From the air..
.. things can look very different, it is quite literally a whole new perspective. The possibility of putting a stabilised camera in the air, free to move in almost any direction is just too good for any photographer or film maker to ignore. For anyone in the digital media industry, drones are inescapable(!), no programming or project is complete now without some slick drone shots. If you have a specific aerial filming requirement or a project that could benefit from some beautiful drone footage then get in touch. Have a look at the pricing guide on the information page for more on the cost for a days filming and see the bottom of this page for our guide on using drones in film and photography.
Postcard from Italy
Errigal & The Mini Bean
Where We Live - 2
How will I get my shot?
A rough guide to drone operations and limitations in film and photography.
In almost every country two sets of laws guide and limit drone* operations, data collection law and aviation law. For our purposes data collection includes things like photography of private spaces or capturing images of faces in public (which is not illegal in most places though images cannot be used for commercial purposes). The laws around photography and filming are familiar to any digital production company but aviation law, less so and from a legal standpoint all drones are considered aircraft. Here at Foyle Media we teamed up with the U.A.V. Academy to make sure we could easily achieve certification from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and obtain our Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) in the U.K. This includes pilot and operations manager training and the development of an ‘operations manual’ which serves as a guide for all Foyle Media drone operations. Regulations are being standardised across the E.U. however there are still variations especially regarding commercial operations and training requirments. We will strictly adhere to all local legislation regarding operations and will make no exceptions, we also operate with full insurance at all times. It must be said though that drone laws in most countries allow sufficient latitude to obtain great footage without too much administrative red tape (notable exceptions include Canada and Spain). Get in touch to discuss an Aerial aspect for your project or promotion.
In most places in Europe operations must be conducted with the drone in visual line of site at all times. It should not be flown above an altitude of 120Mts (400ft) or further away than 500Mts (1600ft), it may never be flown near airports and airfields (restrictions vary but 5 miles is a good general guide. Permissions for aerial work in controlled airspace may or may not be issued by local/regional/national airspace management bodies). Most countries place restrictions on proximity to persons vessels and vehicles (30 - 50 Mts) and built up areas, crowds, sporting events, sensitive installations and a host of other locations and situations. These restrictions change when a person or property is said to be ‘under the control’ of the drone operator. In the U.K. for example if an actor is working on a production and has been properly briefed a qualified drone pilot employed by the production may fly the aircraft as close as is safe depending on the drone, perhaps as close as one meter.
Expert knowledge of the legislative parameters is required to make sure the desired shot can be obtained while still operating the aircraft within safe and legal limits. In any country it is not advisable to employ a casual drone operator for paid work, if the flight were conducted without regard to the laws surrounding remote aircraft use, the individual or organisation who commissioned the flight could at very least be implicated in what might be a prosecutable offence. In the U.K. it is illegal to pay someone not in possession of a Permission for Commercial Operations for aerial filming or any other drone operation.
Very few remote aircraft are capable of flying in rain although some newer DJI models are ‘rain-proof’ to a certain extent. Any fog or mist will mean line of sight is impossible and in any event would likely damage the drone. Even if flight is possible rain soaked lenses make for unsatisfactory results in all but must have footage situations.
The wind is the second big weather factor. Most aerial platforms in use today are rated to specific wind tolerances. When wind speed approaches 20kts (23mph) the safe operation of a drone may become impossible. Using the map above you can quickly determine the possibility of remote flight operations for your area. When the colour is blue and light blue into green most drones will be able to operate.
Some links to external pages on Drone laws and regulations. If you have advanced questions about what is permitted when operating a drone the answer will be here.
Basic Drone Code (From Dronesafe U.K. This gives a good idea of the general envelope within which almost all drone flights must take place in most european countries)
Link to EU (E.A.S.A) regulatory framework page (Civil drones - Unmanned aircraft). Gives a good timeline for the rollout of regulation and an idea what the regulations will look like.
(*A Drone is also often called: Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (R.P.A.S); Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (U.A.V); and often just ‘aircraft’).