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Drones In My Business: An Aerial Videographer’s Story

Drones In My Business: An Aerial Videographer’s Story

As a videographer, I greeted the news of drones becoming consumer products with enthusiasm. Previously, if I wanted to get great aerial shots, I needed to find someone who could film from the air, I needed a crane camera, or I would have to go up in an ultra-light and film myself. As someone who

As a videographer, I greeted the news of drones becoming consumer products with enthusiasm. Previously, if I wanted to get great aerial shots, I needed to find someone who could film from the air, I needed a crane camera, or I would have to go up in an ultra-light and film myself. As someone who doesn’t like to fly on the best of occasions, going up in a small ultra-light powered by one big propeller behind you was not a great option for me.

And so, like I said, I was thrilled to think about the possibilities that a drone would bring to my work as a videographer. My first drone was a small AR Parrot 2.0, which had an HD camera in the front and worked quite well for me. It flew to a height of about 50 metres, and it captured good video. The problem was that it was lightweight and it was highly susceptible to being pushed around by the wind. Living in the fourth windiest location in Canada, Gull Lake, you can see how that would be a problem.

So while I used some footage from that drone in my documentary, Southwest Stories, overall, I concluded that it was a fun toy but not practical for what I needed professionally.

As a result, this year, I upgraded to a new drone, a Yuneec Typhoon Q500 Plus. This is like a sports car compared to the small compact car that was my previous drone. With this drone, I am able to fly up to 2,000 feet (which I don’t because I’m terrified of losing it) and it has several other excellent features including following me and filming, going along a set path that I create for it, and several safety features for it.

I’ve had to adjust how I work with it a bit, though. Now, my larger drone requires that I follow the guidelines of Transport Canada. I’ve also had to get a Special Flight Operators Certificate (SFOC). This 20-page application required me to answer everything from how the drone is powered, to where I am planning on flying it. While it was a bit of work to get done, having the SFOC helps lend legitimacy to my business.

Yet the effort was worth it. Using a drone in my videography business allows me to capture things from a new perspective. It allows me to get footage of an acreage for a farmer, or to film a business from the air. It allows me to do inspections for clients, to film real estate listings and provide a different view of a property. Needless to say, it has opened up a whole new world of clients and filming for me.

Of course, I need to follow strict rules as a result, but that is the price you pay for using a drone in a commercial setting and technically, under the rules of Transport Canada, even filming and uploading to YouTube is using the drone commercially.

As we progress to the next few years, we are going to see more drones being used by consumers, more accidents with drones, and more reasons why the FAA and Transport Canada are going to be regulating their use. For businesses like my BlueBox Media company, though, the new opportunities opening up thanks to drones are opportunities I plan to take full advantage of.

Craig
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