Dronester definition – December 26th, 2015, Urban Dictionary

1) a nerd who owns a drone of any sort
2) a commercial drone pilot

I think One Minute Wonders Video Productions and Drone Services fits into both camps as we are: –

1) passionate about our drone or unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV)

and

2) we have the license from the CAA  (PfCO) to fly our drone commercially.

We’ve been flying for a good while now so we thought it would be a good idea to share some ups and downs about what we’ve learnt  from both a dronester’s point of view and a client’s point of view.

Starting off…

When you start out shooting try to resist the urge to take unnecessary risks with the drone. Don’t fly too far away, too fast or too high before you know what you are doing and you know how to get your drone back safely. The single most important flying related skill is simply being able to fly the drone safely. You should be aware of local regulations and stick to them.

Prepare, prepare and prepare…

Most of our shoots are planned, researched and pictures practically composed before we set off on location to film.  If possible, the site will have been surveyed beforehand for any obstacles either physical or logistical so that the flight can run as smoothly as possible. Our batteries give about 12 minutes of flying time so everything has to be thoroughly prepared to get the most out of the time in the air. The insurance for the drone’s flight  must also be fixed before the flight. We have public indeminity insurance of  £1,000,000.

Light and weather…

The next most important part of the research stage is choosing the best time to film based on light and weather conditions.  Early morning and evening are usually the best  times so that advantage can be taken of the light in the Golden Hour. This is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. At midday the light is flatter and there are less shadows. Sometimes you just have to shoot to fit in with your client’s plans but you always just have to shoot when the weather allows you. At the time of writing we have had a shoot postponed three times due to the ground being flooded. So even though the weather may be fine what you are filming may not look at it’s best from the sir so make sure you check this beforehand.

It’s always different from the air.

It doesn’t matter how much you plan once the drone is up  the view is never quite what you imagined  – most of the time it’s better! Don’t be surprised if you can’t get exactly the shot you were looking for. You may have to compromise or shoot a sequence that the tells the same story as the one you had originally planned but you’ll always be able to get something.

 

Finally be prepared for the unexpected.

A couple of weeks ago we were flying in St. Paul’s square in the centre of Birmingham. It was a tricky shoot as most are in busy town centres. We were a two man crew a (pilot and camera operator) with 3 spotters on the ground to watch our backs. The drone took off safely. We flew it up to 100 feet took some aerial shots and aerial photographs. All was going according to plan  and then from nowhere seagulls started to appear and take an interest in the drone. We took it higher but even more gulls turned up. We managed to get the shots necessary for the client (Birmingham University) but it was touch and go for a while. There is nothing you can do to prepare for a situation like this as on the recce there were no gulls in sight so be prepared for the unexpected.

Chocs away, happy flying 🙂