Simon Mallin is a qualified UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) pilot and holds the mandatory UK Civil Aviation Authprity (CAA) Permission for Commercial Operations (PFCO). This is the legal requirement for commercial drone filming.
Range of Services
While our focus is on aerial imaging we realise that it's often only an element of any shoot. If required we can work with industry partners to provide a full video filming and editing service. Post-producton editing of footage is carried out to client specifications. If unedited files are requested these can be passed over on the day of shooting subject to the agreed terms.
We have two professional level quadcopters, both from the world's leading drone manufacturer DJI;
Inspire 1 PRO
The Inspire offers a fully integrated, professional aerial camera system with on-the-fly camera controls. It is powerful, agile, stable and controllable so ideal for filming. It has a rock-steady three-axis gimbal with a 4K MFT camera and interchangeable lenses offering different focal lenghts.
Options exist for film format, shutter speed, image quality, colour presets, file type, etc Files are saved to an SD card so rushes can easily be backed up on-site.
The Inspire can be operated in a single or dual operator mode. A live HD feed ensures clients can oversee filming and view instant replays on a dedicated video monitor.
Each battery provides around 15mins of flight time. We have several and with access to power can recharge on-site.
Phantom 4 PRO
At the top of the Phantom range, the 4 PRO is packed with clever technology such as obstacle avoidance and has an integrated 20MP camera / gimbal which makes it an ideal tool for roof inspections and aerial mapping.
Smaller and lighter than the Inspire, it has a longer battery flight time of up to 25 minutes. The reduced downdraft also means it's more stable and easier to control in confined spaces and when filming indoors.
Although designed for single operation only the Phantom 4 PRO can be programmed to fly and film autonomously in a number of ways which allows for advanced filming sequences such as object tracking. It is a more than worthy professionel level filming drone and we have it available as a back-up to the Inspire should the need arise.
Behind the Lens
Having been designed with one-man operation in mind, sophisticated software makes it possible for the pilot to fly and film even when tracking and orbiting targets. However when exploiting the Inspire's full capabilities in tight situations it may be necessary to operate as a two man crew with a dedicated camera operator alongside the pilot.
On these more complex shoots, experienced cameraman Mark Snashall is behind the lens helping to direct shots while operating the aerial camera to capture that great video footage we’re looking for. Mark is a highly experienced, professional video cameraman whose work includes documentories, feature films, dramas, property marketing and corporate events. His skills also include sound recording, lighting and editing.
For safety reasons an observer also needs to be present to keep an eye out for any potential hazards while we concentrate on flying and filming. This will often be somebody assigned to us by the client and briefed on the day.
Drones are becoming the method of choice for delivering captivating and innovative aerial photography and video. While height is good for capturing information we find that lower, oblique views can be more interesting, especially when generating motion to giving a feeling of low level flight.
Flying and filming with a UAV requires skill and meticulous planning which is why regulations require all commercial operators to hold a CAA PFCO. This is evidence of the pilot's competency at flying a UAV, knowledge of aviation regulations and their ability to operate safely and professionally.
The CAA regulations are designed to ensure the safety and privacy of people and to protect property. In line with the procedures approved in our Operations Manual, every project we undertake includes:
developing and agreeing a 'shoot' plan
ensuring all land-owners' permissions have been granted
a pre-site survey and initial safety assessment
checking the airspace for operating aircraft to ensure it is safe to fly
preparing and documenting a flight plan
carrying out pre-flight checks on all equipment
checking the weather forecast for safe flight
on site survey and final risk assessment (usually on the day)
flight operation and final footage check
carrying out post-flight checks
ensuring the site is left tidy
The UK Civil Aviation Authority regulations for commercial drone operators are detailed in The Air Navigation Order 2016.
The specific requirements for small unmanned aircraft fall under articles 94 and 95. For details of these and the operational conditions set out in the PFCO, click on the image below.