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SRU student’s videography business takes flight


Nov. 24, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - There are two ways of looking at how Jake Paterline got into the aerial photography business.

The first is that he came by it naturally. His grandfather, Edward Kelly, and mother, Nancy, were avid amateur photographers, never without a camera in hand and always snapping pictures at every event and vacation.

The second is to say that he came by it despite always having a camera stuck in his face.

jake paterline


"If we were on a five-day trip, she'd manage to get 800-1000 photos taken," said Paterline, an SRU junior early education/special education major. "It was like that for as long as I can remember and I was always annoyed by it. Who wants a lens shoved in their face all the time? That's why it's funny to me that I've turned out the same way. She definitely rubbed off on me."

However, as with anything handed down from generation to generation, advancements are bound to occur. In Paterline's case, he's traded in his mom's enthusiasm for still photography for video, and in the process, become an entrepreneur.

Over the past year, Paterline has turned his passion for videography into a small business, working with local realtors to create aerial videos showcasing the exterior and grounds of property listings in order to add another dimension to the marketing of the homes.

"I had a listing with a 136-acre farm and a remote lake," said Kitty Sue Pfahl, associate broker with Howard Hanna Cranberry, "Working with Jake enabled me to provide a complete preview for potential buyers before they decided whether it would be worth the hike to see it. I was so impressed with his work, I hired him for another pair of acreage listings I had."

It's a long way, over a short time, for the guy who less than one year ago was churning out GoPro footage of his self downhill skiing.

"I found Devon Supertramp's YouTube channel and was amazed at the stuff I was seeing," said Paterline. "He's using GoPro and drone footage to make these amazing videos and it got me thinking about what else I wanted to do."

What Paterline did was to invest in a DJI Phantom 3 drone - with no prior experience - and watch as his hobby flew off in a new direction.

Paterline spent his first few weeks as a drone owner repeatedly flying up and down his street, around his house, and through the parks, over and over again. "I spent hours upon hours honing my piloting," said Paterline. "At the start, I was not at all smooth."

four-prop drone with video camera

But with controls very similar to gaming controllers, Paterline took to operating the drone quickly. "It was just a matter of learning maneuverability around objects and getting the camera to respond smoothly. It was a bit of an endeavor, but I got it going."

It was at this point that Paterline's father, Ron, asked his son what exactly he was going to do with such a powerful tool.

"I have no clue how he came up with it," said Paterline, "but he's actually the one that suggested the realtor angle. So I sat down at the computer and started emailing local offices sample videos and eventually it took off from there."

Paterline contacted "six or seven" local realtors before receiving an invitation to present his idea at the Howard Hanna office in Cranberry Township.

"I have a son his age and for being so young I was very impressed by his (Paterline's) professionalism, his communication skills and his drive," said Juliette Thomas, realtor at Howard Hanna Cranberry.

"I loved the idea of a drone shot in order to get a different look of a property. It captures a whole different feeling than a still photo. His videos really give a great feel for how much land is around a home as well as how private and beautiful a property can be.

"A lot of potential buys that are looking at homes are not from the area and his videos help give them a feeling of everything around the home, not just the house itself - especially for the higher end and luxury homes that need a more 'rounded' view."

Paterline, who has shot eight properties for realty offices in Cranberry Township and Shenango Valley, spends three to four hours on each property's 1:30-2:00 minute video, accounting for shooting of raw footage, editing and adding a music bed.

"I tend to get hooked once I'm on site," said Paterline. "Most of the time, I'm shooting and editing a property the same day."

Despite having produced videos that number only in the single digits, Paterline has already achieved his goal of paying for his drone, and is now seeing profit being generated from his work.

Not bad for a guy that only charged $50 for his first shoot. "Yeah, I've upped it a bit since then," Paterline said with a laugh. "But I'm very reasonable. When I first began researching this whole thing, I found very few others that were doing it, but the ones that were, were using larger and more expensive equipment, so I'm good."

As for the future, Paterline is looking to expand his array of equipment to one day include a glidecam and offer clients even more flexibility.

"This style of marketing has been available before, but not widely used in our area due to cost," added Pfahl. "Jake has made it affordable and will definitely help push this as the wave of the future in real estate marketing."

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |