When it comes to Professional Aerial Video and Photography, drones certainly fit the definition of a “disruptive technology”. Much like smartphones have supplanted traditional cameras for everyday picture taking, drones have replaced many imaging applications previously only possible from full-size aircraft such as airplanes and helicopters.
Traditional aerial video and photography companies have been forced to adapt or close.
Perfect Perspectives is accredited by the BBB as “Ohio’s Most Experienced Drone Service Company.” As you might suspect, the Better Business Bureau didn’t just take our word for it. We had to actually substantiate this claim with data and documentation. While compiling the necessary information, we noticed something interesting – the majority of companies registered in Ohio as “aerial photography” service providers prior to 2010 were no longer in business. We also noticed a sharp increase in drone service company registrations beginning around 2016. A quick review of websites for the traditional aerial photography companies still in business showed most now offering drone aerial imaging services as well.
Why have drones had such a significant impact on this industry?
There is a long list of reasons why drones have been able to replace aerial video and photography from manned aircraft in some cases. A few of the most significant are as follows:
1. The costs to purchase, operate, license, insure and maintain drones are less than manned aircraft.
Both the initial purchase price and all O&M costs associated with commercial drones are less than those for manned aircraft. By comparison, the cost for a stabilized camera mount, such as a Shotover M1, is 10 times the cost of of heavy lift cinema drone. In addition, to operate a commercial drone, all that is required is to pay $150 and pass a multiple-choice Part 107 written exam. No practical skills exam is needed. In contrast, on average, the cost to obtain a commercial rating for full-sized aircraft runs around $45K.
2. Drones can safely and legally get much closer to objects near the ground to capture aerial video & photography
In most cases, drones operate in the section of our airspace from ground level up to 400 above ground level (AGL). The rules vary somewhat between airplanes and helicopters, but in populated areas for example, airplanes must fly no lower than 1000 feet AGL, unless taking off or landing. Drones also weigh far less and don’t carry flammable fuel and so, are much less of a safety hazard flying closer to objects near the ground.
3. It is much easier to get smooth video and sharp photos from a drone than from full-size aircraft
Recent advances in both small camera stabilization and drone GPS position hold allow drones to obtain very smooth, stable images. A well balanced drone has very minimal vibration compared to a helicopter for example. In calm winds, a drone acts almost like a tripod in the sky which makes even aerial time-lapse sequences possible.
Here at Perfect Perspectives, we still rely on full-sized aircraft for many of our Cincinnati Aerial Video and Photography missions in the greater Queen City area. Currently drones must be operated within line-of-sight of the operator which is roughly about 1 mile away in most cases. Drones are also not permitted to be flown directly over persons or moving vehicles without a special FAA waiver. When the mission requires altitudes above 400 feet AGL, long continuous runs, or operation in busy controlled airspace, full-size aircraft still play an very important role in our mix of aerial video and photography services.
To learn more, please visit – Cincinnati Aerial Photography