From sweeping aerial shots of bustling cityscapes to unique perspectives that showcase your company’s brand identity, drone footage has become an indispensable tool for capturing attention in corporate videos. Capturing those beautiful bird’s-eye views involves a lot more than just firing up the propellers and flying around pointing the camera at things, to be sure. And when you pay for drone services from a production company like Pixl Production, what are we actually charging for? Let’s explore all that goes into capturing top-notch cinematic drone footage…
State-of-the-Art Equipment and Technology
We’ll start with the drone itself. Drones are cutting-edge crafts packed with the latest technology, and these marvels of modern engineering come at a price. High-resolution cameras, advanced stabilization systems, collision avoidance systems, long-life batteries, and other specialized features all contribute to the ability to capture stunning shots that wow your audience. The cost of drone services reflects an investment in not just acquiring top-tier equipment, but also maintaining it, ensuring exceptional visual quality as well as safety.
Skilled Piloting and Cinematic Expertise
Capturing beautiful cinematic drone footage requires more than toggling joysticks and pushing buttons. It takes real talent and finesse. While flying a drone is relatively easy, professional drone pilots have mastered their craft through hours of practice. We maneuver safely through the skies with an artistic eye and a thorough understanding of composition, lighting, movement, as well as laws, which leads us to…
Certifications and Legal Compliance
Unlike operating cameras at ground level, operating drones commercially requires compliance with regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including obtaining the necessary certifications, namely the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Remote Pilot certificate. In fact, flying a drone for ANY REASON other than as a hobby (i.e., just for fun) without a current Part 107 license is illegal. The process of obtaining a Part 107 license (and renewing it every 2 years) involves rigorous training, exams and related fees, and adherence to safety standards.
For example, certified drone pilots know they can’t fly more than 400 feet above ground level except in certain circumstances. We know the rules about flying over people and from moving vehicles, and we know we’re not allowed to fly beyond visual line of sight, or BVLOS, as well as many other regulations. We must secure authorization for specific locations and occasionally request operational waivers (such as flying at night or over highways). The time, effort, knowledge, and ongoing compliance required to ensure legal and safe operations all contribute to the overall cost of the service.
Comprehensive Pre-Flight Preparation and Liability Coverage
Before drones take flight, extensive pre-flight preparation is essential. Diligent professionals conduct site surveys, assess potential risks, and develop flight plans. We consider factors like weather conditions, airspace restrictions (generally within 5-mile radius of an airport), and safety protocols (such as employing a V.O., or Visual Observer, to help spot potential hazards while the drone is in the air). We often need to request official authorization to fly in certain locations and altitudes, sometimes weeks in advance.
Liability insurance is also needed when flying for commercial purposes such as corporate video shoots. Professional drone pilots take every precaution to avoid accidents, but sometimes accidents do happen, and neither the pilot, production company nor client who hires them wants to be financially responsible for any damages. All this meticulous preparation is included in the cost. It ensures a smooth operation, minimizes risks, and helps protect the equipment, people, and businesses involved. And that’s all in addition to making sure our controller and batteries are charged, keeping our drone’s firmware updated, and ensuring our media cards have plenty of space to record all that fantastic flying footage.
Post-Production and Editing Expertise
The job doesn’t end when the drone lands. Skilled professionals invest significant time and expertise in post-production and editing. This includes tasks like color grading, adding music, and refining the footage to create a polished final product. Their expertise enhances visual appeal, storytelling, and overall quality of the footage, elevating it from good to great.
So the price tag associated with professional drone services represents the company’s investment in owning and maintaining state-of-the-art equipment, knowing and adhering to regulations, maintaining certification with the FAA, meticulous pre-flight preparation (including purchasing insurance), and expertise in piloting. But what matters most is capturing cinematic footage to help tell your company’s story and get a return on that investment. Contact us to book our professional drone services package for your next video today.