Top Five Things To Look For When Hiring A Drone Operator

Author: Henry Schneider |

Blog by Open Window Productions

Drone photography and videography has taken the world by storm as it introduces a unique perspective and allows emotion to take reign. The high-quality aerial footage captured by drones is far superior to the photography or videography services offered in the past. 

However, if you’re looking to hire a drone operator to capture your event, market your brand, or for any other purpose, there are a few vital points to consider before making a decision. After all, if you’re investing in their services, you want to be left with striking and stunning results that you can admire for years to come. 

Unfortunately, drone operators today have limitations in terms of what they offer or may not have the necessary certification or qualification needed to operate. Moreover, the wide choice and different areas of specialization can make it a confusing decision. To narrow down your options and pick a qualified professional that can meet your expectations, here’s a list of the top five things to look for when hiring a drone operator. 

1. License and waivers
Legal drone pilots must have a Part 107 license. The FAA issues these to individuals who have demonstrated their understanding of flying an Unmanned Aircraft System. If you’re requesting to fly over people (roads/crowds/etc.), at night, or within five miles of an airport, the operator must also obtain special waivers from the FAA for these operations. Finally, the aircraft must be registered with the FAA, and in some cases, with the state. Be sure that the operator you are hiring has all of these legal requirements. In Minnesota, a list of qualified businesses can be found on the Department of Transportation website. To visit the website, click here

2. Experience
Look at examples provided by your drone operator to be certain that they can execute the type of mission you are requesting. The pilot should be able to provide you with the number of flight hours to back their experience. Weather and location can also impact flight performance and the ability to successfully produce the content you are requesting. Discuss these variables with your operator to be sure they have a plan in place for ensuring a successful mission.

3. Aircraft and equipment
Drones are made for a variety of operations. Be sure that you discuss the type of aircraft being used and ensure that it has the capabilities needed to successfully complete your mission. When it comes to photo and video, there is more to quality than simply stating “4K.” The image sensor, lens type, and recording format will all impact the quality. A common problem with lower quality drone cameras is “artifacts,” where detailed objects such as trees appear to be broken into blocks.

4. Crew
You should find out what type of crew will be involved in the operation. Some operators will attempt solo operations where the pilot is also operating the camera. While it may be possible to achieve the results you are looking for with a solo operator, more dynamic content can be achieved with a pilot and camera operator who have experience working together. In addition, certain operations will require a trained visual observer.

5. X-Factor
What special skills does your operator bring to the project? Some missions require the ability to execute a shot on demand, or in extreme weather conditions. Be sure to discuss all the logistics with your operator to ensure that the mission is safe and successful.

If you’re looking for drone photography or videography services in Minneapolis, MN, reach out to Open Window Productions. As licensed and certified commercial drone operators, we can help you capture stunning aerial photos and videos. While we provide exceptional drone photography and videography services, we also offer social media marketing videos, testimonial video, corporate video, event and fundraising video, video editing and motion graphics, and other services. 

We deliver our services to clients across Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Brainerd, St. Cloud, Red Wing, Duluth, Bemidji, Rochester, Faribault MN, Eau Claire WI, Fargo ND, Madison WI, Cedar Rapids IA, Des Moines IA, and Sioux Falls SD. 

To learn more about the services we offer, please click here. To get in touch with us, please click here.