If you have ever owned a drone, or are planning on buying one, you may be doing this to take photography. While drones do offer some stunning views from the air, and you can control them easily with a controller form the ground, there are some laws on aerial photography that you should know about. The need for the laws came as there is an increasing need felt for security and privacy, something drones can easily compromise.
Drones aren’t exactly dirt cheap these days. If you want to buy a good model for yourself you can pay as much as £10,000. Given that fact, you may want to find out about all the laws of the country you are flying in.
How Can You Use Your Drone?
Drones in recent times have become a popular alternative to manned aircraft. Known by many names, a drone may be called a helicam, quadcoptor, ROV (remotely operated vehicle), SUSA (small unmanned surveillance aircraft) and multiple other terms, depending on country to country and context to context. Drones have recently become the tool of choice for photography.
You have different drones available today. UAV is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that is the most popular while many use ROV or Remotely Operated Vehicles as well. Helicams and Quadcopters are popular today as well.
The development of cameras in drones that has resulted in us being able to take breath taking pictures from the sky has been possible because of three reasons.
The first one is advances in photography. It has become increasingly easy to photograph objects and people very accurately from considerable distances or at great velocities too. Cameras have developed at an unprecedented pace.
Great battery life
The second thing is the evolution of battery life and technology. You can fly your drones for half an hour easily, if you have bought yourself a high end model, contributing to the unmanned bit.
Easy manoeuvring and control
Finally, flight technology has contributed to making drones popular. From just a piece of technology in fiction novels to multi-usage operations today, drones are becoming increasingly versatile.
A drone has a distinct advantage of being able to get closer to the ground compared to a manned aircraft. They have become a favorite with film-makers. You can monitor the footage live from the ground and make any changes you want instantly. Another thing that is attractive about them is that they are cost effective. A drone operator will charge you less than hiring a helicopter will, so it makes sense to use a drone instead.
The Camera You Need
It is better to get hold of a good quality camera. A GoPro camera can be a good choice. Remember, larger cameras can have batteries that last only for 6 or 7 minutes. The stronger your drone, the more weight it can carry. Octocopters for instance can carry cameras like the Panasonic GH4 or Canon 5D easily. With liger cameras, flight times of around twenty minutes is easily possible.
The new Brushless Type gimbals is a great choice for taking pictures. There are either single or separate pilot and camera setup for controlling the drone. In fact, much of how much a drone costs depends on how good a quality picture it can take.
Things to keep in mind when Flying your Drone
In the UK, certain restrictions and rules have been made regarding filming by drones. You cannot for one, ascend to a height above 400 feet. 400 feet equals 120 meters. You cannot even have a drone more than 500 meters away from its operator while flying
Additionally, it is mandatory that the visibility be at least 5 km. The drone also needs to be in the line of sight of the operator at all times.
Do not fly drones at night, until and unless you get special permission to do so. It is mandatory to get permission from the owner of point from where your drone takes off. There should be more than a 50 meter distance between the drone and any structure or people that are not controlled by the drone operator. This simply means that you are not allowed to catch people unawares or cause any inconvenience. The drone can fly closer to your crew or cast, which is not an issue.
Some other factors may play a part too in your rights to take photography from your phone and fly it.
Drone Legislations and Qualifications that are necessary
Any company that works with drones commercially must have their aircraft registered with the Civil Aviation Authority, otherwise referred to as the CAA. They should also have a permit to fly for aerial work. Permissions documents also show what kind of conditions their pilots are fit to fly under. Before you do decide to use a company, ask to see their permit and permissions, to stay on the safe side.
The Civil Aviation Authority also wants to check if the pilots can demonstrate a minimum level of skill when flying the aircraft. For a PFAW qualification, pilots now have to pass a theory and flight exam, which tests how much they know about the aircraft and UK drone rules.
If you find a company who doesn’t have a permit, it most likely means that their pilots aren’t qualified enough, and you won’t get an ideal result anyway. Pilots who have such a permit have passed a legitimate theory as well as a practical exam that shows their skill in flying a drone, and will give you a good result.
Here are some of the expert tips that will help you if you have bought one amazing drone and are looking to fly it.
– Get insurance. Public liability insurance is the minimum cover you should get, you can get more as per your requirements. However make sure to check the terms and conditions imposed by your insurance provider in fine print, because some of them don’t cover drone insurance in high-risk areas.
– Insure your cameras. If you are using cameras and equipment belonging to the company where you hired the drone from, they are already insured. Make sure to get insurance for your cameras. If you are hiring your cameras from a different camera rental outfit that does not have an association with drones, communicate your purpose to them as their insurance cover might not include drone photography.
– Go in for a shorter camera when possible– Remember this tip – the bigger your camera, the shorter your flight. Get advice from an expert if you aren’t sure about which camera to use. Don’t hesitate to take the opinion of your drone controller, s/he might have such experience.