The Drone Pilot How-To

Thanks for helping out our customers (and us) with your pro drone filming expertise! Here’s a bit about what we need. Please keep in mind our instructions are a bit different than what you may be used to – and if they’re not followed carefully, we may not be able to use your footage.

We will be using this video to create a 3D scan of the building; we need 4K (or as high as you can make it) video taken of the complete exterior of the house – in one continuous take of the building, going around the building 4 times (twice clockwise and twice counter-clockwise) varying the altitude with every pass at low, medium, and high heights, getting full coverage, especially of the sides. Remember, we cover our roofs with snow, so the roof is much less important to us than the sides. Get the sides, and get them good.

***Now, let me make something clear, since it’s important and is often overlooked by our drone pilots: ONE CONTINUOUS TAKE. It’s important for our photogrammetry software that the camera moves along one continuous path. Taking footage of the front, followed by footage of the sides, without the movement in between is bad for us. If you do need to stop the recording, try to return the drone to the same area before starting again. It’s ok to send us multiple segments as long as those segments overlap. If the segments you send us do not overlap, we will likely send you back for a redo. Please do not do part of the footage with one camera and another part with a different camera.

Also, since the photogrammetry algorithm works from motion, remember to keep moving. Strafing along the sides is best, but up-and-down can work when trees block your path.

We need about 15 minutes of footage, but no editing or conversion, just the raw footage. 

Now, sometimes there are issues.

  1. Trees in the way (so annoying.) Please just do what you can. If you can’t get good ground-level footage with the drone, then walk the drone camera around the house. We know that walking isn’t fun for pilots – but sometimes there’s just no choice.
  2. Sometimes there’s not enough room between houses to get good coverage. In that case, please try to go to the roofline and film downwards. Also film down the sides from the front or back.
  3. GRAY DAYS ONLY. If it’s sunny, you’ll get shadows and lens flares. Gray days are actually best for getting even lighting. Adjust the exposure on your camera so that the colors never get blown out. If you send us a video with blown out colors, we will likely send you back for a redo.

Here’s an example of perfect droning (in our eyes.)

All done? UploadThen please email to let us know it’s been uploaded and the filename you sent us. Otherwise we may not know whose video belongs to whom!

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