Need to book a drone pilot? Not sure where to start? Here's some do's and don'ts to guarantee you get your aerial video or photography safely.
Here below are some numbered FAQs which should prove helpful for anyone wanting to get some professional drone footage for a project, plan or programme.
1. First off ask yourself, do I definitely need a drone?
The reason I'm mentioning this first is that I recently worked on a job where I had a regular monthly booking for aerial work, and I worked out it was both quicker and safer (in this instance) to use a pilot friend of and his light aircraft to get the photographs. The main plus in this example was that rather than have any impact on the construction site below, we were able to fly over at 1500ft without any land based permissions, health and safety assessments or risk to the general public. The other option other than a drone is using a pole cam, which I have, and has proved very useful when winds or safety don't allow you to fly.
2. Benefits of using (a) drone (and) pilot
So let's say a plane is overkill for your needs. Drones have great benefits, and in terms of pure control are (in the right hands) incredibly safe. But they have stigma attached to them, which is where I'd recommend you only choose to use a pilot who is CAA approved.
3. Good uses for a drone
Here's some of the commercial applications where drones are an ideal solution.
Architects commonly use drones for the same reason as Construction Companies, to get good overhead footage of a completed project - sometimes the construction firm want progress videos through the project, and so having a CSCS card for working on construction sites is needed (which I have BTW). Estate Agents and Commercial Property (Letting) Agents also need aerial video and or photographs on a regular basis, and this work forms a large proportion of my commissions.
4. Choosing a pilot (and their drone)
Before we start this bit, you hopefully will be aware that as soon as a drone pilot commits to do a commercial (ie: fee paying) job, he or she must have a CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) license, which can be applied for once the pilot has undertaken a CAA approved course (I'd recommend UAV-AIR who I trained with). It's a heavyweight course, taught by commercial airline pilots who take the whole subject very seriously indeed.
Wilcard option: "I'll buy a drone and do it myself"
This is an option for anyone. But will you be insured if something goes wrong? Are you certain you can provide a proper level of expertise in terms of aerial flying that won't endanger anyone? Also bear in mind, you'll have to fly the thing, AND control the camera - knowing just how much footage you need to get to make a video is quite an art.
So I hope this has been helpful, do drop me a line on my contact page or give me a call if you'd like to get your drone questions answered.
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