FPV Australia has teamed up with Jerry Grayson, the best cinematic helicopter pilot on the planet (well that’s our opinion – judge for yourself) to bring you the best “post graduate” course specifically designed to turn a good drone pilot into a great film pilot.

Learn to film with James Bond’s pilot – We are not kidding!!

The course tutor for these exclusive Master Classes is Jerry Grayson A.F.C. who is amongst the top five helicopter film pilots in the world, and is certainly #1 in Australia, after a career spanning four decades. Jerry’s screen credits include movies “A View To A Kill” and “Blackhawk Down”, world sporting events such as the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup, music videos with everybody from Paul McCartney to John Denver, and hundreds of cinema and TV commercials. Jerry has filmed from the air at the North Pole, in the burning oil fields of Kuwait and over New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He’s successfully worked with directors such as Ridley Scott and Lord Richard Attenborough.

Jerry’s wife and creative producer, Sara, brings the client perspective to the course in order that you can begin to understand how a producer thinks when they’re considering employing you. A film crew uses words that convey mood and context and it will be up to you as the Film Pilot on set to interpret those words into a creative flight pattern. Nobody is better qualified than Sara to translate the words you’ll hear; she’s created and run a stock shot library, produced the first ever IMAX movie to be shot entirely from the air and was the first producer to ever co-ordinate all ten helicopters simultaneously filming over the Olympics. 

If you’re serious about going beyond being a drone pilot and becoming a drone film pilot then this is the course you need to take. Jerry describes himself as an ordinary bloke who’s had an extraordinary career. That opportunity is now open to you too, but we’re expecting these just-announced courses to fill up fast so be sure to be at the front of the queue.

Please note that this is an advanced course for existing holders of the CASA UAV controller certificate and that graduates of the FPV Australia RPAS course will be given priority in the waiting list.

The Shape of the Course

The course currently assumes that you have your own drone, fitted with a camera, which you’re comfortable flying. You don’t have to own a live video downlink but it’s an advantage if you do and you will most certainly need one if you’re going to work professionally. You will also need to be able to record your own work while on the course. (The deck right outside your accommodation will be the take-off and landing area so there won’t be lots of packing and unpacking to do and there’s a stack of mains power points available).

On confirmation of booking and payment you will be sent a pack of pre-study material. Don’t worry, this isn’t a lot of dry reading, it’s mainly links to shots and sequences to view online. Some are examples of good aerial work and some are at the other end of that scale! It’s important that you make time to view that material and to make your own notes on it so that we can get right into discussing some of it when you arrive. We’ll also invite you to bring along your favourite three clips of your own work from your own drone, but you certainly don’t have to do that.

If you plan to work with a camera operator alongside you then you’re welcome to book him/her into the course at the same time as you. We will have a maximum of three pilots per course in order that everybody gets a good proportion of Jerry and Sara’s personal attention. If everybody brings their own camera operator then there will obviously be a maximum of six people on the course.

The course has been designed to allow students to travel interstate, arriving in time for a late morning tea and introduction on the first day. The exact timing of events will then be dictated by light and by weather (as indeed all of your professional jobs will be thereafter!). Broadly the shape will be as follows, but just regard the times as indicative. All classroom sessions will be amply illustrated with relevant video material.

DAY 1 - 1100 - 1245

Late Morning Classroom Session: Presentation in our air conditioned classroom on:

  • The basic toolbox of aerial shots that all film pilots must master.
  • How and why to create a beginning a middle and an end to an aerial shot.
  • Different lengths of shots for different clients and subjects.
  • How and why the mood of a shot affects the pace of flight.
  • Working with wind and against it (and the different creative opportunities those provide).

1300 – 1345

we’ll break for a light lunch while we view and informally discuss some of the shots you’ve studied and perhaps some that you’ve brought along yourself.

1400 – 1545

Afternoon Classroom Session:

  • Frame composition, smoothly transitioning from one composition to another, and when to cut.
  • The creative importance of light and how to get the best out of any given circumstances.
  • The importance of “Golden Hour”.
  • A briefing on the aims of the evening flying session.

1600 – 1700

we’ll give you plenty of time to prepare your own equipment so that you’re all ready to master the filming aims of the first two flying sessions.

1700 – 1800

First Flight Session: Generate your own examples of the moves learnt earlier, while Jerry critiques.

1800 – 1900 Golden Hour Flight Session:

Now make those moves look mouth-watering to your client, and impress Sara with the results.

1930 BBQ:

Time to relax on our deck, share some food, a beer and maybe some of the local wines (all-inclusive in the price). It’s a great opportunity to also quiz Jerry and Sara on your pet subjects.

O/C Retire to your on-site accommodation. Don’t forget there’s an early start tomorrow.

DAY 2 - 0530 Next morning prep:

Up in time to prepare your equipment for the dawn Golden Hour.

0600 – 0730 Golden Hour Flight Session:

Put into practice everything you learned on the last flight yesterday, only this time at dawn. (Flying at both dusk and dawn will be your bread and butter)

0800 - 0900 Breakfast:

Welcome to the world of filming, where food comes second to the available light.

0915 – 0945 Review

each other’s morning work collectively. Learn from each other (this is a collaborative industry!) under Jerry’s guidance.

1000 – 1130 1st Morning Classroom Session: - Working in the real world. (By Sara)

  • Gaining the trust and respect of the production company.
  • What to expect on the really big productions (and what they expect of you).
  • How to go about getting the big gigs.
  • How to get invited back, (or not!)
  • Where you fit into the film crew hierarchy.
  • Creating momentum on your way to the top of your game.
  • How we earned $1M in providing stock shots to movies.
  • Pricing yourself.

1145 Morning tea

Time for a break!

1200 – 1315 2nd Morning Classroom Session: - Working in the real world. (By Jerry)

  • Understand how an editor will use your material and therefore be able to provide what he really wants. Edit yourself while you’re flying.
  • How important are show-reels and what should be in them?
  • What not to film and why.
  • Considering work beyond the obvious; some case studies.

1330 Lunch:

Enough work already, just enjoy lunch and a chat.

1430 – 1700 Afternoon

It’s now up to you to choose. Maybe use our extraordinary landscape and real-world scenarios to practice the moves you feel you need more help to master, with Jerry and Sara’s oversight. There’s also plenty of time for one-on-one discussion if you prefer. Plenty more videos of example moves to view and discuss.

Pack Up and Departure:

At whatever time suits you to fit in with your travel arrangements, but doors close at 1700 (because we’ll all be happily exhausted by then!).

On completion and after:

All students will take away a comprehensive pack of post-course material for home reading, reminders of what they’ve learned during the course, and suggestions for future creative viewing. Everybody will also receive a certificate of achievement on the day, plus a private email from Jerry the following week with a personal assessment. All students will be entitled to receive a free signed copy of Jerry’s forthcoming book “Film Pilot – Flying the Lens” on publication later this year.

Course Availability Calendar.



We will be visiting all States in Australia, so please contact Sara on 0438 059912 or sara@helifilms.com for dates we’ll be in your State.


What’s the cost?

The all-inclusive price is $2,950 per pilot, plus GST. Associated camera operators can book at the same time as their pilot at the reduced cost of $1,750 plus GST.

What does the price include?

The price includes all tuition, pre-course material, accommodation on site, food/beer/wine, post-course material.

Will I gain a recognized film industry qualification?

Currently there is no such thing but we fully expect (and indeed are lobbying for) full recognition of drone film pilots as an accredited grade within the Australian Cinematography Society. Jerry’s Masterclass is anticipated to be a prerequisite for this accreditation and there will be an associated logo you will be entitled to display on your website on satisfactory completion of the course.

Will you be giving the course in other states?

Yes, if you are part of a group of three pilots, all of whom would like to do the course in your State, and you have a suitable flying area plus classroom then we’ll be happy to negotiate a mutually convenient date and price.

Are there any weekday courses?

Again, we are happy to do this if you’re booking as a group at the same time as two fellow pilots. The dates will need to be negotiated to fit in with Jerry and Sara’s other commitments.

Can we attend from overseas?

We very much welcome overseas visitors who want to be a part of this international explosion of opportunity. If you need an interpreter then this can also be arranged, but you would need to be in a group of three same-language pilots who book at the same time for this to work.

Does filming just mean for movies and TV?

Not at all, the boundaries between various media are becoming ever more blurred. But our aim on this course is to prepare you for the very top end of the profession on the assumption that you will then stand out from your competitors, earn top dollar, and take any other work in your daily stride. There’s nothing like a recognizable TV or movie credit to gain the respect of the producer of a music video, corporate film or webcast.

Exactly where is the course held?

At our home property on 100 acres of rolling countryside just outside Heathcote, Victoria (90 minutes north of Melbourne). We built here because we wanted to be out of the earshot of our neighbours; ideal for drone flying at any time of day. There’s a stack of wildlife to film from the aerial perspective; kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, sometimes a koala and always multiple bird types. We’ll be looking at videos of work we’ve done on “Planet Earth”, “Home”, “Life on Earth” and so on before going out and learning to replicate it.acc1

What if I don’t own a drone?

This course is only suitable for pilots who are investing in their own future career as freelance drone film pilots and for that you’re going to need a drone!

Do I need a separate camera operator to attend with me?

That’s entirely up to you, but there’s absolutely no requirement to, and you’ll still get just as much benefit out of this course without one. For the really big professional gigs we suggest that you are almost certainly going to want to work as part of a two-person crew eventually … but that can always come later if you prefer.

What about insurance?

We expect you to have, and to be able to show us, third party insurance on arrival. You certainly won’t be able to get any professional work in the future without this.

TO BOOK YOURSELF ON THIS AMAZING COURSE – Contact us now!  Don’t miss out.

Ph – 02 6112 8551 or send us an email here –>