Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Reasons to hire a certified professional:
A drone pilot is not only in charge of flying the drone and shooting photos. Missions are usually prepared well in advance and do not finish right after the flight.
- Material: every job requires its own professionals and specialised materials. And in order to take photos and films with a drone you will need a professional photographer. Apart from using a drone adapted to take high quality shots (lens, filters, 4k camera, etc.), remote pilots can add their artistic touch and "eye" taking into account light and weather conditions. Most of the time, they will also offer video post-production services such as video editing, adding music and so on.
- Regulations: airspace in France is heavily regulated. Professional remote pilots are aware of all the regulations and will be able to advice about how feasible a mission is. They are in charge of monitoring the weather and obtaining the Ministry of the Armed Forces permission to fly drones on certain areas. This allows the professional pilot to have legal access to no-fly zones, spaces forbidden to fly drones, such as near an airport, an aerodrome, a military zone, etc.
- Before every mission, professional remote pilots must declare their flights at the prefecture and at the Ministry of the Armed Forces, and establish protocols with traffic managers.
- Professional insurance: some missions may be dangerous and could cause material damages such as the drone breaking or glass breakage, or even body injuries if the drone collides with a person. These accidents are rare since remote pilots are highly trained professionals who are very aware of these potential hazards and have a perfect control of their aircrafts. However, not everything is in their hands and if a problem occurs, the professional insurance will bear the damages.
Who can be a professional remote pilot?
- Training: professional drone pilots have undergone appropriate theoretical training (equivalent to a level 1 pilot’s licence) as well as practical training; they possess a pilot’s certificate and a completion certificate to fly civil drones.
- Declared activity: professional drone pilot must declare their activity to the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (D.G.A.C.), a compulsory step before accepting to take on a mission. It is also mandatory to draft a MAP (Manual of Particular Activities) or MANEX (Operating Manual) with a listing of all the services carried out by the pilot.
- Registration of the professional activity: some remote pilots perform their profession as employees within companies. Those who have chosen to pursue their profession on a freelance basis must register with the URSSAF and the tax authorities.
- Professional insurance: it is compulsory. Should an unexpected problem occur, the professional insurance will bear the damages.
What are the constraints for filming with a drone (day/night, weather, altitude, equipment needed)?
- Weather: Pilots need to monitor the weather and file specific request forms to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for certain areas before flying a drone over them.
- Declaration: Before every mission with a drone, professional remote pilots must declare their flights at the prefecture and at the Ministry of the Armed Forces, and establish protocols with traffic managers.
- Night flight: Drone night flights are forbidden, but professional remote pilots may obtain exceptional authorisations from the prefecture.
- Material: Drones require maintenance. Before every flight, drones must be verified and tested. All batteries (those from the device and in from the remote control) must be charged. The equipment used is chosen for its reliability and the quality of its shots (sensor size and lens quality). It includes a drone (mavic pro 2 Hasselblad, Mavic pro 3, or Phantom 4 pro V2) and its operating accessories, as well as 4 to 10 backup batteries (30 minutes of flight each) depending on the mission. Finally, for optimal shot quality, remote pilots use ND filters to obtain the best video or photo settings according to the light conditions.
Why should you film with a drone?
Drones are a real revolution in the world of photography, video and cinema. In the past, aerial photography was reserved for very large TV and film productions (plane or helicopter) but thanks to the drone, it has become very accessible. Moreover, drones can also replace certain machinery such as travelling rails or cranes. Aerial video shots are ideal for contextualising a story and enhancing the value of a building or a landscape.
What happens if the weather conditions are not optimal on the day of the shooting?
Remote pilots are responsible for monitoring the weather forecast before the day of filming. If the day before the shooting forecasts are not favourable for flying and/or for taking photographs with a drone, the remote pilot will warn you and the shooting will be postponed to a later date at no extra cost; it’s part of the job.
What’s the height limit for filming?
The maximum legal height above ground level (not the same as altitude) for professional remote pilots is 120m. However, this height may be restricted in areas close to airports, aerodromes, military flights, etc., where recreational flights are completely forbidden.
Are remote pilots in charge of all the necessary authorisation requests for filming?
Yes, that’s part of their job. Using the services of a professional pilot guarantees that the flight will be performed in accordance with civil aviation regulation, assuring people’s safety as well as protecting buildings and objects, and that the conditions will be ideal for shooting.
Is it possible to film inside a closed location?
It is possible, but the more limited the space, the less possible it will be to fly the drone. Remote piloting indoors is particularly tricky and can be done with a smaller, more manageable drone such as the Anafi or Mavic mini.
Can I fly over land that I do not own or control?
Yes, as long as the land in the flight zone has been declared to the prefecture, there are no other flights taking place over it, and the shots do not target the land. However, it’s very intrusive to fly over inhabited areas, which is totally understandable. If remote pilots have no other choice than to fly over this area to carry out their mission, they will first need to ask for permission to the land owners.
Do weather conditions have to be perfect?
It all depends on the desired result. It is possible to fly if there are no strong winds, rain or fog. However, if the shot is to be taken with a deep blue sky, you will need to wait for the weather to improve in order to fly.
Is there a deadline for filing the flight?
The minimum time limit for declaring the flight to the competent authorities and obtaining a special authorisation is 5 working days before the day of the flight. However, exceptions can be made on uninhabited areas with no special constraints, or on your own land for flights up to 50 metres high.
How do you deliver the video? Drive, transfer, USB key?
Drone video renderings are delivered by professional internet transfer.