Here are answers to typical questions we are asked:
Yes. The equipment is filled with sensitive electronics. If there is rain or snow, we cannot fly the craft. Winds over 12mph are problematic, mostly for highly stable video, but also for flight. Weather is usually predictable, and we have mobile access to weather radar and other forecasting tools. We will usually know and plan in advance if we have to delay the shoot by hours or by days.
Yes. We can adjust the tilt, pan and roll and see the image on the ground monitor.
No. While the images that we capture on the camera’s memory card are of the highest quality for use in all situations, the live feed to the ground monitors are suitable for flight-control use only.
We’re taping mostly in daylight hours. We can be setting up or scouting location from the dawn to dusk.
Video: From full HD – 1920 x 1080 down to standard definition (720 x 480 widescreen). Real 4K video will be available in the future.
Stills: 12MP Wide: 4000×3000 pixels
For file delivery, we can provide a Micro SDHC memory chip on site, or edit and stream for you as needed.
Yes, and we encourage your active involvement. That said, you don’t need to be on site once we agree to the site and video plan.
Yes. Each rig has a video downlink that allows us to monitor what is being shot in real time. This allows the producer to direct the pilot to fly the rig to a particular spot and be able to rotate the camera to the exact angle to get the best shot. We can also immediately review and evaluate what has been shot once the rig lands. If we need to re-shoot, we just pop in a fresh battery and take it back up. Approvals can be made on the spot.
The rigs and cameras are all battery powered. The smaller rigs fly for about 8 minutes and the larger ones for about 12 minutes, depending on weather conditions. That is more than enough time to get multiple shots while in the air. Battery changeover only takes a few minutes and we’re back up in the air. We come to the location with many fully-charged batteries. As long as we have access to a power outlet, we can keep our recharger running all day long and rotate batteries. When power is not readily available, we can bring along a power generator (extra fee).
We can be up and running in about 15 minutes. That gives us enough time for safety checks and for other preflight considerations. This is one of the biggest advantages of our kind of equipment over traditional aerial photography methods.
Yes. We carry $1 million in liability on a standard shoot, and that can be increased if necessary (additional fee).
Yes and no. It takes quite a long time to learn how to pilot the vehicles safely and in varying conditions. Don’t expect to go to a store, hand over many thousands of dollars, buy a rig and begin to take production-quality images in short order. It’s not as simple as that, and this is not for the feint of heart. We have invested countless hours in learning the techniques, understanding the safety issues, experimenting and customizing the equipment, and yes, crashing, so that you do not have to. Your focus can be on the creative message while we take care of getting the right shots for you.
No. Our rigs come with a producer and pilot. We’re not in the business of renting our our equipment.
Yes. For safety, we only fly line-of-sight, typically a radius of about 500 feet. And we will not exceed a height of 400 feet. You will be delighted by how much you can see from 400 feet up. And most of our work is more likely to be in the 20 – 50 feet range for an even more intimate shot where you are close to the subject. The radio is capable of safely operating at a much further distances, is guided by up to seven GPS satellites (depending on weather conditions), and the rigs contain fail-safe systems for automatically returning to base location should something to wrong in the air.
Yes. We have flown with the pilot in a golf cart, car, and can even operate from a boat (modified with a landing pad). Obviously we have a separate driver for the vehicle so that the pilot can concentrate on safe flight maneuvers.
We will not shoot directly over a crowd, but we can get great angle shots of crowds from safe distances. If we are on a closed location shoot, then we can hover overhead as long as all people involved are clearly briefed on safety issues. The pilot reserves discretion to adjust the flight lines for the shot to always take safety as the prime consideration.
We take great care of our rigs in our workshop and maintain them before and after going to the field. But stuff happens. And that is why we always have backup equipment with us.