Ai California—San Diego student explains the new age of drone imagery
Filed under: Film & Production
September 26, 2017
To say current The Art Institute of California—San Diego Media Arts & Animation student Kevin Powers is busy would be an understatement. Powers has been juggling a full-time school schedule while running his own full-scale production company. In addition, he was also just named as the Program Manager of the new San Diego State University UAV (drone) Program & Lab under their Department of Homeland Security program.
Kevin Powers grew up in Boston and joined the Marine Corps after attending a few years of college. He deployed with a helicopter squadron to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom 12.1-12.2 with his primary role as the squadron's Network Engineer, as well as dozens of combat hours in UH-1Y Huey. After being stationed in Camp Pendleton, he left the Marines in 2013 and decided to stay in San Diego. He worked as a defense contractor for a short stint and quickly realized that he had no desire to work in an office again, which prompted him to start his own company. After stepping off a Huey post-mission on August 15th, 2012, Powers saw a military drone land with no visible operator. Later he would learn that the operator was no where in the general vicinity, but thousands of miles away. This sparked a new passion focused on seeing where drones would be applicable in the civilian world, which prompted him to self-start and self-fund KAPture Digital Media in 2014.
As a drone photographer and videographer, Powers flies everything from the Phantom4 Pro's to Inspire2 to MATRICE600 capable of carrying RED & ALEXA Mini cameras. His company has branched off into other opportunities such as the Department Head for the UAV Division of an international company, which Powers left about a year ago to focus on his own ventures. He has flown drones in Jordan, five cities across Saudi Arabia, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Dubai to name a few of his favorite locations. Needless to say, a love for travel and business go hand in hand. Powers finds that his client work is extremely diverse. In the past year he has shot everything from a KIA commercial to the Ohana music festival in Dana Point with over 20,000 attendees.
In addition to running his business, Powers recently landed a position with the San Diego State University as the Program Manager of the new UAV (drone) Program & Lab under their Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. His role entails bringing only drone professionals of the highest caliber from the industry and military to the lab and program, writing curriculum for new accredited classes at the university, and educating students and faculty.
So why did Kevin Powers enroll at The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University, in the Media Arts & Animation Bachelor of Science degree program? He says that he always wanted to finish college. He is a Veteran utilizing his GI bill and learning things that are directly applicable to his profession. His favorite classes and instructors include Image Manipulation with Mike Lynch and 3D modeling with Mike Smith. He enjoys learning the most applicable concepts in class and having instructors that understand his busy professional schedule.
In the future, Powers wants to continue doing what he loves and ensure that drones are integrated safely and properly, whether in law enforcement, film, or any other practical use.