August 30

Why You Need a Trained, Licensed, and Experienced Drone Operator

A drone or UAV for videography can be thought of as a flying camera. It’s a great way to get a unique perspective and add something different to your video. 

In Canada, anyone can buy a UAV/drone from a shop and fly it. To comply with Transport Canada regulations, all drones that weigh more than 250g and less than 25 kg must be registered, and flying them requires a drone pilot certificate from Transport Canada. There are two types of pilot certificates: basic and advanced. 

The basic certificate is sufficient for recreational flying and is a series of multiple-choice questions done online. The advanced license is what you need for legally flying near people and in restricted airspaces. 

If you’re thinking about getting a drone and flying with a basic certificate, there are some rules to be aware of.

The Rules

You need to fly line of sight only. This means you have to be able to clearly see your drone at all times. Technically, looking at the camera’s view on your screen is not allowed. When you need to see what the camera sees, bring along another person to keep an eye on the drone. 

This is a good safety practice and will keep you in compliance with the rules, but it’s also a good idea to avoid crashing. Your spotter will be able to tell you when you’re getting too close to a tree or other obstacle.

Birds tend to avoid drones, but seagulls are an exception. They may dive bomb the drone. If you notice birds getting agitated by your flying, move away from the area. 

Regulations state you need to keep 30m (about 90ft) away from people when flying with a basic operations certificate. You also can’t fly within 5.6 km of an airport, or over concerts or parades. Forest fires and scenes with emergency vehicles are also a no-go. 

When flying your drone, you need to keep it below 400 feet. This is because the legal minimum flying height for airplanes is 500 feet. You really don’t want to be the person who hit an airplane with your drone. 

Breaking these rules can result in a fine of up to $1,000. If you’re flying for work or on behalf of a company, the company can face fines up to $5,000. If you happen to put people or airplanes at risk, the fine jumps to $15,000. 

Flying a Drone

Drones are both easy and difficult to fly. Moving them around in the air is easy and simple, especially if you’ve ever played video games. But getting smooth, consistent video shots that look professional takes many hours of practice and getting to know the drone. 

If you’re looking to get a video made for your company, you would be far better off hiring an aerial videographer with experience and an advanced pilot certificate. 

These operators will have the skill to get the right shot, and the advanced license allows them to do things like fly beyond line of sight and near people. They will also have the experience and skill to get smooth, cinematic shots. 

The Value of Experience

When you take into account the cost of the drone, the many hours of practice required, and the cost of the advanced certificate, plus the time it takes to earn it, outsourcing your drone video is a cost-efficient option. 

To illustrate the complexity, we’ll use an example of getting an aerial shot of your building that arcs around two sides while pulling back and up to show the surroundings. This shot starts low, with the drone moving in a wide arc that requires synchronizing the movements of two sticks, each of which will move the drone faster the farther the sticks are moved. Maintaining speed requires fine motor control. Maintaining the arc while pulling up and out requires changing the direction of both sticks while also operating the camera control with one finger. As you can see, it’s a complicated maneuver that takes plenty of practice. 

Done well, the result is a smooth shot without any sudden movements that looks effortless. In addition, the operator also needs to know about their drone’s camera, and how to get the best possible image. It’s possible to get stunning, movie-esque footage from a drone camera when you know how to set everything up properly. 

The beautiful, captivating imagery possible from a drone operated by a skilled and experienced pilot is what makes aerial video so intriguing. Knowing the outfit you hired will deliver that sort of footage is why it’s worth hiring a trained, licensed, and experienced drone operator like BuzzMasters

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