questions to ask yourself before hiring an aerial drone operator

questions to ask yourself before hiring an aerial drone operator


If you’re looking to hire an aerial drone video operator in Chicago, it’s important to ask several questions before signing a contract.

Are you FAA certified?
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is the governing body that controls our nation’s airspace and what happens in it. Luckily, we have that framework so that pilots flying around the United States have a uniform methodology of flying safely around our nation and won’t have to familiarize themselves with a patchwork of local ordinances and laws.

Under the FAA’s Part 107 regulations, it requires anyone flying a drone for commercial purposes to pass an Airman Knowledge Test (AKT) and fly under a strict set of guidelines. As of September 2016, anyone who wants to operate a sUAS for commercial purposes in the United States must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. Delack Media Group has a full-time employee with Remote Pilot Certification.

Do I need aerial video shot on a certain date/time?
When it comes to flying a sUAS (Small Unmanned Aerial System) or “drone” as they’re so commonly now called, weather is a huge factor. Weather can change in the blink of an eye. Generally, outdoor weather conditions that are calm present a more advantageous atmosphere for flying an aerial drone in Chicago and around the United States. Being flexible with your filming dates will help. Also, under Part 107 guidelines, Remote Pilots are required to receive prior authorization for entering controlled airspace. The location you need filmed from the air may be in controlled airspace. A Certificate of Waiver (COW) can take 30-90 days. So, be sure to plan your shoot accordingly. Time of day is also a consideration. If, for example, you need a building filmed and that building is facing East, do you want the sun to be behind the building or in front of it?

What aerial shots do I want?
As with hiring any service provider, it’s always a good rule of thumb to clearly communicate what expectations you have before that service begins. The same holds true for hiring an aerial drone video operator in Chicago (or any part of the United States for that matter). Be sure to put in writing what shots you need. Things to consider include: altitude, flying front to back or side to side, duration of shot, frames per second, resolution (do you need it in 4K? Do you want live streaming to Facebook or another platform? Do you need 360 degree video?), file format (MP4, MOV, etc.), and delivery method (via hard drive, online digital delivery). Once the drone has finished its flight, it becomes quite a task to have to re-shoot scenes. So, be sure to communicate your expectations clearly before the aerial video shoot.

Who owns the copyright to the video footage taken by a drone?
The United States Patent and Copyright Office has long held that whomever is the photographer, they are they ones who hold the copyright to the image taken. From there, the photographer can license the photograph or video footage taken. It’s important to understand the terms behind the licenses. Things to consider:
Duration (for a period of time or in perpetuity)
Length (how much footage is included)
What purposes (broadcast vs internet vs in-person marketing)

Be sure the aerial drone video operator that you hire has insurance. It not only shows they are running a professional operation but it might also help protect you from any potential liability.