What I really think about drones at weddings …

Thinking about hiring a drone for your wedding? Then, work out if you really need one and then decide the best way to have one…

So what do you think about wedding drones? Recent stories in the press have given these flying filming machines a bad name. Near misses with airplanes, amateurs filming in inappropriate places and there was even the wedding where the groom’s drone hit guests in the face.

But used in the right way, by professionals, and drones do have value.

Story Of Your Day // Aerial Footage

As you can see from this film, aerial footage can add an extra dimension to your day.

Some videography companies offer this as part of their service so you don’t have to give it another thought. Some offer this as an add-on and others, like Story Of Your Day, can provide a drone operator for your day in association with an expert company specialising in aerial filming.

During the editing process, it’s then my skill as the creative director to use that aerial footage in a way that adds to your film and doesn’t take away from your wedding. After all, who wants a wedding film that looks more like a corporate film for the venue? Which is a BIG risk when aerials are involved.

So, here’s a film from a wedding at Alnwick Castle AKA Harry Potter’s ‘Hogwarts’, which shows that aerial footage should always be used sympathetically and subtly in your story …

Anna and Adam // Story Of Your Day.

But even when worked in creatively, there are some weddings where aerial drone footage perhaps isn’t needed. You might be celebrating your day mostly inside your venue or you may not feel your venue is ‘spectacular enough’ from the outside for drone footage and that’s fine – your wedding story isn’t about the venue or the surroundings, so who cares anyway?

There is also that temptation to fall into the trap of having it just because you can. This applies to couples who want to keep up with ‘trends’ (which come and go BTW) and also videographers who splash aerial footage willy-nilly all over their films because they have it.

At Story Of Your Day, the request for ‘a drone’ is actually not that frequent, but I still want to explain why we operate the way we do and perhaps give you some food for thought about the use of a drone for your wedding.

We pride ourselves on intimate storytelling. My skill as your wedding videographer is to capture those moments from a wedding day that truly tell your story. I cannot do that from the air. I don’t have time to put my camera down and set up for aerial footage, which if done well, takes time and planning. If I did, I could miss some valuable memories only caught on camera in that moment, close-up and personal.

Everyone has their own style, and it’s not my place to say what is right or wrong, but for me personally, a wedding film that looks more like a venue’s corporate film just won’t be so special in years to come when you want to look back to your day and remember those fantastic moments down on the ground.

So, I use a professional team of drone operators. Trusted companies that I know can not only give me beautiful aerial footage to add another dimension to your film but are also qualified, insured, licensed and experienced. Worth every penny of additional investment.

But what exactly are you paying extra for? Well, apart from the fact that it allows me to concentrate on telling your story, for which you have paid a lot of money for me to do the job I am skilled and experienced at, these guys are specialists in their field too.

People buy drones and think they can do whatever they want. The other week I saw a wedding guest setting up to fly his drone in the pitch of darkness. Professional drone operators have to jump hoops to get permission to fly at night… because it’s dangerous!

Professionals know all the rules and regulations of drone flying. And, they have a qualification from the Civil Aviation Authority in the case of UK weddings and the same applicable qualifications abroad for those operating outside the UK.

Some countries have clamped down more than others … did you know that in Spain if you don’t have the right licence and permission to fly and you get caught without these…. there’s a fine of up to 400,000 Euros? Listen up wedding guest thinking of taking along their drone for a bit of fun!

“Using an CAA-licensed drone operator gives you comfort in that they have undergone the required training and satisfied the CAA that they are not only competent fly operate a drone but are also aware of the legislation and risks involved. CAA licensed operators must also have a minimum of £2m public liability insurance. Licensed operators also unusually have the correct skills for capturing the right shot and normally carry back up equipment.

There is usually a height restriction of 122m (400ft) to fly a drone and it cannot be flown more than 500m, or out of vision, of the operator. The CAA have however licensed a small number of operators to operate outside the normal boundaries.

Anyone hiring a drone operator must ask to see both their CAA PfCO (permission for commercial operation) and the public liability schedule.”

Michael Kheng at Kurnia Aerial Photography

But, also, professional drone operators do this job all the time. This means, just like a professional wedding videographer can get much better footage than your mate with an iPhone or Handycam for your wedding film, then the professionals know how to set up, frame and capture the best footage that I can then place into your film.

“What’s the actual benefit to you of hiring a professional, qualified pilot? Well firstly, the quality of your aerial work will be significantly better. Most drone operators who are not qualified invest little time on their camera and photography skills or only fly their drone occasionally. You can’t have one or the other, you need a mix of both competent, safe piloting and excellent camera work to achieve professional results.

Secondly, the safety of you and your guests will be maximised. Legal and safe pilots will never take your safety for granted and understand the best way to mitigate risks to you and your guests.

Finally, professional pilots understand that drones can be a distraction on the day of a wedding and will work closely to ensure that their presence on the day is minimised whilst at the same time enhancing the level of footage or still images being captured of your big day.”

Alex Cameron at Echo Alpha

Here’s another more recent wedding I filmed at Newby Hall, where aerial footage most definitely added to the film, but their story is still primarily told by me, a storyteller on the ground.

Daniella + Ben // Sooner or Later from Story of Your Day.

As Daniella and Ben explain: “Our venue was pretty spectacular so we also had a drone on the day. Those shots, along with the rest of the film, really told our story.”

If you have any further questions or want to have a chat with me about telling your story (with or without aerial footage) just make an appointment for a free, no-obligation chat or fill in the form below.

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