FLYING & FILMING INDOORS WITH DRONES – CAA PROVIDE CLARIFICATION ON RECENT CHANGES

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

The recent Amendment to Air Navigation Law (The Air Navigation Order ANO 2016 as amended) made several very important changes to the drone legislation, not least of which was the introduction of a single weight class for up to 20kg (rather than the previous 0 – 7kg, 7 – 20kg split).  However, there was one amendment with regard to indoor drone flight that seemed to go largely unreported – indoor flights with drones.

Prior to the amendment, it was stated by the CAA that the law applied equally to drone flights taking place indoors or outdoors i.e. there was no distinct difference between the two.  Now the CAA state on their website that this is now not the case. Indoor flights inside buildings now comes under the jurisdiction of the HSE (Health & Safety Executive).

Hovershotz are experienced in operating & filming with drones indoors and we have specially adapted drones that are able to operate safely indoors, whilst providing professional results – we are able to film in up to 4K video and photograph up to 20 megapixels.

If you have a project that requires any drone filming or photography, indoors or outdoors in the North West of England (Cumbria, the Lake District or Lancashire), then Hovershotz are the logical first choice.

Night filming at the Trafford Centre Manchester

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Hovershotz aerial photography, hold CAA permissions for night operations and we are one of the most experienced drone operators at night in the UK. For the past couple of months we have been conducting aerial indoor filming overnight, the £75 Million Barton Square redevelopment at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. It’s one of our largest projects to date, filming a couple of times a week for probably a year. We have used several different drones, including DJI Inspire 2 X5s, DJI Inspire 1 X5 & Parrot Anafi.

 

drone image at night of the Trafford Centre Manchester aerial photograph

Drone image at night of the Trafford Centre Manchester aerial photograph

 

Hovershotz now offer cinema grade CinemaDNG Raw & Apple ProRes raw video drone filming

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Hovershotz Cumbria have upgraded our DJI Inspire 2 to offer Hollywood film grade 5.2K CinemaDNG Raw & Apple ProRes raw video drone filming. This allows us to offer aerial filming that up until now could only have been provided by £100K drones featuring RED or Arri Alexa cameras.

Our first assignment filming in Prores is in November, filming the drone sequences for a new documentary series for National Geographic Channel.

 

If you are a film professional requiring professional  aerial drone filming in either CinemaDNG or ProRes in the Lake District, or the North of England then Hovershotz aerial filming are your only choice.

Aerial filming of Kendal Gold Course Cumbria by drone

Playing a round of golf with a drone

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

Sometimes we really love our job, and a job this week of our popular golf course drone service was particularly enjoyable. We were commissioned to film all 18 holes by drone to give a golf balls perspective of Kendal Golf course in Cumbria. It’s more like playing a round of golf by drone, we drive around the course in a golf buggy, flying from the tee, over the fairway and then onto the green to film the pin.

Aerial filming of Kendal Gold Course Cumbria by drone

To spice things up we try to capture each hole in one flight – a drone hole in one. At Kendal golf club, we managed 12 drone hole in ones. Although a couple of tricky holes (13 Cunswick & 16  Auld Grey Town) we managed to bogey (each hole took 5 filming attempts to get right. The views of the Lake District from the golf course are breathtaking.

Aerial filming of Kendal Golf Course Cumbria by drone

Here is the unedited hole 13. Music or voiceovers can be added, as can text giving details of each hole.

Drone Safe Register Features on BBC 2 Dragons Den

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Drone Safe Register Features on BBC 2 Dragons Den

Update: Peter Jones invests in Drone Safe Register.

dronesafe drone safe register dragons den mark boyt peter jones

Dragons Den on Iplayer

Here at Hovershotz we are excited about tomorrow evening’s episode of Dragons Den (Series 16 Episode 5 Sunday 9th September 2018 @ 20:00), as one of the budding entrepreneurs is Mark Boyt of Dronesafe Register. This is of particular interest to Hovershotz as we were one of the first members of Drone Safe Register and have featured on Dronesafe’s site for nearly 3 years. Over this time, we have received a steady stream of jobs, plus being a vetted member gives our business some credibility in a marketplace full of cowboy & unlicensed drone operators. Hovershotz are the longest serving member of Drone Safe Register in Cumbria, and the only drone operator listed based in the Lake District.

Drone Safe Register is a directory for CAA approved drone pilots with a valid PFCO.

Exposure to 4 million viewers should hopefully drive more business via Drone Safe Registers site and also inform the public about only hiring quality qualified pilots and drone operators.

Judging by a sneak preview on the BBC website it seems like the Dragons love the DSR concept, it will be interesting to see tomorrow evening what the outcome is.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06kkkfw

 

If you want to hire a CAA approved drone operator for any aerial photography or drone filming in Cumbria or the Lake District, check out Hovershotz Drone Safe Register listing https://dronesaferegister.org.uk/company/hovershotz-aerial-drone-photography-video-inspections-cumbria

Hovershotz can also recommend any other drone operator listed on https://dronesaferegister.org.uk as all operators are vefified as having a current CAA PFCO & Insurance.

Hovershotz renew professional drone Insurance with Moonrock drone insurance

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Hovershotz renew professional drone Insurance with Moonrock drone insurance with £10m public liability & professional indemnity

One of the stipulations of our PFCO (permission for commercial operation ) from the CAA is for us to hold full insurance cover that covers our drone activities, to EC Regulation No. 785/2004. This year we moved to Moonrock insurance and have upped our public liability cover to £10M, this is a requirement from some of our local authority, public sector, rail sector and film making clients. In addition to public liability also provides professional indemnity, for complete peace of mind for our clients.

Our insurance covers Hovershotz drone operations for a variety of locations in the North West (Cumbria Lake District & Lancashire) & activities, including flying over water, mountainous terrain, urban areas, sports events, indoors and even at night in the dark. It will also cover us, for when we receive our OSC (operational safety case) which we have applied for from the CAA, which once revieved will allow Hovershotz to fly further, higher & closer to people and structures than standard PFCO permissions allow and also allow us to operate over events, particularly ones involving over 1,000 people.

 

 

 

Flying a drone over water or from a boat

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

Being based in the Lake District, we at Hovershotz we are well versed with the challenges of flying drones over water or launching and landing from boats. Over the last 5 years we have flown extensively over different bodies of water – lakes, rivers, estuaries, at sea and of the coastline, conducting all manor of aerial filming and aerial photography.

Drone imaging captured over water in Cumbria allows for rarely seen views of the Lake District. We see aquatic life, shoreline, boats and the spectacle of contrasting elements.  Flying a drone from a boat and over water is especially challenging and requires a great deal of care and pre-consideration if you don’t want to say goodbye to your drone. We have considered a full waterproof drone but we are yet to find one with a camera good enough for our discerning clients, although we are hopefully testing early next year a waterproof cinema grade prototype from Swellpro.

We have been flying over water and from boats since our DJI Pantom 2, in 2013, and in the early days we endured several scares and close calls. We learned from our mistakes and have a few pointers which we hope will help others so that they also learn from our mishaps. Here, at Hovershotz Aerial Photography, we have compiled a list of pointers that will help you mitigate your risks while flying from a boat or over water. Not all of these tips will apply to every flight or every type of boat. It is best to at least read these and grasp the reasons behind each tip, in case you find yourself in a wet situation where your drone begins to act oddly.

Let’s go through the tips point-by-point:

  • Stop the boat before booting up your gear. This allows the electronic sensors in the inertial measurement unit (IMU) to settle down.
  • We have found the Inspire 2 drone with its robust lading gear the ideal model to fly from boats, for the reason that you may have to hand-launch and hand-catch the drone one handed. The large legs of the Inspire 2 air-frame make this possible, though not recommended until you have mastered it with plenty of practice.
  • Calibrate compass and (IMU) sensors on shore before you board the boat and at each opportunity, you are able to set foot on dry land.
  • Sit down when you fly from a boat.
  • Turn off the visual positioning system (VPS) over water. The motion of the water may cause the drone to act in erratic fashion because the optical and sonic sensors have a difficult time “seeing” or locking in on something fluid.
  • Pre-check airspace in all areas in which the boat will be located. Don’t get out there on the water and unexpectedly find yourself in a no-fly zone.

    Aerial drone photograph of world electric waterspeed water speed record vector jaguar coniston world record hovershotz cumbria lake district battery-powered V20E

    Launching from a yacht is possibly the trickiest maneuver, for you have little control over the speed of the boat. Guy-wires create obstacles in several directions.

  • Upon landing on the boat, or in the hands of the “catcher,” the drone’s motors will take several seconds longer to shut down than they do on land because the boat is in constant motion and the drone will not “recognise”
  • that it is “on the ground.”
  • Set your home point to Dynamic so that your remote controller is always the return-to-home point rather than the take-off point. The boat will have moved from the take-off point after you have flown a few minutes. (this isn’t available obsolete drones such as the Inspire 1.)
  • Toggle Distance Limit to off.
  • Select a custom channel after you check the DJI Go 4 app to determine which frequencies are empty and available.
  • In the DJI Go 4 app, under Main Controller Settings > Advanced Settings > Remote Controller Signal Lost, you have three options from which to predetermine in the event that you completely lose remote control signal with your drone. These are a) Return-to-Home, b) Landing, and c) Hover.  Hover is likely the best option, but this depends on many variables. Think this through in advance depending on your situation. Landing is most likely a bad choice here.
  • Always launch by hand or from your hard drone case or non-metallic table, boats are often constructed with a lot of metal and this causes compass errors. The way to get rid of the compass error is to lift the drone off the metal or move it away from metal surfaces.
  • Be prepared to hand catch with a glove. Keep a tight-fitting leather glove in your drone case. Catching a drone by hand is very dangerous and is the last option for landing. But in boat situations, this may be the only option. Gloves are still not guaranteed to protect your hand from the propellers, but they will help.
  • Be conscious of the direction and the speed of the water current. Many decisions upon take-off and landing will depend on the drift of your boat. Wind is also a factor in the boat’s drift.
  • When hand catching on a small craft, position the boat to drift in a perpendicular fashion to the incoming drone. It is a lot easier to land or catch the drone as it comes in from the side, lessening the risk of collision with the boat or another person.

    Risk mitigation is important before boat-droning. Think everything out in advance.

  • Remember this, if nothing else: If you launch any GPS-enabled drone while the boat is moving (even slightly), the drone marks the home position instantly upon takeoff. The drone will stay in its GPS home position while the boat continues to drift. This may cause the properly-operating drone to appear as if it is drifting out of control as the boat moves under it. The drone may accidentally hit a guy-wire, antenna, or worse yet, a person.
  • Once booted up, throttle up fast and elevate the drone above people and above masts, antennas, etc. The boat is likely drifting and the drone is locked into 3-D space accurately by GPS coordinates. Accidents occur when the moving boat runs into the positioned drone.
  • Be conscious of waves and swells. As you launch and land on a large body of water, the boat will lift and lower itself in the swells, which may not even be visible with the human eye. This effect may make it appear mistakenly as if the drone is drifting up and down in altitude when it is actually stable and it is the boat itself that is rising and falling.
  • Do store your drone away from the motor or engine room. Electromagnetic energy is emitted near the motor or engine room. This energy may be so severe that you have no choice but to go back to shore to re-calibrate the compass or IMU sensors.
  • Plan to swap out SD cards every time you swap out batteries. Your card filled with images and video is possibly the most valuable part of your drone (some of Hovershotz boat footage has sold for more than the price of the drone that shot it).
  • Stay within line of sight. There is nothing more scary than not knowing where your drone is when you are on a boat that is moving. Believe me on this, at the very least, keep the buzzing sound within ear-range.
  • Depending on the boat size, you may want to turn off obstacle avoidance. Do you have a large landing zone, or not? On a small boat, the obstacle avoidance may inhibit your landing techniques or even prohibit you from hand-catching the drone.

We hope that these tips will help when flying your drone over water or from a boat.

DJI Mavic Pro 2 and Mavic 2 Zoom Launched

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Here at Hovershotz we have been following the development of the DJI Mavic 2 with interest, as we are in the market for a compact fold-able drone but having tested the now discontinued original Mavic Air and Pro we held off due to the image quality in these consumer drones.

Today DJI announced two new Mavic drones – the Mavic Pro 2 and the Mavic 2 Zoom. The Mavic Pro 2 is the most interest to Hovershotz, as it contains a Hasselblad camera with a full 1″ CCD sensor. This camera allows for 20 megapixels still images, which is now the bare minimum resolution our clients are now requesting for aerial photography. Many filmakers would not accept footage from the original Mavic Pro due due difficulties in colour grading the final footage but the new Mavic 2 Pro’s addresses this weakness with the ability to shoot 10-bit HDR videos using Dlog-M color profile. Whilst the camera of the Mavic air is only suitable for hobby use.

Interestingly DJI describe the Mavic 2 as a prosumer drone (falls between professional and consumer use), whereas they describe the Mavic 1 as a consumer drone (aimed at hobby flyers).

It seems that the Mavic 2 Pro has made the Inspire 1 obsolete. Shortly after the launch, many Inspire 1 owners who cannot afford to upgrade to the Inspire 2 have been dumping their Inspire 1’s in favour of the Mavic Pro 2.

DJI MAVIC 2 Pro & Zoom drones

DJI MAVIC 2 Pro & Zoom

Thankfully we held back from jumping in prematurely and buying a Mavic Pro and we are looking to test a Mavic 2 Pro next week in a back to back test with the original Mavic and if it ticks all our boxes, we hope to be the first professional drone operator to operate the latest DJI Mavic 2 Pro in Cumbria.

Once we have tested the DJI Mavic 2, we will list all the advantages over the old Mavic.

Drones and nesting birds in the Lake District

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

One consideration for flying of drones in the Lake District or on the Cumbria coast is the natural wildlife – specifically nesting birds. All wild birds are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is a criminal offence to harm or disturb them during the nesting period. Nesting birds view drones as a threat, as they believe these to be predatory birds of prey.

The ‘Bird Nesting Season’ is officially from February until August (according to Natural England). However, in reality the nesting period may start before this and extend beyond it, in some cases. The busiest time for nesting birds is from 1st March until 31st July and of course varies according to species, etc. Drone operators are advised to seek specialist advice.

The penalties for disturbing wild birds with drones are quite severe, fines of up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison. In July 2018, a Keswick man was fined £2,000 for disturbing the nesting Ospreys near Bassenthwaite Lake by running illegal tourist coach trips to view the Osprey’s. While this was not drone related, the principle remains the same and with the current media reporting of illegal drone use, any disturbance of birds by drone in the Lake District will no doubt be met with frenzied media reporting. No doubt the authorities will also seek to send out a message that disturbing birds and wild life in the Lake District by drone is unacceptable and impose very stiff penalties on cowboy drone operators.

Before Hovershotz conduct any aerial photography or drone filming in the Lake District or North West coast, we conduct very strict and thorough pre flight surveys and checks, which involve making sure any of our activities do not fall foul (we could used a bad joke and have said fowl) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This is in addition to tour usual checks which involve making sure all flights can be made safely and legally, such as checking withe the RAF or Ministry of Defence for any military aircraft activity in the Lake District.

It is also possible to apply for a licence to fly and operate drones during nesting season if the activity is necessary https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wild-birds-protection-surveys-and-licences

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