Browse the most common questions that we receive regarding our services and drone operations…
Why would I hire you for your services?
First, to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations that dictate the operations of unmanned aircraft in the U.S. airspace (effective since August 29, 2016). Not anyone can legally fly a drone in most locations. The national airspace has many, many restrictions. An FAA Certified Pilot is required to fly in most instances, and aircraft registration is required even if flying a toy quad copter weighing just 0.56 lbs. in your own backyard!
Second, we enjoy what we do, and this produces great results that ultimately benefit you. Note that a 333 exemption is no longer the sole requirement for commercial drone operations.
Are you insured?
One of the options: As pilots, we can obtain an on-demand type of liability insurance for up to $1M, purchased at the time of flight via our smart phone for each project. A policy can be emailed to you for verification at that time. Insurance rates begin at $10 / hr. See Verifly for liability insurance details (see sample policy), a location map shows the rates. This hourly insurance cost can be added without markup to your project’s quote. The insurance covers damage that could occur should the aircraft crash into something and cause significant damage or injury.
Why do I have to sign a waiver when hiring you?
While safety is a remote pilot’s top priority, the unexpected could occur. We prefer you don’t take legal action against the pilot you’ve just hired. Due to the nature of airborne flight, weather, interference and electronics, a fly-away event could occur. All flights vary and a small amount of risk is involved. If you’re on scene during the flight, we may ask that you be a volunteer Visual Observer to aid the process.
What can you film from above and how high?
Provided the weather is optimal, filming can take place from as high as 400 feet above the ground’s surface, and within line-of-site. We may also fly as high as 400 ft. above tall structures and within a 400 ft. radius. Keep in mind, most filming is done at the 20 to 80 foot range, this yields the best results. The remote aircraft cannot be flown directly above crowds of people, under a roofed area or above highways or traffic, nor interfere with other forms of transportation or sensitive infrastructure. Client projects include anything from filming a wedding ceremony and reception, real estate listings, roof inspections, commercial property footage to offshore activities over open water. You present the idea, we’ll let you know if it’s obtainable.
Is privacy an issue?
There is never an intention to invade anyone’s privacy in the aerial filming we do. We respect everyone’s privacy rights. Our camera angles are very wide and shallow in detail, we don’t have the capability to zoom into anyone’s private yard or window.
Do you film weddings?
Weddings must be filmed without direct flight over people. This means the drone should film from either a distance away or from an angle that is not near or over the guests. Often to the side or behind the bride and groom (opposite the audience). The weather, location and setting dictates the possibilities for safe and legal filming. Drone videography should only be a secondary supplement to the services of traditional videography during the ceremony. Relying on drone videography alone for your most sacred wedding moments could be risky. Think of it as an add-on service. Since noise can be an issue with drones, the drone videography can be conducted just after the ceremony, capturing some unique aerial angles, and fly arounds of the bride and groom.
How much do your services cost?
Price varies with individual pilots. Here’s a rough competitive example: hourly rate per clock hour, anywhere from $150 to $200 per hour. Additionally there are fees for insurance, and setup time. Travel time and expenses may also apply if the project is not local. Fees for a Visual Observer and other Crew Members could apply to certain projects. Consultation charges are also possible. A two hour minimum is usually required by the pilot. An eight hour day could range upwards of $1,000 for a single pilot’s time.
Can you provide survelliance or security?
We can’t just spy on people, and we’re not security guards. We can work under permission of local police and authorities, military, port police and other security detail to do just about any aerial videography. Let us know what your needs are and we’ll discuss the options.
What equipment do you use?
Mostly prosumer grade quadcopter’s that film in 4k resolution (DJI Phantom 4). We also have various communication equipment to monitor air bands, and to detect frequency interference.
How long are you flying in the air?
Flight times average 15 to 20 minutes in duration. Two flights are often achievable within one clock hour rate.
How are the captured videos or photographs provided to me?
Download links will be emailed to you within 48 hours. Video and photo files are raw in nature, meaning no video grading or editing has been done. Editing services are available for additional fees. We can also post your video on YouTube if you’d like. Videos are provided in a common format, such as .mov, .avi, or .wmv.
When are you available?
Each project must be planned well ahead of time, days or weeks ahead, sometimes longer. FAA permission must first be requested and granted depending on the local airspace before any flying can be done. This approval process could range from a few hours or up to 90 days to obtain. Contact us today to start planning your next project, we’ll explain the details further.
Do you film motorsports?
It depends on the situation. If the location is sparse, such as an event in the desert or the ocean, then perhaps. We can’t fly over major popular sporting events. For special projects, feel free to contact us.
Do you use lights or lighting?
We don’t use additional lighting other than the ambient light source, usually the sun. We may use various filters to enhance the picture quality. We don’t fly at night, but we can fly 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset.
Is a 333 exemption required?
No. The 333 exemption was the original workaround for commercial drone operations. This was the only legal alternative prior to August 29, 2016. Today, a Part 107 FAA UAS Pilot Certification is the requirement for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations.
Is the quad copter noisy?
Yes and no. The quad copter itself sounds like a weed whacker or giant mosquito buzzing. Once it is higher in the air, the noise tends to dissipate and is less of a disturbance. Audio is not captured while filming. An outdoor wedding for instance could be filmed from above and to the side, or from behind, and not directly over the event or attendees.
How do your services work?
In a nutshell, heres the steps: You hire a certified commercial pilot > we meet at a convenient location (usually previewing the site to be filmed, access the location details and return there on a later date) > agree to the terms > sign some papers > arrange the location and time for filming > we request and await final FAA authorization to fly > arrive on scene for setup and weather check > hourly insurance is purchased > the pilot then does the flying and filming > fees are paid to the pilot for services rendered > within hours, video files are available for download or placed on YouTube > request optional editing services if desired.