Leeds native, Lacey Barton (28), gave up her job as a producer in August 2018 in order to make a bold career change, entering the male-dominated drone industry and founding Vantage Drone Services with Chris Bardgett (34) originally from Keighley. Lacey is now the creative eye of a Yorkshire business with a mission to change the negative public opinion of the drone industry in the UK.
Following delays at Heathrow and Gatwick airports in December 2018 and a handful of ‘possible sightings’ since, drones and their operators have been called into question by the British public.
The remote-controlled, airborne devices seemingly had a lot to answer for following a series of flight cancellations in late 2018 due to sightings close to the runways of Heathrow and Gatwick which left holidaymakers with headaches. The public’s perception was negatively affected because of this and Lacey wants to change that by showing the positive capabilities of the devices.
Leeds-based Vantage Drone Services provides aerial services across a variety of sectors, offering 4K aerial video and photography, surveys and inspections, 3D mapping and 3D model creation.
Setting the business apart from competitors is Lacey’s experience working as a producer and a director within Film & TV production, previously working at companies such as Limehouse and True North. It is here where her eye for capturing stunning video which speaks to its audience comes to the fore.
Vantage Drone Services has worked on a variety of projects which make a real difference to the local community, one of which includes working in partnership with Apollo3D to provide Martin House Hospice Care for children and young people a 3D model of the Hospice and grounds. This enables families to take a look around the facility before their very first visit and allows children to familiarise themselves with its rooms. This has helped change children’s perceptions of the building and put them at ease of the environment.
Another is Vantage’s work with Apollo3D to create a 3D model and virtual tour of the town of Otley to help promote tourism and attract visitors.
Lacey sees a positive future for drones: “There is so much we do which people don’t necessarily think about when they first think of drones. We’ve experienced some negative comments first-hand by people, purely because of their existing perception of drones and drone pilots.
“One woman actually said to us: ‘if I had a gun I would shoot your drone down’, incidentally this was when we were working on a project which would help protect her entire town from flooding.
“With the development of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) there are enormous opportunities for businesses to use drones to create interactive material and really push boundaries. We’re a long way past being able to just take video from the sky, we’re working now to create amazing customer experiences and positively impact communities – we just need to shout about it more!”