5 reasons why a drone is better than a helicopter


What are the reasons which make a drone better than a real helicopter?

A lot of times people tell us, well it doesn’t fly as long or as high as a real helicopter. Sure drones have limitations and we don’t hide them.

You can find out more about the technical specs of our drones but there are also very good reasons why drones are used in almost every production, from small corporate videos to large-scale Hollywood blockbusters.

These are the top 5 reasons why producers love using drones.

1. Drones are cheaper than a real helicopter

Every producer has a budget. So when you can’t or don’t want to spend all your production budget on a heli shoot, you can bring in a drone crew. A few hours of helicopter shoot will set you back around AED80,00, once you include the camera rental, the cineflex camera stabilizer rental and the time of the operator.

This of course can go up dramatically with the cost of permits, insurance fees and other.

With a drone you can get up to 1hr of footage for as little as AED 5,000.

Price matters and this is probably the first reason producers use drones.

2. Drones can fly where others can not

We had a shoot which required aerial shots but the area surrounded by a no-fly zone because of VVIP palaces.

The DJI S800 came in very handy, it allowed us to film action scenes without having to fly over the no-fly zone. Since it’s brought in through the road, the drone doesn’t have to worry about no-fly zones.

We set it up, and fly in a small area where flight is allowed. Then land it, pack it up and drive out without having to worry about no fly-zones.

Please keep in mind that although there was a  no fly zone, we still got the necessary permits to fly in the small area where flying was allowed.

3. Faster and better control of the shot

Thanks to our live-feed, the director can follow exactly what the drone is filming from our monitor. This means that if he doesn’t like what he sees he can quickly setup to re-shoot.

In a real helicopter the turn-around time is much longer.

Within a few minutes we can land the drone, reset a camera setting or brief a talent for a new scene and we are back in the air.

With this method we can actually shoot 4 to 6 scenes in the space of an hour.

4. Drones get you closer

Due to safety rules, a real helicopter can not get too close to a car, a building or a crowd.

With drones these restrictions are lifted and we can fly within a few meters of a building (if not inside the building!), or a vehicle.

This means you get closer to the action like never before.

5. The risk factor is lower

Since safety is our number one priority we always do a full risk assessment before flying.

Looking at the basic risk assesment diagram below, as a drone operator we almost always live in the green area (low risk, low frequency).

This means that if something catastrophic happens (such as total engine failure) the risk of causing damage is low. On top of this, the frequency of such an event occurring is also low.

On the other side, a helicopter that suffers engine failure near a building or a vehicle will cause massive damage and/or casualties. Of course the frequency of such an event is also low.

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