Aerial Filming

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Helicopter filming over Tower Bridge London Arena Aviation

The following guide to aerial filming has been compiled with help and advice from the Civil Aviation Authority, the Royal Air Force and Duncan Colgate of Castle Air

For the purposes of this guide, we have assumed that all aircraft are operated under UK regulations as implemented by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Aerial filming is a specialist area and the best results will be obtained by using the right crew and pilots. Often specialist aerial camera operators team up with filming pilots and this can be a very effective combination. Aircraft and camera mounts are expensive to hire and there can be no doubt that experienced operators and pilots will ultimately save you money simply because they will understand what you wish to achieve, how it can be done and will do it in fewer takes than a less experienced crew. 

Cheapest is not always best value

For example, a twin engined helicopter can cost between £900 and £1200 per hour depending on the make and model. The more expensive helicopter may well be able to fly faster, carry a heavier payload and more fuel so utimately you will spend fewer hours in the air and the overall cost may be less than using an aircraft model which costs less per hour.

Good planning is the key to a successful aerial shoot

The first thing you will need to consider is whether your flight is classed as Public Transport or Aerial Work

Spend as much time as you can on preparing a clear brief with diagrams if necessary of what you want to achieve. Talk in detail with the pilot before leaving the ground. Once you are airborne, communication is much harder and trying to discuss your ideas in the air will waste valuable filming time.

Remember, there are strict limits on how low or close you can fly.