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Past AZDroneFest winner shares secret behind captivating shots

Friday is the deadline to submit for the second-annual AZDroneFest.

PHOENIX — The deadline to get in on some high flying competition is quickly approaching.

The AZDroneFest and Education Expo is set to kick off in October. The event is designed to promote and celebrate aerial cinematography in Arizona. 

Saunders Staley is a past festival winner who has shot internationally with his company, FLYINGROBOT

Now his work can be seen worldwide. Whether he is cruising over the ocean, the edge of a cliff, or here at home in the desert, he captures scenes from a view most of us would never be able to see. 

"One of the shots in the first scene of my winning film was me flying over the ocean," Staley said. 

A cinematographer with more than 20 years of experience he is now a full-time drone pilot. Staley began shooting with the drones about five years ago.

He has won big for his work, including best of Arizona Drone Fest and Best Photography.

"I'm looking forward to seeing it on the big screen," he said.

Staley took us out to Paradise Valley Park to show us firsthand how he flies and captures his stunning shots.

His work has also been featured on National Geographic, The Discovery Channel and more. 

Staley says one of the best parts about the job is the surprise.

"I really like not knowing what the next day is going to look like and there's always something new," he said.

And the secret behind his success?

"The edit portion of the win is huge," Staley said.

"Editing is ninety percent of the work. I would think shooting is ten percent of the work."

You do not have to be a professional in order to take part in AZDroneFest. The film festival accepts all experience levels. 

Maybe Staley's work will give you that little inspiration needed to jump-start your own award winning project.

Friday is the deadline for submissions for the second-annual AZDroneFest.

You can find more information here