Welcome to Flight School.
A complete exploration into Drone Aerial media for Real Estate!
Ever wondered how photographers get some of those nifty shots? The shots that show a whole new perspective of a property from a cool angle, with awesome views behind it? Ever wonder how they seem to get above the blind spots of a treeline to showcase beautiful landscaping, or tiered architecture?
You might think that you have to know a guy (who is probably a liability) and likely super expensive...
WRONG! You know us! At RE PIXS we're all about going above and beyond (quite literally with our drones too!) We've got all the works! We're a one-stop-shop real estate media production team. We have everything you'd want to showcase your listing and it won't cost you an arm and a leg!
There are probably some things you don't know when it comes to operating drones around the city. So we put together a little breakdown of things you'd love to know about WHAT a drone is, WHY you probably want one at your listing, and HOW we can make that happen in an affordable *SAFE* way. Read on, comrades.
(Unmanned Aircraft System) Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Only half as cool as the High Definition content it produces. At just under two pounds, flying up to 40 mph, the DJI Mavic Pro delivers 4k video as well as HDR Still Photography.
At RE PIXS we offer a variety of Drone services. You can choose from a series of HDR Aerial Photos, an Aerial Mini-Movie, or a combination of our Aerial services with an Internal Video of the listing. These options not only dramatically improve the sophistication of your listing, but the imagery also helps to educate your potential buyers to the highest degree.
Back in the heyday, if you wanted to get aerial shots of a property, let alone atmospheric video for a listing, you would need to lay down some serious cash on a manned helicopter. Those choppers didn't come cheap, and they were usually reserved for the most high-end Luxury Estates.
So it might make sense as to why that service may seem a bit...out of reach...even now.
But on the contrary- in the last decade or so, Quadcopters have become so compact and versatile they can fit in the palm of your hand. Pretty handy if you ask us, especially when it comes to zooming all around Oregon and Washington. These little devices have incredible benefits for residential listings along with commercial properties.
Not only does this accessibility make drones more convenient, it also makes it more affordable as well. Many Realtors are using the new availability of drone flights to maximize the impact of their listings, and you can too!
"I think in the future, listings not enhanced with drone technology will stand out negatively because everyone else will be doing it," - Bill Brown (2017) President of National Association of Realtors
Using Drone media for your listings not only gets people's attention, but it maximizes the amount of information given to potential buyers.
But wait! Is flying a Drone legal?
This is the question you should be asking any drone pilot you plan to use for aerial footage of your next listing. This question is of the utmost importance, considering your drone pilot could be flying over houses, backyards, major highways, ETC.
A trained drone pilot will take many things into consideration before ever taking off. Things like weather, high winds, aircraft, and even birds of prey can create hazards in the scope of a drone flight. Even for the safest pilots, there is room for variability and accidents can happen. This is why it is SO important whoever is flying the drone is not only licensed with the Federal Aviation Administration but is also a carrier of a comprehensive drone liability insurance policy. It's the law.
It is a Realtors' responsibility to make sure all hired drone pilots are licensed and insured. You would be surprised at how many freelancers and even professional drone media companies are currently uninsured or licensed. Do your research and make sure your drone pilot is legally allowed to fly commercially. You can check public records of licensed drone pilots here (you'll just need their first and last name).
All of RE PIXS Drone pilots are both LICENSED and INSURED. Above is our notification card, which we sometimes get to judicially hand out to nice old ladies who might be scrutinizing our pilots while we lift off in the street in front of their house. We always carry these cards around when we're out flying. On it, you'll find company resources with contact for insurance and more information.
Let us dive a little deeper
into the logistics of pre-flight variables (geofencing, weather, and more!)
I'm not going to bore you with Airspace classifications, but principally Drones will be flying at low altitudes for short flight spans, around specific predetermined locations. This low altitude airspace (generally around 400 ft) is considered "uncontrolled airspace" and anything above this you will need to get a waiver from the FAA and Air Traffic Control to be able to fly. This main altitude can fluctuate depending on terrain but is generally controlled automatically, through GPS signal from the device.
What does not fluctuate when it comes to airspace classes are invisible force fields surrounding airports, some national monuments, and areas with high magnetic interference.
A few weeks ago I was shooting a property out in the country, and I was unable to take lift off outside of the house. I packed up the drone and got in my car, and I drove down the country road and pulled off on the side near the back of the parcel I was planning on shooting. On the side of the road, I was able to take lift off and fly up into the sky above the property.
On the GPS of my controller pad, I was able to see a border wall cutting right through the property and above the house. I was able to fly at my allocated altitude, but every time I would come up to that border, I would bump against that invisible forcefield. This is Geofencing.
What was happening, was that the border for restricted Airspace that penetrated the parcel of land I was flying over was covered by Air Traffic Control from the nearby Hillsboro Airport.
You see, when commercial flights take off they still need room for take-off from ground level. These lower altitudes are stacked and tiered flowing away from the airport. In order to fly in this controlled airspace, I would need to contact ATC at the Hillsboro Airport, acquire a waiver, and permission from FAA to unlock the Geofencing for that area. This could take days, even weeks to get official approval.
Fortunately for this photoshoot, the border was curved and I was able to fly to different locations around and through the property. But occasionally this is not the case, and the GPS from the UAS needs to gain clearance before the flight.
One of the benefits of drone photography is getting those high altitude view shots. We can really get up there and pinpoint the location, its features, as well as its respective location to nearby attractions. i.e. cities, mountains, rivers, etc. But the weather in the Pacific NW can throw a wrench into the equation. We try to be on the lookout for weather well in advance of scheduling and heading out to our drone shoots.
Here's the deal with rain:
A drone is able to take lift off in the rain, and a drone is capable to fly in the rain...until it isn't. Rain can cause the batteries and/or the motor to fail, and not only is that expensive, but it's dangerous.
RE PIXS pilots will not fly our drones in the rain because that would be irresponsible, and you wouldn't like the look of those 4k raindrops anyway.
Fortunately, because the shoots don't normally take a huge amount of time, we can be pretty flexible with scheduling. And if it is raining, it's nobody's fault and we can reschedule or return to a location to get the shots!
If you haven't considered adding Drone media to your photoshoot, here are some circumstances you might want to think about.
Drone Photos can be a great way to show proximity to local attractions. But there are also certain properties that yield themselves better to drone photography rather than traditional photography.
I personally would recommend drone photos for every single listing that is built on a slope, a hill, or in a tiered neighborhood. Not only can you get a sense of the area, but with a drone, you can also get close up shots that complement the structure of a home or building in a unique environment.
(Shot from ground shooting uphill VS. Drone)
Whereas our photographers can get you the best image possible from the ground, sometimes shooting over trees, or up a slope is unavoidable. If your listing has some of these attributes, using a drone can help get you that MONEY SHOT.
We also have the ability to mark out perimeters! So if your case is a large property, with a hefty adjacent acreage, (especially forested areas) you can see the whole property line at once, and get an idea of the actual size. This application becomes even more vital when you consider shifts in terrain, that would be impossible to capture from anywhere but the sky.
(Like this property, for instance, the acreage reaches down the slope to the road below.)
Drone Media is really revolutionizing the market and is the future of homes being sold and information is being shared. Our team is on track to add even more drone pilots to the mix in 2020. Soon we'll have a whole fleet up in the air!
The question is, will you be ready?
Curious about adding a Drone order to your next shoot? Give us a call and ask about it when placing your order, or click this link to BOOK NOW!
Hope to see you out there!