Frequently asked questions
Pricing and booking
Please call or email for a bespoke quote. We endeavour to be competitive for the high level of equipment and experience we offer.
The best way to book is either to email or pick up the phone so we can talk through the project requirements and offer the right solution. We’ll need to know exact details of your location so we can check whether there are any airspace restrictions – you can do this by sending us a post code and google earth link and we will do the rest.
To firm up a booking we ask for a deposit and acceptance of our standard T&Cs.
What do I get when I hire you?
We mostly work as a two person crew as the gimbal — with pan, tilt and lens control — is operated completely independently of the copter meaning we can create dynamic, exciting moves in the air. Sometimes we need additional ground support depending on the shoot, or the small rig can even be a single person operation. A standard Octocopter package includes:
- Skilled BNUC-S qualified pilot and Director with camera expertise who will liaise with your production to achieve the shots you need.
- Aerial platform with direct drive camera stabilisation.
- Live SD or HD downlink depending on the circumstances of the shoot which can be fed to multiple monitors.
- Ground safety management.
- 4×4 Production vehicle to access all terrain.
- Advance aviation checks, remote site assessment, location agreements, risk assessment and weather updates.
Do we need a technical Recce?
We generally recommend a tech recce so we can guarantee flight. We look for safe areas for take off and landing, sight lines, obstacles, type of ground surface for low flying, frequency interference, vehicle access so that we can keep batteries on charge etc. Much can be assessed from photographs and conversations with the production team but a tech recce where we will often deploy a test system is the only way to really establish that the desired shots can be achieved.
What weather conditions can you fly in?
For the best results we need winds of 10-15mph or less. Octocopters cannot fly in any kind of precipitation due to the electronic components so we recommend scheduling weather contingency dates. In the lead up to each shoot we provide regular weather updates and 24hrs before, or in advance of travel, we’ll confirm whether the conditions are good to go or not. If not, we will not charge you for that day and we set a contingency date. However if conditions are changeable we will assess the chances of being able to make a flight and you can choose whether to take the risk and have us on standby. In this instance if we are unable to fly at all you will be liable for our full fee.
How long can the Octocopter fly for?
Most flights average around 8 to 10 minutes. Flight times depend on the payload, conditions and speed so they will vary. We can fly for most of the day as long as we have either access to power or our vehicle in close proximity so we can set up an ongoing charging station. We ask you to allow time for us to keep on top of our battery system and to carry out post flight checks between flights to keep everything running smoothly.
How far can the Octocopter fly?
We operate within the regulations defined by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Navigation Order. The legal limits we can fly within are 400 feet up and 500 metres horizontal distance and we must always be within the pilot’s line of sight (VLOS). However in reality we rarely need to go anywhere near those distances to get you the shots you desire and we find safe practice is to assess the conditions and risks of individual scenarios. If you want to work outside these distances, for example at higher altitude, we can put an individual safety case forward to the CAA.
What is the maximum payload you can carry?
Our heavy lift system carries the MōVI 15 and can lift compatible camera / lens combinations of around 5 kilos. This equates to our ALEXA Mini with CP2 primes or similar light-weight lenses and two axis lens control.
What do I need to know about safety?
We take safety seriously and by taking care of everything on the ground we can be more creative in the sky. The CAA’s UAS OSC has introduced a new tier of operating skill and experience enabling a handful of operators to reduce cordon distances, particularly important for congested areas. This enables us to fly to within 10m of a person, vehicle or building outside our control.
Standard permissions require an aircraft to be 150m from a congested area and 50m from a person, vehicle or building outside our control.
It is not possible in the UK to overfly roads, public pathways, walkways, buildings and public spaces that are not under full control of the production.
Once you confirm a booking we provide you with a pre-flight site/risk assessment and our legal documents including Public Liability insurance.
Drone filming is classified as ‘other filming’ in London and now requires £10 million public liability insurance.
We presented together with Angus Benson-Blair at Film London’s seminar on Drones for The Production Guild. You can watch the seminar here.