Aerovideo workshop at BFM

Happened yesterday aerial video workshop at the Baltic Film and Media School, in what Skycam.ee the characters talked and showed how aerial filming is technically done. Below is a brief summary of the event.

Skycam

The BFM cinema hall was filled mainly with students, but there were also other figures interested in the topic. It was explained and demonstrated technically how drones, which aerial photographers call multicopters (drone is more of a military term), work and what kind of shots can be taken from the air.

MultikopterThe most stable multicopters have at least 6 propellers/motors, because if one of them does not work, the stability is not easily lost and the machine does not fall down. The brain of the multicopter can adjust the speed of the propellers according to the wind, direction and given instructions, which means that there may be situations where some propellers work very slowly or not at all.

In image stabilization there has been a big turn over the years, while changing the camera angle has room for improvement. If the operator turns the camera angle, the "jerks" stay inside.

When taking good aerial shots, it is worth leaving some natural element (like a tree) between the camera and the object being filmed. In the best shots, you can count the leaves of the tree.

All the multicopters will crash. The question is not if, but when. There are still few people in Estonia who do aerial video as their main job and can send a replacement helicopter into the air in case of an accident.

Skycam does not fly over people. However, some have done it with cheaper and lighter helicopters like Phantom and others. It's probably not far off when someone gets hurt because of this at some event.

When using a multicopter, you must be aware of the regulations in force in the country of the regulations. In Estonia, a more precise regulation is still being developed, but in larger cities, you must apply for permission from the Civil Aviation Authority 7-10 days in advance and inform about every take-off and landing in the evening. In rural areas and other uncontrolled airspace, drones can be flown up to 150 meters without approval.

In Sweden, for example, you can film and use it for personal purposes. However, before using the video publicly, you need to get approval from the respective air force agency. In Norway, you must have a helicopter license for commercial aerial video.

What costs?

Cheaper solutions in Estonia start at 150-250 EUR for a few-hour event, the price of a Skycam half-day on a helicopter controlled by 2 men (driver + camera operator) starts at 500 EUR, a full day from 800. Estonian top performers (Helicam), who has also gained recognition in the world, fees start from 3000-5000 euros.

Multicopters a'la Phantom start at 1,000 euros, more expensive professional solutions with 6 propellers from a few thousand to tens of thousands. The more expensive the machine, the better the picture, but the more expensive the price and the more miserable the operator should it crash.

Summary

Taking aerial shots are nothing new, but in recent years they have become affordable for many. More multicopter service providers have appeared in Estonia this year than players in several other fields. However, for few it is the main job.

Everything that takes off from the Estonian surface will come down sooner or later. For drones, within 15-20 minutes. It's good if the helicopter has a GPS solution for this, with an emergency version for landing back in the same place. However, there are cases where expensive helicopters land in water or disappear from the driver's line of sight. Therefore, the primary task of the helicopter operator is to review the backup landing plan.

Aerial shots remain an important part of the video world, because they provide good and comprehensive additional shots. In general, however, they are integrated into a longer video, because only footage from above does not tell the whole story.

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