Drone Filming and Photography Services. Salisbury and UK

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Drone Pilot In My Area?

Are you looking for a drone pilot for professional aerial drone filming and photography?

Based in Salisbury, Wiltshire. We are CAA Qualified and insured drone operators. Pilots are available for a wide range of drone filming and photography services across the UK. Over 8 years of commercial drone filming experience. If you are looking for a Drone Pilot in my area, we can certainly help you!

Richard at Lightning Strike is one of the best. If you are looking for a drone pilot and some incredible footage then look no further. He is our go-to for all drone event recording.

Drone Rates start at £400/day

Drone Media Services

  1. Film and TV media production. Professional Drone Filming with our broadcast ready drones. We deliver world class content up to 5.4K resolution. Previous clients have included National Geographic and Animal Planet. 
  2. Drone Photography Services. Aerial stills of property or events
  3. Drone mapping of properties. Useful for border disputes, boundary marking, advanced planning, taxation claims or your office artwork.
  4. Professional Drone pilot for Cities and congested areas. We have small sub 250 gram drones that enable us to fly in situations that larger drones cannot.They still have incredible 4K cameras delivering incredible results. 
  5. Drone Survey Multiple opportunities and subjects can be surveyed using a drone. Traffic surveys, car park surveys, coastal erosion surveys, wildlife surveys, the list is long. Whenever you need a birds eye view of a changing situation our drones can deliver high resolution imagery that has little to no impact on the subject being monitored.
  6. Producing 2D geo-referenced maps. 3D digital twins of telecommunication and other infrastructure assets.
  7. Real Estate drone filming and photography.  Sell your property or showcase it for re-evaluation.
  8. Solar installation aerial inspections for households. No need for ladders or cherry pickers we can provide high resolution imagery to allow a quick appraisal of roof based assets.
  9. Virtual Reality fine art ultra high resolution photography.
  10. Insurance claims using drones. Document storm/fire damage. Much cheaper and easier than a cherrypicker. GPS and time/date stamped images. 
  11. Construction site monitoring and assessment. Get the big picture on building projects with an affordable aerial survey. Assess progress over time using a drone that can fly exactly the same location and route time after time.
  12. Read more on our history and the many uses of Drones here
  13. Our Professional Drone Pilots hold both A2 CofC and GVC qualifications.
  14. 3rd Party insurance up to £10M

Drone Operator Day Rate

UK rates for drone operators vary wildly depending on who you talk to, their equipment, qualifications etc. We can offer very competitive day rates for drone operators considering we are CAA certified and insured drone pilots and use some of the latest Drone filming platforms. 

We offer a free quote and assessment for a drone photography or filming job to determine various aspects of the job.

The assessment constitutes the following checks:

  • Airspace survey. Is the area near any restricted areas for flying? 
  • Are we close to roads, buildings, structures that may limit our flying?
  • Location access. Who owns the location and can we get access to it? How close can we get?
  • Numbers of people involved. Are they under our control? How close do you need the drone to get to them?
  • What do you need to film? What type of aerial shots are required?

 There are a huge range of variables at play and this makes giving a definitive drone operator day rate for the UK a challenge. We do however try to create a baseline of £400/day so that our potential customers know that we are not mucking about. This also avoids time wasters who don’t take our skills and services seriously.

Drone Operator Day Rate for UK From £400/day with equipment

TV and Film Drone Operator Credits

  • 2023- Cinderella’s Revenge. Feature Film-UK
  • 2023-The Mystery of Mr E. Feature Film-UK
  • 2022- Channel 4 “Despatches” UK
  • 2022- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution- Palmyra Atoll- Scientific Expedition
  • 2022- “Starting Small” Shark Documentary TV-UK
  • 2022- “PUNCH” Feature Film- UK
  • 2022- “The Ghost Within” -Feature Film -UK
  • 2022- “To What Remains” Cinematic Documentary- U.S-Palau
  • 2021- The Nature Conservancy- Palau FAD and Eco Buoy Documentary- Palau
  • 2020- Planet SOS- AlJazeera TV- Palau
  • 2019- Nazi Megastructures, America’s War. National Geographic- TV Documentary- Palau
  • 2019- Super Reefs- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution- Documentary- Kiribati-Palau
  • 2015- Ocean Warriors- Animal Planet- Documentary Series, Palau
CAA qualified drone pilot badge

world class drone filming services

Extreme wide angle aerial view of Kiritimati Atoll taken by a drone pilot

Filming with Drones in Cities and Congested Areas. Safety First

Flying drones in London and all major cities in the UK can be a challenge due to the many restricted flying zones and congested areas. This is why our professional drone pilots work hard to comply with the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) permissions and exemptions to bring safety to persons and property during all our drone operations. We will do a thorough assessment of every site prior to commencing flight operations. This ensures every flight is as safe as possible. Where necessary we employ crowd control measures to ensure a safe working environment for members of the public and participants.

For absolute peace of mind it is best to contact us in advance so a site assessment can be done ahead of the desired flight date.

Our Drone operations and 3rd parties are covered by insurance compliant with Regulation (EC) 785/2004 up to £10M.

All our operators are DBS checked to ensure your peace of mind.

Not many drone operators want to fly in restricted and congested areas or cities. We have the experience and skills required to do the job.

For congested areas we can utilise a sub 250 gram drone that enables us to fly much closer to buildings and people. 

aerial filming in London. View of westminster area towards London Eye
Drone filming in London is possible with special permissions. Check with us about your project.

Drone Pilot for building site surveys

If you’re a building site developer, construction firm or contractor and need to get the big picture and up to date view on your project consider using a drone. Aerial surveys of sites provide an opportunity for managers and stakeholders to assess progress. It also provides excellent promotional material for websites and presentations.

Drone Jobs UK

Real Estate Drone Photo of Georgia house with land and lake
Real Estate aerial filming. Get a unique aerial perspective on your home or property with our innovative and artistic drone filming and drone photography services.
DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cinematic Drone
Drone filming for TV and Film. Our state of the art Mavic 3 Pro Cine drone provide excellent high resolution 5.1K aerial footage and stills. Using 3 focal length cameras enables incredible range of shots from an aerial perspective in stunning ProRes 422 codec. CAA certified and Insured GVC Drone Pilot.

Drone mapping and Photogrammetry can be used for large properties or assets in remote locations. We can provide aerial filming services for solar farm projects, building site developments etc Digital Twin creation of assets for telecommunication applications.

Drone Pilot In My Area

Take a couple of minutes to experience the incredible natural scenery of some Micronesian islands filmed with exclusive access in Palau. We provide world class aerial filming services to broadcasters and film studios with certified and insured pilots.

Professional Drone filming and Photography in the UK

Aerial photo of white cliffs at Beachy Head, UK

How to make a career as a Drone Pilot

Here is a new blog post for all those aspiring drone pilots out there who want to take the step from being a hobbyist to a working UAV operator, offering professional drone filming and photography in the UK in 2022.

Drone Filming FAQs

We are based in Salisbury in Wiltshire, UK.  The Central South. Perfectly placed for jobs in Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and other locations in the South  of the UK. We are able to fly across the UK according to Civil Aviation Authority Rules and Guidelines.

The best drone is the one you have with you that you can fly safely and legally where you are. 

As of April 2023, with legislation in the UK and other parts of the world clamping down on what can be flown, the best drone for the vast majority of people, will be one that weighs less than 250 grams. 

There are a number of models on the shelves right now but from experience I would have to go with the DJI Mini 3 and it’s successor the Mini 4. They are both sub 250 grams and are by far the least toy like of anything on the market in this category. I consider them to be the best bang for your buck, especially the Mini 3 now the prices are dropping with the new Mini 4 out. 

There are many airspace restrictions concerning where you can fly in the UK and U.S. In general you cant fly close to an airport or airfield.

The fastest way to find out  is to use the app “Altitude Angel” 

Based on the above recommendations:

You can buy a basic drone, controller and battery for under £500, spend a bit more to get the fly more package with extra batteries. Of course if you want a larger more capable drone the prices will be higher.

In the UK, once you get your drone you should register it with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). You pay a small fee and get issued an operator and flyer ID #. You are now set to fly!

There are a few guidelines you must acknowledge when you get your flyer ID. These simple rules will help you fly safely and minimise risk to your drone and other people and property.

Check out this guide on UK drone laws and how to fly legally in the UK.

Remember it is your responsibility as a pilot to be safe and not to risk the safety of other people.

This one totally depends on what you want to film and whether or not you can fly a drone there. Personally, I like coastlines and landscapes. On a sunny day when the water is deep blue or early in the morning when a valley is misty and the shadows are long. It really is down to you as a creative and how you want to use a flying camera.…

The cameras on reasonably priced drones like those mentioned above and larger more capable ones like the DJI Air 3 or DJI Mavic 3 can handle a wide range of lighting conditions from low light to strong sunshine (if you use ND filters). Think about what lighting you want for your footage. Is a landscape better at dawn with long shadows and a golden glow? Does the water have a nicer colour with a polarising filter at midday? Start to think of a drone as a regular video camera and use the same filming and cinematography mindset as you would when filming on the ground. Remember also that landscapes can appear flat when viewed from above and so consider having the sun lower in the sky so that any relief in the land casts a shadow.

Use the 180 rule to ensure your shutter speed is twice that of your frame rate. If shooting at 25fps then set your camera to 1/50 sec. If shooting at 30fps then set it to 1/60. This will allow there to be the right amount of motion blur between frames making the footage look natural. You will find that you need to use ND filters to drop your shutter speed down that low. There are plenty of after market 3rd party options available, consider also getting polarising filters to enhance clouds in the sky and water.

Cinematic drone footage is also about flying smoothly. No jerky movements. Everything must flow. This is down to practice and actually calming your drone. Many models now have a “cine mode” which is a lot slower and smoother. Check out this blog post on the best settings.

After the initial cost of a drone it is really just down to you to fly in areas that offer the best visuals. There is free editing software available so the actual cost is minimal. An editing computer is of course an added expense and so too is travel to a site and time spent producing the video.  Our day rates start at £400 for flying and filming. Contact us for a quote.

If the video is for a commercial purpose it is advised that you have drone specific insurance to cover for any accidents.

Most standard frame rates are good, 23.97, 24, 25, 29.97, 30. Just as long as you observe the 180 rule, you’ll be fine. If you’re filming fast action consider jumping up to 60 or even 120fps if you’re looking for slomo.  When you’re shooting for a feature film the most common is 24fps. For TV in Europe, 25. If in the U.S then 29.97 or 30fps is the standard.

Grainy footage usually comes from the ISO being set too high. Either you are shooting in very low light or you are using an ND filter too strong for the light conditions. Check to see what ISO you are on and what ND filter you’re using.

Smooth drone footage comes from smooth flying. Avoid quick adjustments and jerky moves. Use the “Cine mode” for your drone. Increase gimbal smoothness in the settings on the app for your drone. Read this article for more information.

A good quality drone as advocated above will come with a good quality gimbal mounted camera. This is the real revolution in drones. 3 axes of stabilisation ensure the camera remains level as the drone moves. Should you find the horizon is not level, land the drone and recalibrate the gimbal on a level surface through the app. If you are experiencing shaky footage check your props. If one is damaged it should be replaced immediately as it is probably causing vibrations due to not being balanced and also it may break and the drone will most likely crash.

If the video feed to your controller is choppy it is quite likely due to transmission challenges. This is often caused by interference from trees of buildings. A drone should always be flown within visual line of sight so ensure you can see your drone and the issue should stop. If it continues, it might be the processor in the phone, tablet or device that is struggling to run too many apps simultaneously. Try running just the flight app.

If the footage is choppy on playback then you have an issue with the memory card. It is probably not fast enough to write the footage being produced by the camera. A memory card with a V30 rating is about the minimum required.

In 2022, you do not need a specific license in the UK to sell drone footage. You however still need to register yourself and your drone with the Civil Aviation Authority. If you are flying a drone for commercial purposes then you do need drone specific insurance compliant with Regulation (EC) 785/2004.

I have found the best free software to be either the standard iMovie available on all Macs or the Davinci Resolve free version that is available for both Windows and Mac. iMovie is far simpler and intuitive for beginners. Davinci offers a far higher level of professionalism and if you choose to learn it, it will give you great insight into the world of Non Linear Editing (NLE).

You can download the latest free version of Davinci Resolve here.

Much the same way as you would edit footage from any camera. If you are interested in Premiere Pro specifically there are a multitude of tutorial videos on YouTube on the subject.

The only way to edit drone footage is to use the most interesting parts of your footage and don’t let each clip go on for too long. Edit your clips to maintain your audiences interest. Don’t use a clip just because you struggled to fly that day and it holds more of an emotional attachment. Use clips that are good because they look good and are interesting.

Don’t send your audience to sleep, unless of course that’s your aim.

Read this blog post on ways to edit Drone footage

The Mini 2 and 3 and most other consumer drones can be set up to record an automated already graded footage and this looks pretty decent straight off the card. However if your drone is recording with a LOG curve you need to grade it to bring out the best in it. Ensure the White Balance is set for the conditions. 

Generally, increase the contrast and saturation and lower the blacks. A general rule of thumb is to grade it, then leave it for 5 minutes. Come back and look at it again. If on first look it doesn’t look right then adjust and repeat. Our eyes can trick us so returning to footage and giving it fresh appraisal is a good way to avoid being too close to see it for what it is. See this guide on editing drone footage

Use the LUTS that are included in the editing software that are specific to your camera. See this article here for more information on using LUTS for editing drone footage

I find my music from a variety of sources. If you are editing for personal use without any distribution, find whatever music you have in your collection you like. If however you want to upload the edit to YouTube or use it commercially then you need a royalty free music source.

recently I started using artist.io for ease of use music tracks. It’s a subscription service so my advice would be to pay for a month, then download as many as you can in that month and stockpile them for future use. They have specific categories that fit with specific moods including one for Drones.

Yes, but you will need to get permission from whichever city council area you fly in and also apply for an exemption from normal activity  for the time you want to fly. 

A drone pilot is responsible for the aircraft, space to be flown in and to a degree people and property on the ground being flown over. It is up to the pilot to plan the UAV flight, assess the risk of each drone operation and to determine whether or not to fly in that location or to perform that job. If the risk is manageable and the flight can go ahead, the pilot must then fly according to the plan to minimise risk. 

Of course the pilot should be in control of the UAV aircraft and execute manoeuvres according to the scope of the flight whether it is aerial filming or aerial mapping with photogrammetry to construct a digital twin or orthomosaic of assets or property.

Then of course the pilot must land the aircraft safely.

There is more to the drone pilot’s job than just flying.

There are a large number of advantages. 1. Budget, they are much cheaper than a Helicopter. 2. Stabilisation, Cameras are mounted on gimbals for very smooth filming. 3. Less intrusive than a Helicopter, quieter etc 4. Portable. 5, Quick to set up for a spontaneous shot. 6. High quality cameras. 7. GPS and positioning data allows precise location of each photo for ultra precise maps and digital twin production.

See this article for more benefits and uses of drones.