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Author Topic: Drones  (Read 28540 times)

Justinr

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Drones
« on: September 11, 2015, 09:20:52 am »

Does anyone use a drone for commercial photography or have sense of the costs and pitfalls?

I know of a particular customer base who are increasingly using them but I do wonder whether it's more a case of model aircraft enthusiasts branching out or photographers getting into it as the skill is in piloting the aircraft. I also know that they can be a damn nuisance at times with their unwelcome presence in shots or the operator not being aware of what's going on around him as he is too busy watching the heavens. I've also looked into the restrictions on their use and there don't appear to be that many which surprised me, probably because the busybodies haven't woken up to the joyful opportunity of telling other people what they can and can't do, yet!

EDIT: From a conversation I've just had I think the word 'commercial' changes all that!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 11:13:15 am by Justinr »
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TwistedShadow

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Re: Drones
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2015, 01:19:45 am »

Does anyone use a drone for commercial photography or have sense of the costs and pitfalls?

I know of a particular customer base who are increasingly using them but I do wonder whether it's more a case of model aircraft enthusiasts branching out or photographers getting into it as the skill is in piloting the aircraft. I also know that they can be a damn nuisance at times with their unwelcome presence in shots or the operator not being aware of what's going on around him as he is too busy watching the heavens. I've also looked into the restrictions on their use and there don't appear to be that many which surprised me, probably because the busybodies haven't woken up to the joyful opportunity of telling other people what they can and can't do, yet!

EDIT: From a conversation I've just had I think the word 'commercial' changes all that!

One of the first thing you will find when looking up drone restrictions is you're prohibited from using them for commercial use. The only way around it is to apply to the FAA for permission. Now the FAA is starting to relax on this and issuing some licenses. The so called "busy bodies" are actually working on a set of rules as we type that should include commercial usage. Now with that said, there is no shortage of people using them for commercial use despite the current rules. This is one of the reasons I suspect was behind Congress telling the FAA to create new rules that would allow commercial usage. No one knows for sure what the new rules imply but I suspect they will be similar to the old model aircraft rules, no flying within 1 nautical mile of any airport ( straight line, I hear their pushing for 5 miles) and with a max ceiling of 400 feet ( I'm also hearing 200 feet). That and do going hovering it out side your neighbors windows lol


As for who's branching out, drones are nothing more than model aircraft and they have been around for decades before the public was hearing about drones in the news. The term drone applied to model aircraft was simply a marketing ploy. No different than a gun store selling you an AR15 calling it an M4...M4 are military only. Anyhow, I think drones have exploded due to the ease of operation and more affordable than previous model aircraft. I probably spent more time repairing my old choppers than flying in the first year. It took me about 10 minutes fooling around with my DJI Phanton II to get the hang of it. I've crashed it a couple times but thats due to me flying it in high winds. It took me about 5 minutes to replace the props and without tools.

Anyhow, I think drones are usable in some situations like real estate...especially large properties. That and getting shots of places you other wise can't or better perspectives. The latter in the reason I bought my drone. The more affordable drones are limited to 10-12mp cameras. You're looking at $6,000-10,000 for anything capable of carrying a DSLR with my MPs.


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Colorado David

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Re: Drones
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2015, 09:15:55 am »

The FAA draft rules were published in February. There was a sixty day comment period and they are currently drafting the final rules which are expected to go into effect sometime this fall. The Requirement for a pilots license will be replaced by a written test. You can search online for the draft rules.

Justinr

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Re: Drones
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2015, 04:50:14 am »

One of the first thing you will find when looking up drone restrictions is you're prohibited from using them for commercial use. The only way around it is to apply to the FAA for permission. Now the FAA is starting to relax on this and issuing some licenses. The so called "busy bodies" are actually working on a set of rules as we type that should include commercial usage. Now with that said, there is no shortage of people using them for commercial use despite the current rules. This is one of the reasons I suspect was behind Congress telling the FAA to create new rules that would allow commercial usage. No one knows for sure what the new rules imply but I suspect they will be similar to the old model aircraft rules, no flying within 1 nautical mile of any airport ( straight line, I hear their pushing for 5 miles) and with a max ceiling of 400 feet ( I'm also hearing 200 feet). That and do going hovering it out side your neighbors windows lol


As for who's branching out, drones are nothing more than model aircraft and they have been around for decades before the public was hearing about drones in the news. The term drone applied to model aircraft was simply a marketing ploy. No different than a gun store selling you an AR15 calling it an M4...M4 are military only. Anyhow, I think drones have exploded due to the ease of operation and more affordable than previous model aircraft. I probably spent more time repairing my old choppers than flying in the first year. It took me about 10 minutes fooling around with my DJI Phanton II to get the hang of it. I've crashed it a couple times but thats due to me flying it in high winds. It took me about 5 minutes to replace the props and without tools.

Anyhow, I think drones are usable in some situations like real estate...especially large properties. That and getting shots of places you other wise can't or better perspectives. The latter in the reason I bought my drone. The more affordable drones are limited to 10-12mp cameras. You're looking at $6,000-10,000 for anything capable of carrying a DSLR with my MPs.




Having looked around a bit more I see that in the UK there is a code of practice and certain catch all laws which may be applied, but as yet I can't find any requirement for actually holding a license issued by a government authority. Instead, you will need a BNUS-S qualification for commercial work which probably amounts to the same thing to us, but to a lawyer there may be a world of difference.

Ireland normally (always) follows the UK in these sort of matters, but I'm not sure if any regulations are in force at the moment.    
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AreBee

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Re: Drones
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2015, 08:38:27 am »

Justin,

Quote
...I see that in the UK there is a code of practice and certain catch all laws which may be applied, but as yet I can't find any requirement for actually holding a license issued by a government authority.

In order for the Civil Aviation Authority (which is a public body) to grant permission for a drone to be used for commercial work, the drone operator must demonstrate their competence, normally by providing evidence of successful completion of a CAA-recognised course, for example this.
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joneil

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Re: Drones
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2015, 03:43:22 pm »

In Canada, you need a "SFOC" - Special Flight Operations Certificate" to fly commercial in almost all urban and built up areas.   Out in the country, in Class "G" airspace, might be different as long as you have your commercial insurance.

Again, in Canada, if you want to go commercial, I highly, highly, highly recommend you take a ground school course.  The one I am taking cost $250, text book another $100, and some charts and maps will likely run you anywhere form another $100 to $200.  You will need other publications, but those area almost all online, in PDF format, and downloadable for free.  The one I am taking gives you 9 months to finish, but after three months, I am about 50% through.

What you need to look for is this, quoting: "The course is in compliance with TP 15263E (08/2014)  Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems UAV 25 kg or less, Operating within Visual Line of Sight."

Once you get that under your belt, trust me, things are much easier.

Another thing to consider.  Putting words in the mouth of Transport Canada, their attitude seems to be this:  If you are a hobbyist flyer, no problem, but if you go commercial, then you are a pilot, and you will be a pilot, training and all.

Hope that helps a bit.  I think the world of drones / UAVs will explode commercially, so now is the time to jump in ahead, but you have to decide what way you are going. 

good luck


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joneil

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Re: Drones
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2015, 03:48:21 pm »

As for who's branching out, drones are nothing more than model aircraft and they have been around for decades before the public was hearing about drones in the news. The term drone applied to model aircraft was simply a marketing ploy. No different than a gun store selling you an AR15 calling it an M4...M4 are military only. Anyhow, I think drones have exploded due to the ease of operation and more affordable than previous model aircraft. I probably spent more time repairing my old choppers than flying in the first year. It took me about 10 minutes fooling around with my DJI Phanton II to get the hang of it. I've crashed it a couple times but thats due to me flying it in high winds. It took me about 5 minutes to replace the props and without tools.

-snip-
       The stuff I am looking is is bigger.  Like you said, something that will carry a DSLR is $10,000 or more, but that is pretty basic.   For example, in Detroit, Lockheed-Martin is building Police UAVs.   Comparing these things to a DJI phantom or similar is like comparing your AR15/ M4 to a Red Ryder BB gun.   Some amazing stuff out there.
:D
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Griffin86

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Re: Drones
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2015, 07:53:07 pm »

You have to go for ground school in Canada as part of your SFOC.

I have $12,000+ into mine and I could spend another $5-8000. I bought the wrong gimbal (photohigher) and once I upgrade to a DJI Ronin, I will have to upgrade ESCs,  props and motors.  Plus the insurance company wants $1500-2000 for liability every year. I was planning on using my Black Magic 4k and D800.

I burns me up that every real estate agent and their dog is using UAVs to do aerial photos/videos. The fines for not following the SFOC is $5,000 personal and $25,000 for a company


In Canada, you need a "SFOC" - Special Flight Operations Certificate" to fly commercial in almost all urban and built up areas.   Out in the country, in Class "G" airspace, might be different as long as you have your commercial insurance.

Again, in Canada, if you want to go commercial, I highly, highly, highly recommend you take a ground school course.  The one I am taking cost $250, text book another $100, and some charts and maps will likely run you anywhere form another $100 to $200.  You will need other publications, but those area almost all online, in PDF format, and downloadable for free.  The one I am taking gives you 9 months to finish, but after three months, I am about 50% through.

What you need to look for is this, quoting: "The course is in compliance with TP 15263E (08/2014)  Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems UAV 25 kg or less, Operating within Visual Line of Sight."

Once you get that under your belt, trust me, things are much easier.

Another thing to consider.  Putting words in the mouth of Transport Canada, their attitude seems to be this:  If you are a hobbyist flyer, no problem, but if you go commercial, then you are a pilot, and you will be a pilot, training and all.

Hope that helps a bit.  I think the world of drones / UAVs will explode commercially, so now is the time to jump in ahead, but you have to decide what way you are going. 

good luck
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Justinr

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Re: Drones
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2015, 05:44:30 am »

You have to go for ground school in Canada as part of your SFOC.

I have $12,000+ into mine and I could spend another $5-8000. I bought the wrong gimbal (photohigher) and once I upgrade to a DJI Ronin, I will have to upgrade ESCs,  props and motors.  Plus the insurance company wants $1500-2000 for liability every year. I was planning on using my Black Magic 4k and D800.

I burns me up that every real estate agent and their dog is using UAVs to do aerial photos/videos. The fines for not following the SFOC is $5,000 personal and $25,000 for a company

Yep, that sounds about right. There was a lad at the ploughing match with a cheapo machine wandering round looking very pleased with himself, ten to one he was a chancer with not a scrap of paper to his activities. He went unchallenged, I thought about it but was unsure of my ground.
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Colorado David

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Re: Drones
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2015, 09:23:23 am »

I thought about it but was unsure of my ground.

You could have engaged him in a conversation on the uselessness of AE and he'd have left the event without flying his drone.

Justinr

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Re: Drones
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2015, 09:33:33 am »

You could have engaged him in a conversation on the uselessness of AE and he'd have left the event without flying his drone.

I could of, and that would have been my approach, but it wasn't quite as simple as that. He was in fact in the press tent surrounded by colleagues who probably thought that drones are the latest whizz bang super dooper gadgets ever invented as well. 

Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut and get on with your own job.
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Kevin Gallagher

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Re: Drones
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2015, 10:20:51 am »

 Hi Justin, I'm a long way from Tipperary but in the US we now need to file for what's called a Part 333 exemption to fly for commercial use. Our FAA is requiring that the operator have a Sport Pilot Certificate at a minimum. I've been a fixed wing pilot for many years, and I am currently awaiting the approval of my application so I can begin to legally operate commercially. One thing I would strongly advise you is to have one person do the flying and another operate the camera. It is much less stressful and a whole lot safer IMHO. Right now my fleet consists of a DJI Vision 2+ and an Inspire 1. My aim is to offer services for Real Estate and construction.

  Best of Luck!!

Kevin in CT USA
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TwistedShadow

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Re: Drones
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 06:23:48 pm »

-snip-
       The stuff I am looking is is bigger.  Like you said, something that will carry a DSLR is $10,000 or more, but that is pretty basic.   For example, in Detroit, Lockheed-Martin is building Police UAVs.   Comparing these things to a DJI phantom or similar is like comparing your AR15/ M4 to a Red Ryder BB gun.   Some amazing stuff out there.
:D

Oh sure, you can go forever with any hobby or field. Example, the oil field is one of the first allowed to use commercial drones in the U.S. I believe they use primarily Boeing ScanEagles which can run $100,000 or more. However, you can pick up a Cessna 172 under $25k and a 182 around $40k. Hell, I can charter a helicopter service here locally for $500 an hour and take all the photos I need. It's all relative to what you need i suppose. I'm a retired oilfield worker/landscape photographer. We could easily afford a $25k drone but we simply don't need it. The DJI Phantom does great for my needs...although I may upgrade to the dJI Inspire.




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Justinr

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Re: Drones
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 10:38:54 am »

Hi Justin, I'm a long way from Tipperary but in the US we now need to file for what's called a Part 333 exemption to fly for commercial use. Our FAA is requiring that the operator have a Sport Pilot Certificate at a minimum. I've been a fixed wing pilot for many years, and I am currently awaiting the approval of my application so I can begin to legally operate commercially. One thing I would strongly advise you is to have one person do the flying and another operate the camera. It is much less stressful and a whole lot safer IMHO. Right now my fleet consists of a DJI Vision 2+ and an Inspire 1. My aim is to offer services for Real Estate and construction.

  Best of Luck!!

Kevin in CT USA

Thanks for the info Kevin, but having looked into the potential this end I'm not sure that there would be the demand to justify getting a drone let alone embarking on the journey to being fully compliant with requirements. There are a few companies that would worry about the legalities of it all but most wouldn't care or want to know, just so long as any fall out didn't land in their lap. As for the quality of the image I despair over how businesses promote themselves over web and social media in particular. They'll talk the big talk about SEO and click throughs etc etc and then post the most God awful snaps of something pertaining to their company!  But that's probably a subject for another thread.
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markd61

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Re: Drones
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2015, 08:03:55 pm »

Thanks for the info Kevin, but having looked into the potential this end I'm not sure that there would be the demand to justify getting a drone let alone embarking on the journey to being fully compliant with requirements. There are a few companies that would worry about the legalities of it all but most wouldn't care or want to know, just so long as any fall out didn't land in their lap. As for the quality of the image I despair over how businesses promote themselves over web and social media in particular. They'll talk the big talk about SEO and click throughs etc etc and then post the most God awful snaps of something pertaining to their company!  But that's probably a subject for another thread.

In my area (US southwest) there are a few people offering drone imagery along with stills for RE photography. The typical fee is $385 for a set of drone images or short video along with approx. 40 photos of the property.
This is clearly an attempt to attract a client  by getting a slight upcharge for the drone images.

In the end there is only a small market for drone images as very few people need more than one or two stills and a few seconds of video. As the public believes these are cheap toys they cannot feature paying anything resembling a professional fee.

Anyone wanting real production will not be talking to a newbie no matter what gear they bring to the table. They will be calling someone with a portfolio that displays the kind of production value they are looking for. There are already real production houses that have built a portfolio of great aerial work with conventional aircraft and can now bring their expertise to drones but will not be downsizing the price.
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TwistedShadow

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Re: Drones
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2015, 10:14:00 pm »

In the end there is only a small market for drone images as very few people need more than one or two stills and a few seconds of video.

Agreed, the only real estate usage I've run across has been larger homes with land....usually vacation lake homes etc.
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jjj

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Re: Drones
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2015, 09:46:59 am »

You could have engaged him in a conversation on the uselessness of AE and he'd have left the event without flying his drone.
;D
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Griffin86

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Re: Drones
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2015, 12:21:31 pm »

http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=19555

SkyPan fined $1.9 million for using a drone in 65 unauthorized operations.
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Justinr

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Re: Drones
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2015, 05:40:53 am »

Agreed, the only real estate usage I've run across has been larger homes with land....usually vacation lake homes etc.
Personally I was thinking more of companies with large outdoor installations or new facilities that can only be appreciated from the air and it was these that I originally had in mind, but I rather think that the market is too limited to justify the time and money getting all the certification, certainly here in Ireland anyway.

There are also companies that do it by helicopter and they tend to bundle up the jobs into a days shooting which probably brings the cost down to something similar to doing it by drone, but that's only a guess.
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Deardorff

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Re: Drones
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2015, 08:54:07 pm »

Check carefully as you are dealing the Federal Law Enforcement.
Some locations, such as the State of North Dakota - are free fly zones for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - drones. A lot of that is University of North Dakota having one of the top UAV programs in the nation - and Grand Forks Air Force Base next door which is helping them.
Check carefully so you don't get a surprise visit from law enforcement.
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