Watch any recent television show and you’ll most likely see, among the usual camera shots, beautiful sweeping aerial panoramas. Once the preserve of big budget productions, involving helicopters and daring camera operators, these shots can now be obtained quickly and cheaply with a drone, making one an essential piece of kit in your arsenal.

Video and animation are evolving

I have been making videos and animations for Bright Blue Day for the last 8 years. In that time I have seen huge developments in the tools available to film makers and motion graphic artists, cameras increased in resolution and decreased in price, and the tools for editing and animating have never been better or easier to use.

I started flying drones a couple of years ago, first the flimsy cheap plastic ones, great fun to fly, but not too devastating to lose in a tree. Gradually I have upgraded from toys to more substantial aircraft, high resolution video, 3 axis stabilizing gimbals, longer flight times and considerably higher price tags. Suddenly I was able to record “broadcast quality” stable, smooth video. Video that I would consider usable for client work. Things started to get serious, but with great power comes great responsibility.

Qualified commercial drone pilot

When we first started talking at BBD about the possibility of using drones commercially, I knew enough that to do so required a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO), issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). What I didn’t know, however, was just how much there was to learn in order to obtain this…

Having enrolled in a 4-day course in rural Warwickshire, it soon became apparent exactly what I would need to learn in order to be awarded the coveted PfCO; airspace operating principals, airmanship and aviation safety, air law and responsibilities, meteorology, understanding navigation charts, operating procedures, risk assessment and flight planning. I quickly realised that none of this is overkill, or needless paperwork imposed by a regulator. Any aircraft, regardless of size, flying in the wrong place can have huge implications for safety.

No space for a Maverick

Assuming that your average drone can reach speeds of 40-50mph with a tail wind, and can maintain that speed for up to 30 minutes, in the event of a malfunction, that’s a potential radius of 25 miles that your drone can fly out of control. When you consider what could be in its path, from airports, military installations, and power stations, to motorways and schools, you quickly start to understand the importance of detailed research and flight planning. No one wants to be “that guy” that forces the diversion of every flight into Heathrow.

Successful completion of my training, theory exam, practical exam and operations manual has given me the confidence and skill to know how to conduct even the most complicated flight legally, and most importantly safely. I’m looking forward to putting this knowledge to work on our next piece of client work.

Drone video at BBD

Sea-level images of the C-suite no longer cut through the noise. If you’re looking to take your video to another level, get in touch to discuss the photography and video options now on offer at BBD, as well as our video editing capability.