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Capturing the county from above

Astral Perspectives soars high

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 12/11/21

Recent attenders of the Shelbyville Christmas Parade may have noticed some drone presence. Times-Gazette readers may also notice some drone photography in the recent Bedford Life.

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Capturing the county from above

Astral Perspectives soars high

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Recent attenders of the Shelbyville Christmas Parade may have noticed some drone presence. Times-Gazette readers may also notice some drone photography included in the winter edition of Bedford Life magazine, inserted today.  

The credit for those aerial views is due to Josh Grau of Astral Perspectives. An FAA certified remote pilot, professionally fulfilling a life-long dream.  

Husband and wife team  

So, he and wife, Aerin, live right here in Shelbyville. From Unionville to Flat Creek, they’ve been busy this year, capturing spectacular drone views of Bedford County. Astral Perspectives is actually woman-owned.  

Josh and Aerin aren’t originally from Bedford County, but say they’ve come to love Tennessee.  

“We have a lot we want to accomplish as a new venture, but our main goal is to celebrate and showcase local businesses in Tennessee, starting right here in this region,” says Aerin.  

“We want people to see how breathtaking Tennessee is and get to know the inspiring folks that live here! What better way to do that than with immersive, first-person experiences of local events, businesses, venues, and landmarks?”  

About the pilot  

Josh was born in Tullahoma and reared in Murfreesboro. He admits he’s been obsessed with anything flight-related since he was 5; his childhood dream was to be a fighter pilot.  

As a teenager, he was a sponsored skateboarder for Moab in Murfreesboro and Sixth Avenue in Nashville. He soon took to filming his friends, catching their daring tricks on camera and editing them into eye-catching compilations. 

 Aerin says this obviously takes an “extreme skill.”  

“The intense focus and discipline it took to become great never left him,” says Aerin, “even after he was forced to quit skateboarding, due to injury.  

Eventually, he got into building and flying remote-controlled aircraft/ drones and finally found an outlet that was even more challenging and way more rewarding.”  

Josh has been riding that crest ever since.  

After logging thousands of hours on a qualifying drone racing simulator, Josh’s technical skills are unmatched by local peers; he is ranked among the Top 100 on the global qualifier for lap-time.  

Josh has worked as a drone runner for the Drone Racing League as seen on NBC Sports, and this summer, he will begin racing the Multi-GP circuit that’s hosted in Knoxville. (https://www.multigp.com/).  

He is an FAA Certified Remote Pilot with AMA commercial flight insurance.  

About Astral Perspectives  

While Astral Perspectives offers footage that everyone has come to expect with drones, Josh’s skill as a first-person, manual pilot really pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in a way that confounds people — so much so that the couple coined the phrase “astracinematic” to describe their work.  

“When people think of drones, they think of a kid’s toy, or the Mavic/ Phantom drones . . . . Josh’s “quadcopters” of FPV (first-person view) drones are much different.  

They have no proximity sensors, no return to homed safety features, and require 100 percent manual control. Most are custom built; they all require intensive tuning and programming to ensure they fly smoothly.  

“Because of the demanding dedication, time, and troubleshooting it takes to master this craft, there is no one in our region able to offer the footage/ coverage that we can,” says Josh.  

With goggles on, Josh explains how his first-person view from the drone’s cockpit is almost like an out-of-body experience: hence the name, Astral Perspectives.  

“Not only are we able to get dynamic shots of exterior locations and maneuver safely around crowds (using the appropriate equipment and following FAA guidelines closely), we can showcase interior spaces cinematically with the same ease,” he says.  

Their mission  

Astral Perspectives’ goal is to set a new standard for videography and cinematography by offering people a rare and unique perspective: “astracinematography/astravideography” as coined by Josh and Aerin.  

“We want to change people’s minds about drones by combining advanced skill and creativity with safe and responsible practices as outlined by the FAA,” says Josh.  

When it comes to their business values, the couple note they want to “stand out in a sea of the mundane” and “provide a new perspective that gets people talking about possibilities.” 

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