The Warrior

Students take their businesses to the skies and airwaves

Stefan Rebic, Div. 890, works to calibrate the compass and GPS on his drone before taking video for a contract at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Rebic)

Stefan Rebic, Div. 890, works to calibrate the compass and GPS on his drone before taking video for a contract at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Rebic)

Stefan Rebic, Div. 890, works to calibrate the compass and GPS on his drone before taking video for a contract at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Rebic)

By Joshua Tarafa, Editor-In-Chief

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Stefan Rebic, Div. 890, spent over a month studying and going over 200 pages of review in preparation for his pilot test. After spending $300 and taking a nerve wracking trip to Midway Airport, Rebic was able to pass his exam.

Rebic received his FAA part 107 commercial certification for small unmanned aircrafts last July, which allows him to fly his drone and capture footage in the city commercially. Rebic began flying and taking videos as a hobby, but eventually Rebic moved to privately starting his own business, Elevate Videography.

The summer of 2017 was the moment Rebic said, had sparked his passion and took the photography skills he invested in his student-run business to drones and beyond.

When Rebic is not doing private contracts with bigger organizations, he has also started doing volunteer work for Lane.

“The marquee in front of the school, Mr. Panek hired me to do that,” Rebic said. “I do those things because they are so nice and Mr. Ara gave me my exemption from the FAA so I can fly over schools.”

Mr. Panek, Lane’s Technology Coordinator, was satisfied with the results that Rebic had produced for the marquee.

“I asked him to format the content in a specific way so that it was compatible with our systems and Stefan did a great job,” Panek said.

Rebic did all the of editing and graphics for the sign as well and according to Mr. Panek there are plans to use Rebic’s photography again for projects in the coming months.

In addition to the aerial footage featured on Lane’s marquee on the corner of Western and Addison, Rebic has also taken hundreds of photos for the school at various events with his DSLR camera. Rebic is enrolled in three photography classes at Lane: media crew, digital imaging II and an independent study where he edits and takes photos.

“I have done people’s profiles for LinkedIn over this app called Shootster,” Rebic said. “I do a lot of work where I put it out there with watermarks and then people buy it as a stock image.”

Companies have also contacted Rebic about purchasing or collaborating with him on projects. Rebic said that Allstate Insurance hired him to assess damage on houses, Google and Getty Images have purchased his photos and Paramount pictures may use his drone work in an upcoming film.

All his drone footage is taken with a Phantom four pro plus drone with a Sony Zenmuse Camera that Rebic installed himself.

“My camera shoots 4K and 60 frames per second, which is the hollywood standard,” Rebic said.

Rebic plans to move towards using his drone to capture footage for concerts around the city and is currently in contact with the producers of Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening and Lakeshake about recording video and capturing images for commercial use.

Despite the amount of business that drones have brought to Rebic, he said it is still a high risk enterprise.

“One wrong radio frequency and your drone is in the river, people pay you a ton but you can lose your entire investment in a few mistakes,” Rebic said.

As for how drones and photography play into his future, Rebic said that he wants to study business in college and continue to take photos as a hobby on the side.

Charlie Chmielewski, Div. 070, and his brother Henry have also started their own business in the past year. As of Feb. 26 WING-FM has been an active station through the online streaming service Radionomy.

Making a radio station is something that Chmielewski and his brother have pictured doing their whole life.

“We had the idea many times before in our life and we were the djs and we did it over walkie talkies and things,” Chmielewski said. “We didn’t think it was really possible until we found this platform radionomy and once we found that platform that provided royalties to all the artists it kind of just took off from there.”

According to Radionomy’s policy, the site covers music royalty obligations as long as the station can maintain a minimum audience listening for a total of 12 hours a day in the first three months.

According to Chmielewski, his station is still working to get the minimum amount of listeners.

Charlie and Henry Chmielewski built their station by starting with 1000 songs to provide a basis to remain on the air and now focus on two main goals. According to Chmielewski, their station, focuses on a variety of genres and also places listener requests into the playlist.

“We at WING-FM wanted to focus on a broad range of genres and create an experience with many many songs from each genre,” Chmielewski said.

The only stipulation in song requests is that they cannot have explicit content, but the station plays and randomizes songs once they are requested.

According to Chmielewski, in between every four random songs is a bumper that has information about the station and in the future may contain segments featuring quizzes or games designed by the creators.

Chmielewski also intends to start a radio club at Lane, especially if the station is successful and is currently working towards making the club a reality by looking for faculty advisors to help.

“Ultimately the fate is with the listeners,” Chmielewski said. “We have been trying to promote our brand without too much success yet, but hopefully that changes soon.”

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Students take their businesses to the skies and airwaves