Plan your drone video brief before flight

A video production brief for aerial filming is essential. Whether you are looking to hire a drone company for the first time or have an existing relationship, listing out a desired set of guidelines should be the first thing your brand or business does before green lighting a production. The process of writing a video production brief does not have to be time consuming. Ultimately, it will add focus to the overall vision of the project.

As a starting point your aerial drone production brief should consider the following items:

1. Type of Video
  • What type of aerial filming project work is your brand or business interested in? Is your company interested in film promotional work or aerial survey work? Many businesses do not realise that drone companies specialise in areas outside of promotional film. This work includes map surveys, inspections and 3D modelling services. It’s worth checking to make sure the drone operator can deliver your requirements.
2. Background on project
  • If your brand or business looking to capture footage that will compliment an existing project? Sharing any information will assist any potential drone supplier. The more a drone company can understand about your exiting needs the better. Background information could include web posts, and existing footage from video links.
3. Desired set of aerial shots of footage
  • What types of aerial footage are you looking for? Every country has different laws so its important to understand what’s possible.  For example, UK drone operators are not allowed to film people within 50m unless the drone operator has their consent. There are also limits as to how close a drone can legally fly to open crowds and buildings. A legal operator of a drone company should be able to identify any problems in advance.
4. Location
  • Sharing the film location with a drone company is incredibly important. The drone company can then advise whether it’s possible to film over the desired location. Some countries have imposed different rules depending on the size of a drone and restrictions on where it can fly. For example, in the UK, a drone over 7KG must alert air traffic control (ATC) of any planned flights in restricted airspace. Identifying problems in advance can prevent a lot of headache on the day of a problematic aerial film shoot.
5. Budget
  • How much money is your business or brand prepared to spend on its production? Being up front about your project budget will save everyone time. If weather disrupts filming on the day, you may wish discuss a drone company’s policy on rebooked filming.
6. Your Project Deadline

A targeted deadline should always be specified in your project production brief and should include the following:

  • Pre-production – The pre-production phase of a project is where all the planning takes place before flight. This is where a list of desired shots should be worked out.
  • Production – Production begins once a drone takes flight. A drone company should be honest about flight times in advance. Unlike a film crew filming on the ground, drones run off of batteries and can’t say in the air endlessly. This is why agreeing shots under point 3 is so crucial. Therefore, its important to understand whether the drone company is charging by the day or not.


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