Drones for property marketing have become a mainstay of Helmores business – here’s everything you need to about it!
It’s a funny thing but the laws of perspective make properties look fantastic from above and for us, selling smart detached, countryside properties as we often do, we use one of our fleet of drones. Of course this has its obvious advantages as potential buyers can see:
- The property as a whole
- A property’s true size and dimensions
- The layout of the gardens and grounds
- The spectacular Devon countryside surrounding
Until recently this meant us hiring a specialist photography with an extremely long pole to get a good birds-eye view photo, but now our fleet of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as they are officially known, has made this much easier.
GOOD NEWS… AND LESS GOOD
Drones for property marketing are expensive to buy and complicated to operate – serious drones for commercial work cost upward of £10,000 and the more sophisticated ones can now carry digital SLR cameras to shoot both RAW pictures and video footage.
Cowboys in the industry mean that the CAA takes illegally operated drones very seriously. In April this year the first suspected collision between a drone and an airliner took place on the approaches to Heathrow airport, preceded by six recent near misses.
THE DRONE AGENT
So what’s it like to get the qualifications and become a ‘drone estate agent’? Our very own Rob Stoyle, from Crediton started his path to drones in his teens when he began building and flying model aircraft and eventually helicopters.
“A few year ago we toyed with the idea of fixing a camera to a model helicopter but the technology just wasn’t good enough at that time to make it a viable proposition, so it never happened. Then, five years ago drones came on the scene and it got my brain ticking again. So I decided to get one just to see what I could do it with – with a GoPro camera on it – to do videos of properties.”
That was back in 2013, and now we’ve got a whole fleet of drones. Our newest drone is a DJI Inspire 2 – one of the latest drones to hit the market in 2017 and is packed with the most incredible technology. The largest drone is our DJI S900 (£10,000 with all the kit) which is a 6 bladed hexacopter that can lift a large digital SLR camera. We also have 2 Phantom 4 Pro’s and which pack an amazing punch for their small size.”
Rob says drone photography is not suitable for every property. The strict rules mean you can’t fly a drone near a public road or other houses without additional permissions so really, he says, you can only fly them around in more open house locations such as detached houses without close neighbours.
“Drones work best for big new-build developments, country houses, coastal properties on cliffs – anything that’s got space around it,” says Rob.
Rob completed his drone pilot’s training three years ago and has permission for the CAA and insurance for up to £5m.
“The training is pretty chunky – you learn a heck of a lot of general aviation rules because you can do a lot of damage with one of these things if you’re flying where you shouldn’t be,” he says.
“You have to learn to read air maps and be aware of airfields or airports nearby and do a safety report each time the drone goes up near one. It’s pretty stringent – you can’t just rock up with your drone and fly.
“It was easier for me because I’d flown model aeroplanes and helicopters before but anyone who hasn’t will find themselves disorientated very quickly! Most have gyro stabilisers now with GPS, so if you just let go of the joysticks it should just stop and hover on the spot.
“It does take flying skill, and a good knowledge of photography is essential: framing the shot, ISO, shutter speeds, aperture are all key to a successful shot”
THE DRONE CODE
Until their recent boom in popularity, drones were lumped in with ‘small unmanned aerial vehicles’ on the CAA’s (civil aviation authority) website and you had to try to figure out which rules applied to modern quadcopters. Now, the site has a page dedicated to drones which outlines the most important rules. This is the basic Dronecode:
- Keep your drone within your line of sight and at a maximum height of 400ft (122m)
- Make sure your drone is within 500m from you horizontally
- Always fly your drone well away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
- If fitted with a camera, a drone must be flown at last 50m away from a person, vehicle, building or structure not owned or controlled by the pilot.
- Camera-equipped drones must not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large group of people, such as a sporting event or concert
For further information on how we can help you with aerial photography or video call Rob on 01363 777 999 – or email firstname.lastname@example.org