CARNDUFF — Up until this summer, Carnduff's Taylan Prokop knew nothing about drone footage. But once the inspiration and curiosity kicked in when he watched his uncle making aerial videos, there was no turning back.
Prokop Productions, an initiative that specializes in capturing breathtaking aerial videos of rural Saskatchewan and Alberta communities, started just a few months ago, but already has attracted a lot of interest online and beyond.
Taylan started exploring the world of aerial videography in late August and is using technology to showcase colours, shades and beauty of Prairie provinces from above. To share the results of his work, he founded the Prokop Productions YouTube channel, which gained some attention online and beyond, as Taylan became one of the guests on the John Gormley radio show in November.
But it all started with one visit when the technology and opportunities they provide resonated with Taylan's interests.
"This summer I was at my brother's wedding in B.C., and my uncle was a photographer. He has a drone, and he was playing with it in the mountains, and I kind of got interested in it," Prokop recalled.
Taylan had no experience with video or photography or flying gadgets, but shortly after, he bought his first drone and started experimenting and learning about it. He quickly figured out how to fly it and started shooting videos, taught himself to use video editing software and got into the world of music to complete the videos. Once he posted the first results of his work, they instantly gained a lot of attention.
"My first video that I put together was of Carnduff, Saskatchewan, where I currently live. I posted it on Facebook, and it blew up. I think it has over 7,000 views now and over 100 shares," Taylan said.
The video was posted on Sept. 15, setting off the future of Prokop Productions. With the popularity of his first experiment, Taylan shot more aerial footage, this time capturing the beauty of Oxbow, its valley and the community, which also gained a lot of attention online with thousands of views and over a hundred shares.
"I thought, there's obviously a market for this type of video, so I created the YouTube channel and kept making videos going around. I made a couple of videos of abandoned buildings, farmhouses, and a couple other interesting locations. And I'm still doing town reels because people like having attention on their little rural communities that never really have eyes on them. And it's cool for people to see all the different corners of the country and the provinces," Taylan shared.
His brother Mason, who resides in Edmonton and who's been gaining interest in photography lately, shared Taylan's fascination and joined him in this project in October. He started creating Alberta content so that the Prokop brothers now work hand in hand, promoting the Canadian sites that are often left unnoticed by the rest of the country.
"He picked up his own drone and started making videos with me. We talk usually every night about what we're doing on the channel, what kind of videos we want to make in the next week, plan and do all the business stuff," Taylan said. "We're trying to cover every little area of the Prairies … And the goal, I guess, would be to expand outwards, all over Canada. But that's a long way away."
Outside of the initial Carnduff and Oxbow videos, Taylan so far captured Bienfait, Gainsborough, Rafferty Dam, Carievale, Lampman, Redvers, Alameda and some abandoned rural houses in Saskatchewan, and Mason also added the videos from rural Alberta.
While the initial steps didn't take Taylan long to get off the ground and start creating professional videos, further growth will depend on many variables as it will involve a lot of travelling. To help with reaching their dreams, he created a Prokop Productions account on Patreon.com – a platform that allows raising funds to support creators in their projects.
"Our goal is to continue doing what we're doing and just build a big catalogue of rural towns around the Prairies and really the country. But there's challenges to that. I mean, the further you go, the more expensive it becomes to travel to the location. So, we started our own Patreon. Hopefully, some people want to donate to that or join and become a member to help us create more content in the future," Taylan explained.
Taylan said while learning all parts of the industry from scratch was pretty difficult, it's also been interesting. He thought flying would be the most fun part, but editing and colouring the footage, which he thought would be the most difficult, became his favourite pieces of the process.
Not only did it take a lot of research, but it also required a lot of talent to get the product of Prokop Productions’ quality. Taylan said it definitely feels interesting and rewarding, and so far it's a passion project for him and Mason.
"We love the flying and then getting home with all your footage and watching it on your big computer monitor … It's really crisp, and then you start colouring, and it looks so beautiful when you bring up some of the colours in the footage. It's definitely a passion for both of us. It's really cool. And other people enjoy what we're doing, so it's kind of a service passion. We like making these videos for the communities," Taylan said.