Imagine the planning, preparation, and cost required to hire a helicopter for your video production.

By comparison, hiring an aerial camera drone will save you a lot of money but it also requires proper planning.

In some cases, planning for a camera drone flight can be slightly more complex than a manned helicopter, given that full-sized aircraft are allowed to fly in many airspace locations and weather conditions that a remotely piloted drone cannot.



The bottom line...

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With proper planning, a drone
will save you money and
enable aerial shots that were
considered too expensive
to even storyboard.

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For Best Results, Be Flexible

Think about camera drones as early as possible when planning your production. Similar to some local authority location permissions, you may need to allow processing time for an application for a camera drone shoot.

Production pre-planning for an aerial photo/video shoot needs to be flexible to take into account a few things that can disrupt a shoot day.

Here are a few things to consider...

When hiring a filming location or organising crew and actors, make plans for an alternate shoot day if possible.

Ask service providers about any extra costs that could arise from having to re-schedule the shoot.

Discuss cancellation policies with your aerial camera drone provider.


Bad Weather

The most disruptive factor to aerial filming in the UK is the changeable BAD WEATHER!

Camera drones cannot fly in the rain and gusty winds over 15mph may cause excessive vibrations on the camera gimbal. Very windy days also present a safety concern when flying, so it's best to avoid these conditions whenever possible.

As the shoot day approaches, be sure to check the weather forecast and consult with your camera drone operator so we can decide if we need to postpone the shoot day.


Useful resources:


Location Safety

First and foremost, we must have permission to use the land to take-off and land our drone at a shooting location. This may be done through the production's location agreements but if it's not on private land, we will need to contact the local authorities.

The camera drone operator will always conduct an online survey of the shooting location prior to the shoot day to research the area and any potential issues.

A tech recce is strongly advised, since the drone operator will be able to highlight any potential issues such as microwave dishes/masts, overhead wires, or other potential safey and operational hazards.

On the day of the shoot though, if our pre-flight on-site survey of the location raises any new safety concerns that we cannot mitigate, we may not actually be able to fly our camera drones.

While our online pre-deployment (pre-shoot) research aims to highlight any potential issues, there is always a chance of surprises happening on the day.

Some complex shooting locations may also require the help of extra ground crew or production assistants to act as pedestrian and/or traffic marshals.


Useful resources:


Airspace Restrictions

In general, camera drones cannot fly close to airports or over large crowds of people. Also, we must stay 50m away from persons and property that are not under our control (i.e. not part of the production).

Most parks and playing fields in the UK have specific council byelaws regarding the use of remote/radio controlled aircraft. Be sure to check with your local authority before flying in wide open public spaces.

As part of our online pre-deployment survey, we research the intended shooting location to make sure we are allowed to fly our camera drones.

Even still, there is the potential for temporary airspace restrictions (NOTAMs) to pop up and prevent our intended flight. Military exercises, VIP/Royal flights, and manned aircraft emergencies all take precedent over our aerial camera drones.


Useful resources:

=[ Essential Checklist ]=
Does your camera drone operator have a PFCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) from the CAA?

Do we have permission to use the land?
Are we close to any airports or public spaces?
Is the location safe to fly in?
Do we need extra ground crew?
Do we have good weather forecast for the day?

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