Wedding photographers and videographers are the set of users that cannot do without aerial photography. It seems as if for this very reason, that Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS’s) or drones that can carry a camera were made. These devices are highly mobile and with the aid of GPS flight control systems, they can follow the action or independently float in a fixed position. The perfect pairing for wedding aerial photography and videography is the GPS system along with a skilled pilot. Together this combination can create some truly historic aerials of your wedding. The drone laws in the United States still means wedding photographers are involved in what is regarded as commercial business. Nevertheless, it seems clear – the time of the sUAS operator in drone wedding photography has come.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST DRONE FOR AERIAL IMAGERY
In choosing a drone to capture aerial imagery of your wedding or other social events, there are a few things you need to consider. The flying device must be able to carry; the video camera, lens, and the gimbal system, otherwise know as the payload along with the battery. You will be needing a quad copter, or light lifter, for cameras that are very light in weight i.e. action cameras such as GoPro camera. In the case of cameras such as DSLRs, which capture much higher quality aerial imagery, you will have to use a hexa-rotor or preferably an octo-rotor, wich are medium to heavy lifters.
TIPS FOR SHOOTING THE BEST WEDDING VIDEOS
Apart from the camera, the most important piece of hardware for shooting the best wedding videos and sharp wedding aerial photography is a two or three-axis gimbal. A gimbal is a mechanism that allows an object (such as a ship’s compass) to remain horizontal. It is the latest gadget used in motorized camera stabilization. A two-axis gimbal can tilt and roll the camera. It also can prevent unwanted tilting and rolling of the camera, keeping it level to the horizon.
Even better, a three-axis gimbal can yaw your camera and maintain an even level shot. It can also make your camera create a sweeping movement across the coverage area. Providing the drone has retractable landing gear, the implication is a full 360 degrees of unimpeded drone video shooting. Imagine, gorgeous 360 degree views of your wedding venue! If you stiffly mount a camera without using a gimbal, the end result is an unusable video. It will not only result in wonky recording, it will also lead to unsteady rolling of the camera’s shutter. This is bound to happen in most cameras that are available on the market. Cameras with large sensor and slow read-outs e.g. mirrorless cameras and DSLRs show much more obvious shutter roll. Using a gimbal-mounted camera is paramount to creating the best wedding videos.
DRONE VIDEO SAFETY TIPS
If the aircraft knows its position in space via GPS, it can possibly overcome mistakes made by the pilot. This intelligence is built in to many sUAS’s. This safety margin will not be effective if you choose to fly the copter indoors. A setback of flying indoors is that the copter will not automatically return once you lose the control of the device. Therefore, if you decide to film indoor weddings via drone video, be sure that you are comfortable with your copter.
When filming wedding aerial photography using drones, you will surely want to have insurance in place, as flying near a crowd of people can pose a risk. Be sure to have commercial insurance if the video or pictures will be used for commercial purposes. There are a growing number of companies that are catering to drone insurance.
sUAS’s are small flying devices with complicated computer control systems. Unless you have respect for technology and dedicated time for practice and learning, you should work with a professional drone company.
DRONES AND THE LAW
In addition to all of the above, before deciding to make the jump into being your own wedding aerial photography buff, legal considerations need to be taken into account, both federal and local. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the ruling division of the Department of Transportation that inspects and rates civilian aircraft and pilots and enforces the rules of air safety in the national air space (NAS). A drone is an aircraft and once you put it in the air it falls under the FAA rules of air safety. Break these FAA rules and you may find yourself hit with a very hefty fine! Many cities are putting into place local ordinances regarding drones, which also carry with them steep fines. It is very important to know the laws before you fly.
There is also the differentiation between hobby flier and commercial pilot. The difference may not be as clear as you would think, make sure you don’t put yourself in a position where you may end up getting yourself into some unwanted trouble. Here is an example; your friend is having a wedding and asks if you can be their wedding aerial photography hook-up. You say, “Sure, No problem!” You post it on your YouTube page. Your page gets lots of hits and you are able to make money by advertising on your YouTube page. The FAA considers that a commercial use of your drone. Surprised? Don’t let an unexpected fine surprise you. If you are not sure, just work with a professional.
ENJOY YOUR DAY…HIRE A PRO!
Licensing, registration, insurance and getting approved by the FAA (333 Exemption) are all part of what it takes to be a properly licensed commercial drone operator in the US. Very soon, the FAA will be coming out with new regulations that will be known as Part 107. Under this new regulation the requirements to become a drone pilot are much more relaxed. Under the current laws you have to be an actual pilot to get your FAA approval. Our recommendation is that you look for a professional drone company who has or has had in the past a 333 Exemption vs just a Part 107. Why hire a drone pilot who has taken a few classes and passed a written test when you can have a pilot who has had hands on experience. Real life experience with not only flying an aircraft but dealing with weather, reading and applying aeronautical maps and charts, handling emergency situations, and most likely has years of experience doing all of this? The choice seems simple to us. How will you know? Just ask! 😀
The professional drone companies often offer additional services such as video editing, studio voice over, photography and steady-cam video filming.
Whether you take on the above tasking or you hire a professional drone company, at the end of the day, what’s most important is to safely and respectfully capture that wedding aerial photography which will create lasting memories of this very important and special day!
Author: Admin ~ 2 August, 2016