of your time doing something you don't like is a recipe for disaster. Trust your instincts, find something you love to do and just do it.