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By Doug Gritzmacher

Creative Director, Z-Channel Films, Denver, Colorado Google+

We had the pleasure this month of creating a video for Transwestern, a commercial real estate broker with an office in Denver. Aerial drone videography is all the rage in the real estate video production and that is not without merit. Aerial videography provides a broker with the ability to show a property in whole and how it integrates within a neighborhood and its proximity to neighboring sites.

With the increased demand in UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, aka, drone) photography and video, a cottage industry of aerial drone operators has sprung up to take advantage of this opportunity and this new technology. Aerial drone operation has grown so quickly that the FAA has struggled to keep up and consequently many of the legal parameters of operating a drone have become confusing and many are not clear on what the legal requirements are.

Jonathan Gruber of Elite Air Productions

Pilot Jonathan Gruber of Elite Air Productions pilots a drone during a real estate shoot for Z-Channel Films

We have been worked with drones on several of our projects and have made a point in keeping up with the FAA’s legal changes. As it stands, anyone operating a drone for commercial purposes must possess a pilot’s license and an FAA Section 333 exemption. We have heard of cases in the industry where productions have been shut down and those involved being sued for operating a drone without those requirements. Because of this and our interest in keeping safety a priority, we only work with drone operators who meet the FAA’s requirements.

Our favorite crew is Elite Air. They work as a two-man crew that includes separate operators for the drone and the camera. This is beneficial for several reasons. Most important, it allows the drone operator, Jonathan Gruber, to keep his eyes on the drone at all times. It’s easier than you think to lose a drone in the air. He is also able to keep his eyes open for any approaching pedestrians or vehicles. If a per or car is approaching he will land the drone until they pass. Jonathan also is a commercial airline pilot, so he the required pilot’s license and has logged thousands of hours at the controls of aerial vehicles.

While Jonathan focuses on piloting, his colleague focuses on camera movement. This allows for more dynamic shots than if you had a single person doing both jobs at once. A two-man crew such as Elite Air can fly a drone toward a target and pan and tilt the camera during flight to focus on specific objects throughout the drone’s flight path.

Check out our video above and see the results and learn more about our Denver real estate aerial video production.


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