Hovershotz – We use drones to photograph, film, survey and inspect anything that needs viewing from the air, either during the day or at night.

Hovershotz are the leading & most experienced aerial drone imaging company based in Cumbria within the English Lake District. We hold full CAA permission for commercial operation (PFCO) in the UK to operate during the day or at night.

As a full service drone company, we harness drone technology to solve your business problems and create professional photographs, images & videos.

Hovershotz specialise in aerial drone services (that could be filming video, stills photography, inspections or surveys) , utilising the latest state of the art professional unmanned aerial platforms (drones). We operate across the North of England (Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire, County Durham) and South West Scotland. Our pilots are fully BNUC-S qualified and are also trained camera operators.

Our specialities:

  •  Aerial drone photography in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District
  •  Aerial drone video & filming in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District
  •  Aerial drone inspections and surveys in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District
  •  Infrared thermal surveys in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District
  •  Pix4D 3d aerial drone mapping & photogrammetry in Cumbria & the Lake District
  • Hovershotz are one of only a handful of drone operators, licenced to carry out any of these specialities in the UK during the day and at night

Being Cumbrian and native to the the Lake District, Hovershotz know the Lake District terrain intimately and our equipment is suited to filming in this challenging environment. We are quite happy to carry the drones and associated equipment in tailored backpacks and hike across the Lake District terrain with the film crew to capture the perfect shots and footage.

Based in the Lake District, gives us the advantage of being able to liaise easily with both the National Trust and The National Park Authority to gain the necessary permissions to film on their land. Hovershotz have also worked directly for the National Trust.

Hovershotz are able to help with location scouting for any aerial drone filming or photography projects within Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District.

Unlike many of our competitors, Hovershotz are not only qualified drone pilots, but also professional photographers and videographers – before hiring another drone operator, ask if they are also a formally qualified photographer or videographer (you would be surprised at how many cowboy drone operators buy a drone, train as drone pilots and gain CAA permission for aerial work but have no real idea how to film or photograph professionally – our advice is don’t hire a drone operator unless they also hold formal photography, filming and videography qualifications).

Hovershotz are one of the few UK drone operators who are experienced and comfortable in operating and filming over water & at night.

Hovershotz are an official drone supplier & contractor for the BBC (supplier No 1161710), ITV & ITN (supplier No 117136090). We are also registered on the National Trust Procatis portal.

Drone pilot and drone hire service.

Hovershotz the experienced professional aerial drone video experts in the lake district – full CAA PFCO licence and fully insured. Formally trained & qualified drone pilots, photographers & videographers – the professional aerial drone photography & filming company for Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District. Rest assured, your project is safe in our hands.

 

Hovershotz flying a drone
Hovershotz conducting a safety check prior to drone flight
Andy Wills, pilot of Hovershotz setting up a DJI S900 spreading wings hexacopter

Our Team

Andy Wills

Pilot

Andy has been flying and building remote control aircraft for over 30 years and holds the prestigious BNUC-S pilots qualification and is only one of a few drone pilots in the UK licenced to fly at night, which makes Andy one of the most skilled & experienced pilots in the UK. Before qualifying as an unmanned aerial vehicle pilot, Andy worked in the UK aerospace sector for 20 years, helping clients improve engineering efficiencies. Clients included (Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Ministry of Defence, Rolls Royce and military drone contractor QinetiQ), during this period, Andy was fully security vetted and CRB checked. Andy is also a keen photographer and holds diplomas in both photography & videography.  Andy has the ability to both fly the drone and operate the camera simultaneously. Andy is also in demand from other drone operators who hire his services to operate their drone mounted cameras for complex photo and video shoots, as very few drone operators are also professional photographers or cameramen.

Andy is also available to hire, as a professional freelance drone pilot.

When not flying drones, Andy serves his local Lake District community, as an Oncall Firefighter for Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service.

Camera Operators

Operators

All our equipment can also be configured to allow the control of the camera and gimbal by a dedicated camera operator. For complex work (particularly sports videography or filming in challenging locations), Hovershotz can call upon the support of a number of camera operators (geography dependent).

This is of particular importance to ensure the subject being filmed remains correctly framed and in focus, leaving the pilot to ensure the drone is being flown smoothly and safely. This helps to capture the desired footage with the minimum of takes.

We offer a service to professional photographers, who need to photograph from the air but are prevented from doing so commercially, as they don’t have permission to do so by the CAA. Hovershotz fly the drone while the photographer operates the camera (most camera settings can be adjusted from the ground while the camera is in the sky). This service also applies to videographers & filmmakers – we fly the drone and you operate the video camera. We are happy to subcontract or work under your business name.

Bradley Wills

Observer, camera operator & video editor

In certain situations (such as monitoring the sky for military activities, crowds and spectators or safe night operation -it is necessary to employ the services of an observer) Hovershotz can call upon the services of a BNUC-S process observer.

It is the role of the observer to monitor the environment and warn the flight team of any ground or air incursions, the observer will also manage fail safe and emergency procedures.

It is essential to use an observer when operating a drone at night as part of our CAA approved night flying procedures.

It is also a requirement to use an observer and spotters for when Hovershotz are operating extended visual line of sight (EVLOS).

For a particularly challenging job (such as operating within a military aircraft training zone), the observer may enlist the support of several spotters to ensure safe flying, spotters will monitor ground and airspace for incursions and report back to the observer.

Our Equipment

Hovershotz only use professional equipment to ensure the best possible results. We always bring at least two aircraft with us, so that we are able to complete any jobs, just in case of any technical issues.

Or main drone is a DJI S-900 heavy lift spreading wings multirotor hexacopter, carrying a Lumix GH4 DSLR (giving us the ability of filming in up to 4K raw video), and this can also be configured to carry other payloads up to 5kg.

We also operate two DJI Inspire 1 professional quadcopters that are quick to deploy, these carry the professional Zenmuse X5 micro four thirds DSLR camera system. Unlike most drones, we can fit different lenses (including zoom), which gives us the ability to capture the perfect footage. We have a variety of lenses and filters – Olympus M.Zuiko digital ED 12mm f/2.0, DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH and Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ.

For thermal infrared work Hovershotz operate the DJI XT thermal infrared camera system.

It also rains a lot in the Lake District- rain is the number one enemy for drone filming – the electronics in a drone hates water, plus rain gets on the lens ruining shots. To some degree we have adapted our drones and developed filming & flying techniques (such as flying backwards with special lens coatings) to mitigate for poor weather conditions. We have also adapted our drones to protect the electronics from the effects of rain. We would always recommend postponing any filming if the weather is poor (the simple fact is when the weather is bad the footage and photographs is just not as good as if shot on a good day), however we recognise that sometimes this is not possible.

We operate from a fully self-contained 4WD crew vehicle with sleeping quarters, which features 240V power and 4G wifi. This enables us to operate in the field for extended periods (we can recharge the aircraft’s batteries and edit video and forward work to the client whilst on site).