UAV’s are mini aircraft and require a great deal of respect, training and responsibility to operate. If a drone pilot doesn’t have an established safety plan and extensive training and knowledge you run the risk of having any number of possible accidents or personal injury on your hands which in itself is a frightening prospect, especially on your special day. This is where it’s important to make sure your drone pilot is properly trained and licensed by the FAA and holds a part 107 certificate ensuring your drone operations will be safe for all parties involved. A licensed pilot in command will have undergone extensive training in aeronautical decision making enabling them to fly the aircraft in the safest way possible mitigating risk for everyone.
Any reputable drone pilot will carry commercial UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) liability insurance ranging from 1 million to 5 million dollars. This is a must for your event. Accidents happen and although it’s tough to think about it, the reality is if you hire a drone photographer that does not carry liability insurance, you’re really taking a risk should something unexpected happen to cause damage to the venue or even worse, personal injury. It’s important to take this step to make sure your pilot is fully insured should any accident occur on your special day. Better safe than sorry.
FAA regulations state that at no time may an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) operation be conducted directly over people with the following expectations: a) those people are directly involved in the operation, or b) they are protected by a solid structure. If any of your requested shots are to directly overhead of your guests, a waiver will be required, which can take anywhere from 30-90 days to be approved. However, most shots can be obtained from a safe distance so this shouldn’t be an issue for most weddings unless you absolutely desire a specific shot from directly overhead.
Although we all hope for great weather on your special day, many things can happen with the weather that could result in your sUAS pilot to cancel planned flights for that day. Wind is a big culprit that can shut things down but also precipitation and extreme hot or cold can play a role. It’s important to realize that things like wind speed increase with altitude so it’s not always possible to access the situation from the ground. A harmless 5pmh wind at ground level could be blowing 25mph a few hundred feet in the air.It’s important to remember that perfect weather on the ground may be different than perfect weather in the air. Some event day weather related things to consider include:
Precipitation: A pilot will not operate an sUAV in any form of precipitation including rain, snow or any kind of fog.
Cloud cover: An unmanned aircraft must maintain a minimum distance of 500 feet below cloud base and at least 2000 feet horizontally away from clouds if at the same altitude.
Wind - Your pilot generally will not operate in wind conditions in excess of 15mph above ground level. Low level turbulence and shifting currents have a direct impact on the aircrafts performance and can pose hazards to flight.
Wind: Your pilot generally will not operate in wind conditions in excess of 15mph above ground level. Low level turbulence and shifting currents have a direct impact on the aircrafts performance and can pose hazards to flight.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
Not all drones are the same. There are major differences in the type of drones people use to shoot events and the types of cameras they are using. Some ‘toy’ drones are no more than flying cell phones and the photos and video are low quality and most are not suitable for editing, printing or other uses.
If you’re planning on hiring a drone pilot it’s important to make sure to hire a reputable professional with an onboard camera and gimbal that contains the appropriate specs to ensure your rendered photos and video footage are high quality and produce quality images.
It’s also important to hire a professional that has appropriate ground control of the drone at all times which requires a wide range controller and transmitter that is capable of controlling the drone in all unexpected circumstances such as a gust of wind. Professional drone operators will also have communications to ensure the airspace is ok to fly and be able to file the appropriate wavers with the FAA if necessary.
LOCATION OF VENUE
FAA has control over all airspace and according to federal airspace restrictions it is unlawful to fly a drone within specific areas near airports, hospitals, police stations and similar institutions. Local jurisdictions also have policies on when and where unmanned.
This is another reason it’s extremely important to hire a professional drone pilot to ensure it’s safe to fly at your location and all FAA waivers are in place if needed. Failure to acquire needed authorizations can result in thousands of dollars in fines.
Your drone pilot may also schedule a site visit to inspect for potential hazards like trees, power lines, cell towers, and other hazards that may limit desired flight path.
If you were hoping to get up close and personal footage of your event via a drone this is not possible as drones are noisy and do not have audio capabilities. Drones are an excellent tool to capture stunning 4k images and visual footage but must be operated from a safe distance away so when it comes to actual audio of your ceremony or event you’ll have to rely on traditional videographers on the ground to capture audio.
It’s important to also consider your guests comfort and safety when considering adding an aerial photographer to your special day.
It’s also important to remember as we mentioned above, drones are noisy. Adding a drone to your special day is meant to enhance your day, not hinder it or interfere with the ceremony itself. A drone is best used from a high altitude so it quietly captures thee action from the sky without being of any interference with action happening on the ground. For this reason, close up shots are best left to traditional photography on the ground. Carolina Airshots can work with your ground photographer to get the perfect shots for your needs.
HOW MUCH DOES DRONE FOOTAGE TYPICALLY COST?
While aerial drone footage of your event will add extra cost to your special day, the final product can be well worth it. Aerial photography and footage can provide you with breathtaking images and moving footage that just isn’t possible with traditional photography.
However there are many factors to consider when accessing costs of hiring a drone operator to capture your event. Will you need the pilot to be available at more than one location? Will you be capturing still images, video footage or both? Depending on many factors sometimes the FAA requires a trained visual observer to accompany the pilot on the day of the shoot which can also increase the price of your package. There can be big differences in cost depending on your needs. Some examples include:
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