Frequently Asked Questions
While there are some set no-fly zones and conditions, as well as temporary flight restrictions, as long as we operate within FAA Regulations we can essentially fly anywhere. While some locations may require us to have permits and/or street closures depending on the complexity of our flight paths, most private properties we simply need the permission of the owner. When a shoot location lies within controlled airspace, we are proficient with gaining authorizations to fly within 5nm and even within 2.5nm of airports in certain scenarios. Our years of expertise have brought forth countless situations and although many factors come to play, with the proper planning we can fly nearly anywhere for the right shot. Indoor, outdoor, or outdoor to indoor. You call the shots.
The size of drone we use for the project greatly varies on the deliverable requested by our clients as well as constraints or location restrictions. If indoors, we tend to lean towards a smaller aircraft for safety reasons such as the DJI Mavic or Phantom (Under 2’ x 2’). However, if space allows it we always like to bring out the bigger birds (Larger than 2’ x 2’) so we can change focal lengths and increase flight speeds.
Unless otherwise requested by our clients the minimum codec/ resolution we shoot in is H.264 at 4k. Depending on the aircraft and camera in use we can shoot up to 6k and have various codecs but prefer .mov Prores or finishing in CDNG RAW if the hard drive space & edit allows it.
While we know there are some jobs that are small and quick enough to only need a pilot, we usually have a 2-4 man crew for safety reasons. Our larger drones require a pilot and camera operator, focus puller and depending on location, a visual observer to keep an eye on the aircraft in flight for safety.
We usually can shoot things quickly and safely without the need for a permit, however sometimes if the requested location is heavily populated or in a specific city or park municipality we may need to look into a proper permit. Private property is always at the discretion of the owner unless it falls in the area of a no fly zone (airports, government property, etc.)
When initially discussing your shoot we always aim to get a few different dates on the books as a contingency since mother nature does not always behave like she should. We make it our priority to closely monitor weather conditions leading up to the proposed shoot date and stay in communication with our clients to ensure the best production day possible. On the day of production we keep a live weather feed going during operations to ensure no unexpected weather changes happen during flight.
While we are capable of flying at night time you do need a particular waiver to do so at night time and it also adds some increased risk of course. Keeping that in mind it is completely within guidelines to fly a half an hour before sunrise (Twilight) and a half an hour after sunset. We usually encourage this method because it allows us to get familiar with the location in daylight and observe any potential obstacles.
For times when we can't capture the scene as safely or as personally as would be preferred, we explore the potential of using a chase car. With the flow cine arm we are usually positioning the gimbal rigged off a certain point of the vehicle, front or back. This enables us to get dynamic movements with fast subjects via smooth gimbal shots. Undoubtedly the preferred way to get low and tight on your talent, it can be a great additional angle if you are looking to cut from the grandioso aerial shots into some nice high speed details.