A few guidelines to help you.
FlyingTV will perform all the planning based on the information you give us.
What are you trying to achieve?
The answer to this will determine some critical flight parameters. For instance, trying to film a car being driven. Generally speaking, this would need to be done from less than 500 ft if you wanted to see close-up detail – see our Top Gear work in the Video Gallery. Flying closer than 500ft to any person, vehicle, vessel or structure needs a CAA low-flying Permission. Not difficult to organise – but we need quite a few details on the location in order to satisfy ourselves that the exemption is possible. You must allow for the time it takes to get the Permission.
Have you considered all the angles?
Aerial shooting using a 360 gyro-mount offers endless possibilities for shot angles. The shot acquisition rate of a helicopter is extremely rapid – we can gather a lot of varied shots in a short time.
Where are we shooting ?
Again, the answer determines flight parameters. Are we over a city or town ? Over water ? Are we shooting in London?
London airspace is possibly the most complex in the world – and our job is to make it seem simple. So planning a London shoot needs specific information. We are pre-qualified to shoot in London and only need to notify Air Traffic Control 20 minutes before we need access. But we have to give a specific brief to ATC about where we want to shoot and for how long.
Are we shooting in Controlled Airspace ?
Most of the UK is uncontrolled and freely accessible. Where there is Air Traffic Control all access is subject to other traffic, but all ATC units easily accommodate helicopters.
Planning is everything
Even for a rapid-reaction live news shoot, we never lift-off without planning. So the more detail you can give us ahead of launch, the better. Postcodes or map references of locations are very useful – we then plot these onto specialised aviation charts to see if there are any airspace conflicts.
The primary focus is flight safety and compliance with the law – but pre-planning also saves you money. Getting in the air with the detail in our hands means we spend less flying time trying to get the shots.