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I have been working as a commercial drone operator for the past 18 months and have put together these 5 top tips for producing the best quality aerial videos, I will be releasing 5 further top tips in the coming weeks around taking the best aerial photos:

ND Filters

This advice is applicable for Aerial Videos but NOT Aerial Photos, I never use ND Filters for Aerial Images as they are not needed but these are a must for video footage on anything other than dull dreary days. To get the best footage your shutter speed should be roughly twice that of your frame rate. In simple terms if you are recording at 30FPS (Frames per Second) then you should be aiming for a framerate of 1/60s and to push home the point 60FPS would require a shutter speed of 1/120s. Often when you dial in these settings the image is over exposed, this is when you need ND Filters to allow less light into the lens and therefore the opportunity to increase the shutter speed.

Polar pro are generally regarded as the best ND filters around and I use these, an example of the set that can be bought for my DJI Inspire 2 is HERE although a cheaper alternative is Neewer and these can produce excellent results and can be bought HERE

Stunning Hamble Property

Often when I am shooting sequence with Marine Aerial Work over the sea then it can also help to use ND filters which also have a Polarising Filter in them as this can help with glare

Shoot in Manual

Unless you are in manual you will not be able to utilise the ND filters to the best effect as mentioned above as you would not be able to adjust the shutter speed but the advantages move well beyond this too. When the drone is left in Auto it will change both the aperture (if available on your drone) and shutter speed settings which may result in an image that suddenly changes from light to dark as the camera is automatically adjusting the exposure levels. Shoot in manual and then you are assured of a steady image exposure to work with and then brighten up as needed in post editing. This is really useful too when working on Wedding Drone Photography as a really nice shot is a pan down at the guests and then lifting it to the venue.. a shift in the lighting will ruin the shot. Aerial Photos should also always been taken in Manual to allow you control of the image.

Avoid Complex Manoeuvres

Even with the steadiest of hands a shot that requires a straight pan and then flying in a different direction or angle are challenging and can result in jerky images. My suggestion for this is really carefully plan your shots and try and stick to one control input at a time and then edit them together. As confidence increases you can experiment more.

Master the Manual Pan

Many of the best drones on the market today come with the ability to track objects and create something called a point of interest shot where the drone will automatically pan around an object. While these are useful I find the best result to do this manually, but this takes practices. It is not that the drone does not do it well it is more that you loose control to speed up or mix up the shot, shooting in manual modes professionally for me always gives the best results.

Smooth Transitions

When editing start movement before the transition – When you are slicing and dicing your footage to make the best video possible try and make sure the drone is already moving when the next sequence comes into view, this allows for butter smooth transitions and a much smother feel the overall video, it also comes back to my point about avoiding multiple input on the same cut.

I hope you have found these tips useful. Next time I will talk about SD Cards, Camera settings and editing workflows with a blog dedicated around Aerial Photos and Photography.

The post 5 Top tips for High Quality Aerial Photos appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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Why are Drones good for Tree Surgeons?

It is becoming increasingly popular for tree surgeons to use drones to capture images of the specialist work that they do as there is no other photography option that allows up close and personal images captures of these guys at work!

Who was the work for?

I had the pleasure in working with Creative landscapes and Tree Care who are based in Waterlooville in Hampshire.

What happened?

I conducted an all-day shoot for them arriving on site at 0700 one Sunday morning in February 2018 to capture the felling of a large Beech Tree using my DJI Phantom 4 Professional. This drone was perfect for the job as the Inspire would have been too large as the space to manoeuvre the drone between the other trees in the area was limited to say the least!

It was a really enjoyable shoot, Ian who owns the company was specific in what he wanted and the shoot involved both photography captured on the ground with my Nikon D750 SLR, My DJI OSMO and of course the Drone.

During the site survey it became apparent that the site was very close to the limit of the CAA Drone Code of not Flying within 150m of congested areas, fortunately the closest occupied buildings and road was 157m away from the site. Close but workable!

Once the crane team and tree surgeons had been briefed about what to expect I took to the air. It was a lesson in battery management as all 4 batteries I have for the Phantom were in constant use and in a charge cycle all day.

Shots obtained included circular panning shots around the tree, before and after overhead images and close up of Ian hard at work in the tree. Almost every major limb was videos at the tree was brought down. A totally of 53 Video Clip and over 55gb of 4k footage captured. It was an excellent shoot and Ian and the team were outstanding and made very light work of the tree.

Other shots obtained included images of the Chipper in action, the Crane lifting out the branches and main trunk of the tree and even a cheesy shot of the team sitting on the log at the end of the day.

A final plug for Ian and his team!

I would highly recommend Ian and his business Creative Landscapes and Treecare and if anyone who is reading this would like to capture similar drone images then please do get in touch.. the Video edit is on its way!

The post Drone use for Tree Surgeons appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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Drone Wedding Photography – Fully Licenced

I have photographed weddings for over 15 years and am really passionate about this side of my Photography business. My use of Drones for Photography started off as a Hobby and then has very quickly become established as part of my work and the key to this was passing the CAA PFCO Licence.

I am a member of many Facebook groups where wedding suppliers are sharing videos and photographs of what they have captured on their clients big days and I am massively concerned to see the use of drone footage dramatically increasing amongst suppliers who are not licenced and also as they are not licenced, they are not insured.

Safety first

I have seen videos posted online of drones flying directly overhead of people at weddings and members of the general public who are not part of the wedding being well within the 50m safe zone getting really close to the drone (More about this later) Pu simply this is dangerous and has he potential to ruin a wedding day or far worse.

Always get permission to fly

Yesterday I visited a stunning wedding venue which was actually fairly close to a High Risk zone of Bournemouth Airport and I was really surprised to hear that they have many photographers that come along with drones when photographing weddings.

I wanted to capture some images of the venue so I put the drone in the air but due to the proximity to the airport before the flight  I called the Bournemouth Airport Tower to notify them of the flight and of my Max AGL (Above Ground Level) which was just 40m (The legal limit is 120m). They could not have been more helpful, friendly and appreciative that I called. I asked if anyone else flying a drone at the venue had called them before and the answer was no… I was shocked..

When you allow an operator who is not licenced to film your wedding then you have in effect broken the law by paying an un-licenced operator for a service. Please do not take the risk, there are many specialist video companies out there who specialise in filming weddings who hold the PFCO Licence or talk to a photographer who is legal and able to operate at your wedding with confidence

Recap on the laws

Just to recap what the laws are. If you are flying a drone for fun then you must adhere to the drone code which is principally that you must not take off closer than 30m or fly closer than 50m from people, buildings or vehicles that are not under your control and of course you must not fly higher than 120m or outside of your line of sight.

If you are using the drone for any commercial purpose i.e. getting paid for the job or the drone work is enhancing your business then you must hold to PFCO Licence to be operating legally and if you hold the PFCO Licence then you will be well aware of the need to speak to the tower in this situation given above.

Wedding Photography Plug

Incidentally if you would like to see some of my wedding work then please do get in touch here, drone photogrqaphy is included in all packages

 Hampshire Wedding Photography

The post Drone Photography at Weddings appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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It is becoming increasingly popular for tree surgeons to use drones to capture images of the specialist work that they do as there is no other photography option that allows up close and personal images captures of these guys at work!

I had the pleasure in working with Creative landscapes and Tree Care who are based in Waterlooville in Hampshire.

I conducted an all-day shoot for them arriving on site at 0700 one Sunday morning in February 2018 to capture the felling of a large Beech Tree using my DJI Phantom 4 Professional. This drone was perfect for the job as the Inspire would have been too large as the space to manoeuvre the drone between the other trees in the area was limited to say the least!

It was a really enjoyable shoot, Ian who owns the company was specific in what he wanted and the shoot involved both photography captured on the ground with my Nikon D750 SLR, My DJI OSMO and of course the Drone.

During the site survey it became apparent that the site was very close to the limit of the CAA Drone Code of not Flying within 150m of congested areas, fortunately the closest occupied buildings and road was 157m away from the site. Close but workable!

Once the crane team and tree surgeons had been briefed about what to expect I took to the air. It was a lesson in battery management as all 4 batteries I have for the Phantom were in constant use and in a charge cycle all day.

Shots obtained included circular panning shots around the tree, before and after overhead images and close up of Ian hard at work in the tree. Almost every major limb was videos at the tree was brought down. A totally of 53 Video Clip and over 55gb of 4k footage captured. It was an excellent shoot and Ian and the team were outstanding and made very light work of the tree.

Other shots obtained included images of the Chipper in action, the Crane lifting out the branches and main trunk of the tree and even a cheesy shot of the team sitting on the log at the end of the day.

I would highly recommend Ian and his business Creative Landscapes and Treecare and if anyone who is reading this would like to capture similar drone images then please do get in touch.. the Video edit is on its way!

The post Drone Photography and Videography for Tree Surgeons appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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It is becoming increasingly popular for tree surgeons to use drones to capture images of the specialist work that they do as there is no other photography option that allows up close and personal images captures of these guys at work!

I had the pleasure in working with Creative landscapes and Tree Care who are based in Waterlooville in Hampshire.

I conducted an all-day shoot for them arriving on site at 0700 one Sunday morning in February 2018 to capture the felling of a large Beech Tree using my DJI Phantom 4 Professional. This drone was perfect for the job as the Inspire would have been too large as the space to manoeuvre the drone between the other trees in the area was limited to say the least!

It was a really enjoyable shoot, Ian who owns the company was specific in what he wanted and the shoot involved both photography captured on the ground with my Nikon D750 SLR, My DJI OSMO and of course the Drone.

During the site survey it became apparent that the site was very close to the limit of the CAA Drone Code of not Flying within 150m of congested areas, fortunately the closest occupied buildings and road was 157m away from the site. Close but workable!

Once the crane team and tree surgeons had been briefed about what to expect I took to the air. It was a lesson in battery management as all 4 batteries I have for the Phantom were in constant use and in a charge cycle all day.

Shots obtained included circular panning shots around the tree, before and after overhead images and close up of Ian hard at work in the tree. Almost every major limb was videos at the tree was brought down. A totally of 53 Video Clip and over 55gb of 4k footage captured. It was an excellent shoot and Ian and the team were outstanding and made very light work of the tree.

Other shots obtained included images of the Chipper in action, the Crane lifting out the branches and main trunk of the tree and even a cheesy shot of the team sitting on the log at the end of the day.

I would highly recommend Ian and his business Creative Landscapes and Treecare and if anyone who is reading this would like to capture similar drone images then please do get in touch.. the Video edit is on its way!

The post Drone Photography and Videography for Tree Surgeons appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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I have photographed weddings for over 15 years and am really passionate about this side of my Photography business. My use of Drones for Photography started off as a Hobby and then has very quickly become established as part of my work and the key to this was passing the CAA PFCO Licence.

I am a member of many Facebook groups where wedding suppliers are sharing videos and photographs of what they have captured on their clients big days and I am massively concerned to see the use of drone footage dramatically increasing amongst suppliers who are not licenced and also as they are not licenced, they are not insured.

I have seen videos posted online of drones flying directly overhead of people at weddings and members of the general public who are not part of the wedding being well within the 50m safe zone getting really close to the drone (More about this later) Pu simply this is dangerous and has he potential to ruin a wedding day or far worse.

Yesterday I visited a stunning wedding venue which was actually fairly close to a High Risk zone of Bournemouth Airport and I was really surprised to hear that they have many photographers that come along with drones when photographing weddings.

I wanted to capture some images of the venue so I put the drone in the air but due to the proximity to the airport before the flight  I called the Bournemouth Airport Tower to notify them of the flight and of my Max AGL (Above Ground Level) which was just 40m (The legal limit is 120m). They could not have been more helpful, friendly and appreciative that I called. I asked if anyone else flying a drone at the venue had called them before and the answer was no… I was shocked..

When you allow an operator who is not licenced to film your wedding then you have in effect broken the law by paying an un-licenced operator for a service. Please do not take the risk, there are many specialist video companies out there who specialise in filming weddings who hold the PFCO Licence or talk to a photographer who is legal and able to operate at your wedding with confidence

Just to recap what the laws are. If you are flying a drone for fun then you must adhere to the drone code which is principally that you must not take off closer than 30m or fly closer than 50m from people, buildings or vehicles that are not under your control and of course you must not fly higher than 120m or outside of your line of sight.

If you are using the drone for any commercial purpose i.e. getting paid for the job or the drone work is enhancing your business then you must hold to PFCO Licence to be operating legally and if you hold the PFCO Licence then you will be well aware of the need to speak to the tower in this situation given above.

Incidentally if you would like to see some of my wedding work then please do get in touch here: Wedding Photography

The post Using a Drone at your Wedding appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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In mid December I received the long awaited Phantom 4 Professional Edition Obsidian, Plus Edition.

I moved over to the Plus edition a few months ago as previously I used the model which needed to have my iPad pro connected to the drone as well. Personally I find the Plus module with the Screen much easier to see is direct sunlight due to its 1000cd/m2 brightness is awesome and just not needing to carry another device on jobs is really useful.

Since the Phantom first came out I have wanted to have a Black version. Best Buy in America did a Black edition a few months ago but it was just the standard model which although has a good camera and 4k capability is just not good enough to use for commercial purposes.

I have now used the obsidian on a couple of occasions and have to say the increased visibility that you get from the Black chassis is a massive improvement over the white model. This was really one of the main reasons that I upgraded.. plus it looks pretty sexy!

The Phantom is still my goto model due to is size and when shooting Aerial Images and Videography the 20mp camera and 4k camera is excellent and actually the same quality as my inspire 2 with the X4S Lens.

I will add a few more pictures next time I am flying but it is a great looking Drone. I added another couple of batteries in the same obsidian Colour and of course use ND Filters most of the time that I am capturing video unless it is sunset time!

Please feel free to ask any questions

More information can be found here: Phantom 4 Professional Model – Obsidian Edition

The post New Drone Added to the Fleet! appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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Changes are Coming

In Spring 2018 following an extensive government consuiltaion the UK with introduce new drone laws which will mean that users will need to take an online safety test and register their drone.

A few years ago I thought this was not needed as surely people who own drones know the risks and will operate sensibly. Sadly I was wrong and I really welcome these new laws. Maybe driven by the click bait culture of facebook there are videos everywhere of people breaking the very simple rules tat exist to operate drones safely in UK Airspace.

The reality of drone ownership is that to most people it is nothing more than a bit of fun.. this also includes seeing how high they will go and how far away people can fly them without loosing signal.

How the DJI Mavic Pro changed the world!

In my view the drone that changed the game was the DJI Mavic Pro. Ultra portable and massively capable (I have one in my collection which I have used professionally as well as for fun!). This drone made drone ownership sexy, a drone that literally transforms from your pocket into something that can go over 4500ft up and 4 miles away from you is amazing… and also a recipe for disaster.

Sadly I believe a serious accident is waiting to happen.. this could be someone flying over a busy motorway and suffering a motor failure and the resultant falling drone causing traffic to swerve with catastrophic results or the idiots that fly on a daily basis near airports, either way regulation is needed and to be honest probably overdue.

Overview of the Laws

  • A reminder of the basic laws at the moment:
  • Not flown higher than 120m
  • Never flown out of VLOS (Visual Line of Sight)
  • Not within 50m of people or vehicles that are not under the operators control. (30m for take-off)
  • Not within 150m of Crowded or built up areas
  • To use the drone commercially (Make money from the sale of photographs or footage) you must hold the CAA PFCO (Permission for Aerial Operations) Licence

If the new test makes people aware of the dangers of operating drones outside of these parameters and just one person decides not to fly in a dangerous way then this could ultimately save lives.

UK Drone Code

If you are thinking of getting involved in this amazing hobby or even starting out then more information can be found here : UK Drone Code

To have a look at the work we do please look at either Property, Marine or Events Sections

The post Drone Regulations in the UK appeared first on Hampshire Aerial Photography.

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