Aerial Videography

But It Was Cheap

The world that we live in has been dramatically changed by technology over the last few decades, and its made who we are as people very driven by the visual. Our eyes are constantly inundated by videos, photos, and virtual reality. These all play into and further our need for a visual experience.

So here is the question: Are you providing a visual experience for the customers, or the people who you want to get your business in front of? 

Most companies can say yes to that I am sure. But what sets your visual imagery and video apart from the crowd? 

There is a big problem - people are being bombarded by visual experience, so it takes something that is truly unique to set you apart from the rest - you need to showcase your business in the best possible light. You need high quality. To do that you have to be willing to pay just a more. Sure you can pay less and settle for something with low standards, but that’s not going to help set you apart in the digital age. 

Lets look at an example of this from a commercial real estate perspective. Jim is looking for an office for his business to move to. The first place he goes is the internet to start searching for properties. There are hundreds of properties available and he starts out by narrowing to the areas he wants to be in, then using the pictures online to determine which sites he wants to visit in person, and which ones he will ignore. If they pictures you are providing are not showing your properties in a good light Jim will just move right along to the next one. While you will never close a deal solely on the photography you present, you can lose a deal based on the photography. 

In the end are you really paying less? We are here to provided that quality photography and video - Just check out our portfolio

How We Fly Legally

Looking for aerial photos or video in Milwaukee? 

One of the things that sets MKE Drones apart from the competition is a commitment to flying legally. In today's evolving drone industry that can change quickly as well as be very complex. Staying on top of changes and understanding the laws is crucial to what we do. So what does it mean to "fly legally"? All of this will be in reference to flying commercial - flying for profit, or to benefit your business. Basically if it has a logo on it, was done for money, or will be used for marketing then it can be considered commercial.

Probably first and foremost is only using remote pilots with a Part 107 UAS certification. This certification is obtained through taking a test administered by the FAA at a special testing center. The test is not easy and requires knowledge of weather, aviation charts, radio communication, decision making, and about a dozen other areas. Then each pilot is vetted by the TSA to make sure that there are no concerns from a national safety perspective before being sent their certification. Every remote pilot at MKE Drones is certified, or has a certified pilot next to them and able to override and take control. 

Once the FAA gives out a pilot certification,  regulations must be followed to "fly legally". These regulations are all detailed in the Part 107 rules released August 29, 2016. One of the biggest rules is gaining authorization to fly in controlled airspace. All of the US is broken down into various classes of airspace, and you need to know which one - any airspace that is controlled by a tower requires prior authorization for flight which must be obtained from the FAA. 

Once permission is obtained, there are still regulations that apply to how you can fly the drone.  Here is a list of a few basic regulations that must be followed to make sure the FAA won't be looking to hand out a fine:

  • The pilot must maintain visual line of sight with the aircraft - without using things like binoculars. First person view on a camera screen does not qualify
  • Flights must occur between civil sunrise and civil twilight. 
  • Yield to all other aircraft
  • Maximum height of 400' above ground level (unless restricted by your airspace authorization)
  • No operation from a moving vehicle (unless in sparsely populated areas)
  • No flying over people unless they are direct members of the flight crew (like the pilot, or an assigned observer aiding the pilot). 
  • Pre-flight inspection must be done by the remote pilot

There is one consistent theme to these rules of safety. The FAA is trying to take a well structured system for manned aircraft, and incorporate small easily purchased drones into the national airspace as safely as possible. It took a while for the US to get these regulations - other countries have had them for years - but they did have a difficult task. Most of the industry is happy with the new rules as it opened up for people to fly drones and make money without a crazy level of red tape and ambiguous rules, which was the case before Part 107. 

MKE Drones flies legally. Its not as difficult as it was, but it still takes a tremendous amount of knowledge before you even learn to manipulate the sticks on the controller. Then on top of that it takes practice to get smooth footage and learn to get the right framing for photos. Does to company you have been looking at using follow the regulations? Does their work look good or just ok? Check our Portfolio and see our quality.

Illegal Local Drone Laws

Many cities across the US are trying to put into place laws regarding flying drones or UAS (unmanned aerial systems). Some of these include requiring a "license" to fly inside city limits, no-fly zones in parks, or limiting drones to only being able to fly in certain areas. But what do the laws say about this?

Legally, the FAA is the only agency that can control the airspace - which technically is all the open air inside the bounds of the US. There is no limit on height. If you are outdoors, once your one inch off the ground and controlling and aircraft, you are in airspace that is FAA controlled. So how does this apply to cities that are setting laws into place? A city can only control where someone takes off and lands from - they cannot control the the airspace once an operator is flying. So let say a city has a law saying no drones are allowed in the city limits. If I as a drone operator take off and land from outside the city boundaries - and I am not breaking any FAA laws - then I am flying 100% legally. The best example of this is the US National Parks. It is illegal to takeoff and land inside of National Parks without a permit (which has never been granted to anyone to date), but if you take off and land from outside the park you can fly over and through the park and you are well within legal bounds. A great case of a mis-placed law can be seen in this article where a law that ended up being removed from the books in Palm Beach, FL. 

Many people claim that the FAA does not control airspace below 500' based on the legal case United States v. Causby from 1946. There are a few problems with the idea of the FAA not controlling all national airspace regardless of height. First, that legal decision is now 70 years old and technology and airspace have changed significantly since then. How can a decision from that long ago accurately reflect where we are at with airspace today? Second, the FAA very clearly has stated that it controls all airspace and has the only authority to do so in the link here which was also mentioned earlier. Last, congress has very clearly tasked the FAA with setting up regulations for drones and integrating them into the national airspace. But drones can only legally fly below 400' - so clearly if the FAA is being directed to regulate drones in the airspace of 0-400' then that airspace is under FAA direction and control. 

One of the most significant concerns people have with drone flights is privacy, but the majority of drones are very noisy when close enough to the ground to get any kind of detailed photos or footage. This is slowly changing with the implementation of zooming cameras, but most states have a some type of privacy law in place in regards to photography. As well, if you are banning drones for privacy concerns, are you also going to ban regular telephoto lenses? A lot of times a ground camera can get a more privacy-violating photo than a drone can. 

Aside from the legal aspect, cities need to be careful about trying to over-regulate drone use. There are really 3 types of drone operators in the world: people who fly 100% legally, people who don't care about any laws, and people who are uninformed. By creating laws restricting drone use all you have done is stifle and barrier those who are trying to fly legally. Operators who don't care about laws will fly regardless, and uninformed operators will continue to fly since they are not aware of a law - but will be moved into the legal/illegal operator mentality once they are informed. You are only hindering people trying to fly legally. 

If you are a city considering a drone law, please consider the above information before making a rash decision. Don't stifle innovation. The FAA also has provided an advisory for municipalities at this link that gives guidance on how what regulations are allowable without consultation from the FAA.

Post written by Jon Elliott, Owner MKE Drones, LLC