Fresh eyes

Using drone photography in your marketing activity

Using drone photography
Ben Hewes Head of Video; PR & Comms Manager

Written by Ben Hewes,
Content Marketing & Video Production Manager at Freshfield

Aerial photography and videography is breathing new life into marketing campaigns.

The availability of professional-grade quadcopters, octocopters (and more) capable of safely carrying high-resolution cameras means there’s hardly a video advertising campaign that doesn’t feature a sweeping vista.

Shots that might once have cost thousands and required a helicopter and highly specialist equipment are now possible for a fraction of the cost on equipment that can be carried in a backpack.

Many of YouTube’s most popular lifestyle bloggers routinely include drone shots in their videos and have gone a long way towards popularising the technique.

Drone videography is being used in everything from major campaigns by global brands, such as the video below by Expedia to promote Amsterdam as a tourist destination, to promotional videos by small businesses that are produced on a much more modest budget.

At Freshfield we are often approached about drone photography and video – architects, surveyors, sports clubs, leisure facilities – there are a lot of genuine uses for an eagle’s eye view of a location.

Drones are so widely available (a quick search of Amazon brings up more than 50,000 results for drones and related accessories) it’s a common misconception that anyone can purchase one and head out to take photographs.

This isn’t the case, and it’s important to know what is involved in an aerial shoot before going ahead.

Be aware of the rules

Flying of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for commercial purposes is strictly controlled by the Civil Aviation Authority, and pilots must be in possession of a ‘Permission’ issued by the CAA before carrying out any work.

These permissions can only be gained by receiving training from a recognised assessment organisation (there are only 20 in the UK currently). Courses include classroom lessons, theory tests and a flight assessment.

Holding the necessary permission will mean your pilot is sufficiently aware of not just how to fly a drone, but also (among other things) where to fly, how to prepare for a flight, what the risks could do, what to do if something goes wrong.

Even flying a drone as a hobby, and not for commercial gain, is a serious business. The CAA’s Drone Code encourages pilots to always keep a drone in sight, to keep it below 120m, and to stay 50m aware from people and property.

Why is this needed? The best drones are worth thousands of pounds and can travel as fast as a car. They are very safe, with GPS, obstacle avoidance and other safety features built in, but things can still go wrong. Drones can fly out of control, or even drop from the sky, and carry a risk of serious injury or damage to property if not handled correctly.

What else to consider

At Freshfield, we work with a network of professional aerial videographer/photographers who have the necessary permissions, public liability insurance and experience to carry out work safely, responsibly and with the same degree of planning and professionalism we expect to bring to any project.

We know they have hours of experience under their belts, the latest equipment, and the contacts for local air traffic control operators in their mobile phones in case anything goes wrong.

A few things to think about before going ahead with aerial work:

  • Does your pilot hold the CAA Permission? A list is available at the CAA website for you to check.
  • Are they insured?
  • Do they have local knowledge about potential risks?
  • What is their background?

Involving a professional in your drone photography project means you’ll get the results you want.

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