The use of drones has exploded over the past few years and is now being applied, not only in the film and advertising industries but also in real estate, agriculture, construction and many more!
Although drones have significantly simplified the obtaining of aerial footage, it is necessary to keep the following in mind and discuss with your operator before hand.
What do you want?
Yes we are the professionals, but as with anything, our ideas of what might work, and your expectations, don't always line up. We want our clients to be happy, so therefore we need a clear indication of what your vision is.
You are most likely interested in drone footage because you've seen it somewhere. Looking at different drone clips can help you identify what it is you want or maybe just the height or speed you want. Having done a bit of your own research, you can discuss the options with your drone pilot and together a vision can be made into reality.
Weather, Days and Times
This might seem a bit on the nose but people tend to forget that drones are even affected by wind.
Do not be fooled by the image above. Drones cannot operate in wet or windy weather and any professional pilot wouldn't even consider it. Although we are fearless we believe in safe and responsible flying and we draw the line at a wind speed of 25 km/h.
Where possible, it is best to be flexible with the days, plan ahead and check weather on the specific day and in the specific location you wish to shoot at. Also remember that a weather forecast is not an exact science. Sometimes the weather just doesn't play along and schedules will need to be adjusted.
The last and maybe the most important thing to remember is the time of day to shoot. For the most aesthetic look, sunrise and sunset is your best friend. You can shoot any time of day, but do you really want to risk having drone shadows due to a midday shoot? Better not.
Location and V-LOS
Safety is our number one priority and definitely not something to compromise on.
Google maps and Google street view has made it very easy to 'scout' locations and find the perfect place to take off from.
Before any flights are conducted, a necessary site inspection needs to be done and all the rights/permissions need to be secured.
A very important part of identifying location, is the visual line of sight (V-LOS for short). As per regulations, the aircraft is to be flown within the pilot's visual line of sight at all times. This is usually about 500 meters.
This is especially important in areas where there are tall buildings that can compromise the V-LOS. In this instance, we try and find a location where we can get higher up, for example, a rooftop parking lot, a large enough balcony etc. etc.
For optimal safety and V-LOS, we operate in teams of two, the licensed drone operator and a designated 'spotter' as we like to call it. The observer's (spotter's) main purpose is to make sure that V-LOS is never lost and that the drone is out of harms way, allowing the operator to focus on getting the perfect shot.
Post - Production
When making use of a professional drone service, it is important to keep in mind where the footage will go once it has been shot.
The more sophisticated drones shoot in 4K and RAW which is great in terms of image quality but problematic in terms of file formats and sizes.
Post-production can be a costly add-on. Editing is a time consuming task that is not just cutting shots together but also enhancing colour, maximizing clarity, adding the right music and exporting into usable formats. It might be worth investing in post-production, be it simple trans-coding and compressing so that your own team can easily use the footage or to actually have a full range of marketing material put together.
Consult with your drone service about the post-production. AMBIT and many others offer editing as a service and would likely be able to give a good price as you are making use of more than one of their services.
On that note...
Who doesn't like ongoing work/ ongoing services? In many industries, like real estate and construction where there is always new property, negotiations can be made to shoot and edit together the relevant material, on a regular basis, at a discounted price.
These discussions are necessary. Even though we have a rate card, all work is bespoke work and the time and efforts that go into shooting a construction site and trans-coding footage, and the time and effort that go into shooting and editing a real estate video, are vastly different, especially when on a more permanent basis.
There is definitely more to be said when it comes to drones, but for those not so clued up about drones and wanting to hire these services, the above mentioned is a good place to start.