Omani harnesses drones to showcase the Sultanate’s beauty

Oman Sunday 07/May/2017 21:09 PM
By: Times News Service
Omani harnesses drones to showcase the Sultanate’s beauty

Muscat: With drones now becoming increasingly accessible to everyone, one Omani is using the technology to showcase the beauty and splendour of the Sultanate, and to promote the country as a tourist destination.
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Forty-year-old Abdullah Al Hinai fell in love with drones at a tech conference in London three years ago, and he’s converted that into a passion of his ever since.
The founder of 4K Oman, a company that specialises in high-definition photo and videography, Al Hinai’s stunning visuals encompass many of the nation’s most prominent spots, ranging from a gorgeous panorama of the Muttrah Corniche and an incredible night-time shoot of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, to an excellent birds-eye video of the historic Nakhal Fort and its surrounding palm groves and oases.
“When I bought my first drone, I just made short videos to share with my family and friends,” explained Al Hinai while speaking to the Times of Oman. “They loved what I’d done and I realised I could do so much more.”
“When you explore a place by walking around, you are only viewing it through one perspective,” he added. “You may not see a place for what it is actually worth until you are able to see it from different angles, and that was what I was able to see with drones, even if it is just a simple building that you are walking past.”
A father of four, Al Hinai is also the deputy head of IT at the National Bank of Oman and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Bedfordshire through Majan College, and has now been approached by several organisations to film the Sultanate for the world to see.
“I’d captured Al Bustan from the air, and the hotel wanted to buy the footage,” recalled Al Hinai. “However, I am still not good enough to ask for money for my shoots, so I told them to use it for free, as long as they give me credit.
“Similarly, I was approached by a German TV company, who wanted me to work with them while they were in Oman, because they were making a documentary on the Middle East,” he added. “However, I had my MBA exams at the time, so I kept in touch with them, and will be working with them the next time they’re in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).”
Juggling a time-consuming passion, his job, his academics and his family isn’t always easy, but Al Hinai makes it all work.
“It takes me about two to three days to shoot at a location, and then a week to edit all of this footage,” he revealed. “My schedule is pretty tight at the moment, but I do this whenever I find time because it is a passion of mine.”
The owner of three drones—a DJI Mavic and two Phantoms—Al Hinai has many lessons for those who wish to take up drone filming.
“Until very recently, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation had a ‘fly at your own risk’ policy, but now you need a licence to fly drones, so make sure you always follow the law in this area, because drones are expensive and you don’t want to end up making a mistake,” he said.
“Make sure you always train with a drone, don’t just buy the most expensive ones because they look good; you need about a year before you get to grips with a drone,” added Al Hinai.
“Oman is a vast country and has plenty of natural beauty, unlike the other GCC nations, and I want to make a documentary that captures the country, all the way from Musandam to Salalah.”