Drones in Film and TV

Case studies     4 film industry tips     4 stunning aerial shots     Cost?     Quick checklist     Example Inquiries     Get some quotes    

Case studies: Aus drone cinematographers in action

4 film industry tips: drone cinematography

1. Drones are used for more than establishing shots
When we think about drone footage, establishing shots immediately come to mind. Sprawling cities and miles of forest look great, but drone usage is not limited to establishing shots anymore. Drones are being used for stunning reveals, tracking and other creative shots.

2. Drones are now actually reducing total spend
Not only can drones eliminate other expensive tools such as cranes, jibs, and tracks, but they can make aerial photography easier and cheaper – seriously.

3. Don’t let drones dictate the story
Drones are thrilling tools to use on set, but certainly can be overused. Make sure you stay true to your story first, and if a scene can be enhanced by the use of drone photography for it. Rather than focus on the drone itself, good drone operators will utilise the drone simply as a tool for getting the on-board camera into the right position.

4. Plan a bit of extra prep time
Drone operators may need time to mount, test and shoot with the camera/drone combination prior to the shoot. While some drones like the Phantom 4 Pro or Mavic may take only a few minutes to set up, preparing a Red, Arri or some other camera can take a few hours.

4 stunning aerial shots to check out

Running into the Air - Sebastian Wöber

Hello World - PRENAV

How much do experienced drone operators charge?

Experienced drone operators in Australia will charge around $155-$280 per hour for film and TV work. These guys are not your run of the mill drone flyers – they have experience working with DOPs, silky smooth high-end drones equipped with typically an X5R (lossless 4K RAW), Red or Arri, and bring a willing determination to get the shot you need.

Before hiring a drone operator: quick checklist

1. Licenced and insured. Commercial drone operators must have one of these these 3 options covered before they can legally be hired by you. Also make sure your chosen drone operator holds a current public liability insurance policy that specifically covers the operation of a drone.

2. Relevant experience. As always - check the operators show reel for relevant experience. You might be looking for tracking, chase scenes, panoramic’ s or punch outs – find someone who can actually demonstrate that they have done something similar to your request.

3. Area approval. Sometimes drone operators will need to request an area approval depending on the job location. You should ask your chosen operator about this before they commence the work.

Drones For Hire is the largest drone operator directory in Australia

291 film & TV focussed operators currently listed
63 film & TV quote requests made in the last 4 weeks
4 examples of actual quote requests below

Job type: Film & TV (e.g. TV commercial) - Documentary
Job done by: On a specific date */*/2017
State: NSW || SA || NT
Name: Dan *****
Email: dan*@******.com.au
Phone: 414 83* ***
Location: various
Suburb: various
We require a drone pilot with an inspire1 and a Xenmuse X5R or something equivalent
- Capture in 4K
- RAW video only
- Must also supply sound gear and be able to record Sound.

Shoot Dates: */*/17 - */*/17
There are 3 videos to be shown online each around 2 minutes each.

The shoot is made up of one day travel, one day shoot, one day travel, one day shoot, etx.
Filming will be in all three states because thats where the locations are.

All travel costs will be covered by production so the drone / sound person can come from anywhere within Australia
- Northern Territory is the first state where the filming starts, which will be on the *//8/17

We are essentially looking for a split role person:
Drone / Sound

For one of the three videos it will feature interviews, and for that the sound needs to be good quality. For the other two videos the drone photography work is more important.
- Own gear required
Job type: Film & TV (e.g. TV commercial) - Documentary
Job done by: On a specific date */*/2017
State: VIC || TAS
Name: Sylvain G******
Email: wils*****@*******.gov.au
Phone: 0450 8* ***
Suburb: HOB***, *****
Shooting a documentary on the Tasmanian devil.
1 hr away from *****, mostly on a private property.
We will be there *******.
Most of the drone shots will be taken on last day ******.
flying thru forest etc (uncomplicated shots).
please quote for one day for ***.
Also, it would be good to have a phantom or mavic on the first 3 days for myself in case i want to get a random shot. any chance i could rent e.g a Phantom for that, and then meet you on the 16th for the main drone day.
Job type: Film & TV (e.g. TV commercial) - Motorsport
Job done by: On a specific date */*/2016
State: NSW & VIC
Name: Rob *******
Email: robe*******@**********.com.au
Phone: 02 9719 ****
Location: Mt Pan****
Suburb: BAT****, ****
We require 3 drones and 3 operators for filming motor sport. Probably a total of 1hr filming from each drone over the course of a day (3 hrs of raw footage in total).
It is a racing test day so there will not be a overly massive crowd there.

Optimally something like a Sony F5 or similar high end camera on the drones but this depends on price and even a 4k Gopro could be sufficient really so please quote both options separately if you have different cameras on offer.

We will consider hiring again if it all goes well.
Thanks Rob.
Job type: Film & TV (e.g. TV commercial) - TV commercial
Job done by: By a specific date */*/2017
State: NSW
Name: Myles H*******
Email: myles.h@******.com.au
Phone: 0403 52* ***
Suburb: THE ******, ****
We’re a global brand experience agency. We’re best known for event marketing, promotional marketing, digital, social and mobile.

Need a good drone operator, one man set up, for a 5 Day Video Shoot across NSW for a corporate video for a broadband supplier.
A very well respected DOP will be on the shoot
Locations are:
The drone operator is more than welcome to travel with us. we can accommodate the travel fees as well and we have a camera car.

Basically looking for someone to come with us who has good aerial photography skill, a decent quality drone, and reasonable rates, to come come along to allthe locations with us.

Get some quotes for a drone operator for an upcoming shoot

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