Drone sales have soared in the past few years and their popularity with businesses is increasing all the time. UAV operators offering drone video services are widely available and in constant demand.
Companies are using this new technology to upgrade their marketing efforts, improve customer service and produce stunning imagery on a modest budget. No one knows how quickly companies could begin to see an ROI from these unmanned aircraft, but as with any new technology it pays to be ahead of the curve.
As the quality of drone footage improves from one year to the next many marketing professionals are enlisting UAV operators offering drone video services and ask them to create breathtaking visual content. Armed with this media they can offer consumers stunning shots taken from fresh perspectives, even if they’re working with a modest budget.
Affordability is and will continue to be a unique selling point; even small to medium sized businesses will be able to produce professional grade audiovisuals with a minimum of experience. This immediacy will also prevent the kind of delays which are associated with adopting a new technology; many of the applications employed by drones are designed to be user friendly and accessible to all.
However, if a company would prefer not to operate a drone in-house, there is an ever increasing database of stock photos and videos available online.
Drone footage lends itself well to innovation and creatively, the kind of marketing teams that enjoy experimenting with their output will appreciate the super-fast time to market speeds drone video services can provide. However, aerial video production is also making inroads into many traditional professions.
For architecture teams, drone video services represent a more economical solution than manned aircraft when aerial photographs or video are needed. Drones can relay data that enables drafts people and builders to map an area to the finest detail, producing highly accurate representations of the space below.
Drones can also be useful when it comes to selling new homes, as people are far more inspired by smooth HD video showing a 360 degree view, than they would be by flat floor plans and photos.
Similarly, estate agents can enlist drones to deliver an in-depth view of not only a house or apartment, but the surrounding properties, local shops and the neighbourhood. This gives potential buyers a greater sense of what the area is like and whether it could be right for them.
In turn this enables estate agents to market available properties more effectively, finding buyers who are more likely follow through with a sale, before they even arrange a viewing.
The travel and tourism industry is also set to be revolutionised by drone technology. Short aerial videos provide a company’s target market with excellent quality videography revealing a unique view of each resort and its location. The footage can promote not just individual hotels, but the attractions which surround the resort, the tours guests could take and the various destinations nearby.
Luxury hotels set in remote locations often look even more exquisite when filmed from an aerial perspective; the property can use drone footage to highlight its surroundings, manicured gardens and idyllic beach from every angle, using visual imagery which would never be as striking in a static, terrestrial shot. Guests gain the kind of overview that they can look forward to seeing when they arrive, getting a feel for the entire property and increasing their desire to visit.
YouTubers who bring something fresh and new to viewers can quickly begin to make money through advertising revenue, and merchandise. Drone footage that is well-shot and delivers interesting images can attract huge numbers of subscribers, from daredevil stunts, to visions of the natural world and buildings that cannot be reached on foot.
Once subscriber numbers are up, users can promote their products, advertise their website or sign up to be a YouTube advertising partner.
There’s no doubt that a drone video service can raise the standard of cinematography and visual communication for filmmakers working independently, even those on a strict budget. Many viewers have become accustomed to establishing shots filmed using a drone, but whilst miles of unspoilt wilderness or vibrant city streets do look great, the technology is capable of more.
Filmmakers can use drone shots for tracking a scene, establishing a reveal and a variety of artistic shots. Just think back to the opening scene of the James Bond outing, Skyfall, where Agent 007 was captured by drones as he tracked down a terrorist.
In any level of cinematic production, budgetary concerns always loom large. Using a drone can alleviate some of that stress by reducing the need for specialist knowledge and equipment like tracks, cranes and jibs. A drone is much smaller than this cumbersome set up and can capture shots in any space fast, saving both time and money.
Drone photography has become a major trend in the wedding industry, with many would-be couples choosing to capture their big day in an original way. Drones are associated with sweeping panoramic shots, but they can be there right from the start, recording the church ceremony, the guest’s reactions and the surroundings, all without ever disturbing the event.
If spotted at the reception, drones can make a fun distraction, as many people are unfamiliar with them and feel entertained by watching them dart around. Many couples choose to have a drone service at their wedding because it can give the event a star quality.
It’s a sophisticated, high-end alternative to having a wedding photographer; there is no need for flash photography and no unnatural breaks in the ceremony for a quick snap – so the day feels more natural.
Couples can also use drone photography to showcase elements of the venue which are especially beautiful or significant to them, in a dynamic way. From historic buildings, to churches and contemporary hotels, these flying cameras can produce images that will remain fascinating for years to come.
Being airborne a drone can easily take shots and video which would otherwise be impossible to achieve, children playing on the lawn whilst the bride and her mother hug nearby, the groom nervously pacing and the family beaming with pride. All of these intimate moments can be edited together to produce an emotional record of the day.
It’s not just the creative world which has found a use for aerial video production; in the UK many industrial companies are also considering the benefits of a drone video service. There are endless applications for drones in terms of providing data and collecting images for commercial concerns.
Utility companies need to maintain oil, gas and electricity lines, and civil engineers can use the information for mapping and surveying an area. There is also huge potential for drone use in the insurance industry, especially when a flood or other devastating natural event has affected people’s homes. Drones could be sent in to places that assessors cannot yet reach, to photograph the aftermath and enable claims to be processed faster.
Drone technology has only been available since 2012 and industry insiders believe that it will be the end users, rather than the manufacturers that decide what changes the future will bring. New innovations will emerge depending on the ways in which drones are incorporated into the commercial and private world.
Right now many drones are future proof; they can be adapted by software developers using apps to change how they work and produce a more bespoke result. The hope is that drones will become integrated into our lives in the same way as smart phones have, partly used as an entertainment device, but also capable of much more.
We know the technology works, so now one of the biggest challenges is acceptance; once people have seen the benefits they can better understand the possibilities.
When it comes to selling houses it must surely be a complete no-brainer if you have the option of using drone videography and imagery. Aerial property photography now replaces those few snaps taken in the driveway and the back garden. You can now showcase a property with an aerial video that takes you on a guided tour both inside and out.
Aerial videos and images of properties are a boon to buyers who need to know what is adjacent to and close by the property as well as what lies within its boundaries. Little is left hidden when you have a view from 350ft. You can spot a nearby scrap yard or pig farm that the estate agent conveniently forgot to mention.
Drones used for property photography really come into their own when there are larger areas to cover, particularly if it’s not a garden but open land. It may be impractical to cover the area on foot and yet the buyer would like to inspect what’s over the hedge or across the stream.
Aerial photos provide clarity. The photo can be edited to show the boundaries of the property so that it matches the plot plan. This creates an at-a-glance image that removes any doubt and creates some reassurance for the buyer.
Everything takes on a different look when seen from the air. The aerial view can enhance an otherwise nondescript property and reveal it to be an overlooked gem. Properties that seem all too familiar from the ground are suddenly seen afresh.
Drones can also be used to create smooth flowing tours around the interior of a property. The footage can be combined with any taken using hand held gimbal equipped cameras to produce short films like the one below which are a pleasure to watch in themselves.
As with all filming but even more so with property photography, weather, season, time of day, and position of the sun are going to be a factor. If you want to make a point of showing the viewer a certain part of the property (because it’s the main feature or a great selling point) then will all those preceding factors be optimal for the shot? Will the sun be in the drone camera lens just as you pan around to that side of the building?
The golden hours (an hour after sunrise, an hour before sunset) can be used to great effect for property photography. The loss of daylight in the winter months in the UK mean there are fewer opportunities for filming but there are some advantages.
Think of those frosty mornings when the air is still and the sky is clear. Capture your property when the shadows are still long and as you fly your drone over it pull back over the top to reveal it in all its glory. The contrast of the still frosty ground in the shade against the sunlit areas that are frost free can produce a dramatic effect.
It can only be a matter of time before a prospective buyer will be able to inspect the inside of the property using a virtual reality tour. You’ll be able to sit at home or in the office and walk from virtual room to virtual room. You can then enjoy an aerial video that can shows the exterior and the location in as equal detail.
Perhaps you’re a home owner who just want to create an aerial video of the property for the family archive. All you’ll need is one of the latest camera equipped UAVs like the DJI Phantom 4 Professional Aerial UAV Quadcopter Drone with Built-In 4K Full HD Video Camera & Sport Mode.
With careful and gradual practice you’ll be able to achieve the desired result and impress your family and friends with your footage. Just be sure to abide by the rules and regulations for drone use in the UK or your home country.
Drone simulators are an excellent way of improving your flying skills in a number of areas. With practice you could learn to manoeuvre a drone through an awkward spot smoothly, produce more detailed aerial photographs, or gather more precise reconnaissance.
These sims are also a great choice if you are relatively new to the world of UAV piloting and are considering a more expensive quad-copter. High-end drones are never cheap, but you can get in plenty of practice hours with an immersive UAV simulator before you even un-box a new gadget.
Drone flight simulators are compatible with Macs as well as PCs, and are also available as FPV (first person view) simulators. Although it’s not as intense as a visit to a multi-rotor flight school, the training you’ll receive on a simulator can cover every aspect of drone flight.
The right software can help you build upon your existing flying skills, but also provide lessons on capturing great video footage. You’ll learn more about controlling the gimbal and then practice these techniques in a number of different environments, without the risk of losing or damaging your drone.
Take a look at the various simulation packages on offer, then you can decide which one would work best for you.
This is a great choice for people who want an affordable solution, but don’t want to compromise on the quality of their experience. The droneSim model was created using data drawn from real world physics; when the motor behaves in a certain way in-game, it’s reflecting the way a real aircraft would perform in the same circumstances.
That means in terms of responsiveness and handling, you’re getting as close to the real thing as possible. Better still you can train when it suits you, no need to check for the right weather conditions or worry about a low battery, the simulator is ready when you are, 24 hours a day.
The team behind the simulator can also tailor-make any number of scenarios to help you practice for a specific event or job. Whether you need experience with flying in industrial areas, or you’ll be capturing a wedding day, or you’re involved with the entertainment industry, the droneSim Pro package can deliver a realistic simulation.
When you’re flying with FPV Event, each drone is uniquely rendered with its own type of flight controls and attributes. You can also create a bespoke drone by adjusting the settings; this could be to replicate the drone you fly for work or in your spare time, or to learn more about the characteristics of another quad-copter before you commit to buying it.
FPV Event have added an element of competition to their simulator with a pilot rankings leader board, this not only informs you of your progress in comparison to other pilots, but suggests events and qualifiers based on your changing skill level.
The drone simulation software from FPV Event Personal Edition uses a 3D game engine and so needs quite a substantial machine to work optimally. For the smoothest flights and seamless visuals, the minimum PC spec should be Windows 7, 4GB Ram, an Intel i5 dual CPU and a NVidia 750 Ti standard graphics card, as well as a solid internet connection.
This drone simulator is still in pre-alpha testing, but an early version has recently been published and reached an impressive total of 3000 downloads. It’s a free flight sim that was designed to both educate and entertain. Users can receive training in any number of different drones, without having to invest a penny – because the software is completely free.
When released as a full version the game will be centred on each player’s career, you will perform tasks which enable you to earn virtual cash, and then use it to buy a better model for your next flight. You’ll also need to pay for the upkeep of each aircraft you own by purchasing new parts and keeping it well-maintained. They have teamed up with JJRC and EMAX, so you’ll be able to test their drones in game, but more manufacturers will soon be added as the company grows.
If you often fly a drone with other users, the split screen version of this simulator could be worth a trial run, along with the online multi player mode.
Aimed mainly at the FPV racing crowd, the VelociDrone is a fast moving simulator which can be played alone or as a multiplayer game. It features a range of tracks, each with its own set of obstacles to overcome, not all of which are static.
You can fine tune your skills as a pilot amongst other players, or choose to test yourself with their Time Attack mode. Here you race against yourself and try to beat your personal best.
This is the ideal option for UAV pilots who are serious about improving their skills and getting in more hours of flight practice. It can help you get better results with a camera, teach you to manoeuvre like a pro and give tips on using a gimbal correctly.
Many types of drone can be tested and there are challenges to keep your levels of interest up. To enhance your ability in different conditions, you can preset any simulation to feature a specific time of day and wind speed.
More information/buy: Great Planes RealFlight GPMZ4800 RealFlight Drone