How to Choose an Aerial Video Company

Aerial video collected by UAVs carrying cameras is becoming an important part of the project management of commercial construction and commercial development projects.

Aerial video has many uses for commercial construction:

  • Keeping out-of-area management and investors informed of the progress of the development
  • Providing images that show the entire development in a single shot
  • Providing a level of detail that from-the-ground photographs can’t capture
  • Arming decision-makers with current imagery for reference
  • Marketing and advertising for both the developer, general contractor, and the finished development

For these reasons, aerial video for construction progress is an essential part of any developer’s services portfolio.

A typical series of videos might include:

  • Video of the site during the site-selection process, to provide a level of current detail unavailable from dated satellite images. This is particularly important for sites with uneven terrain.
  • Video that shows the site immediately before development begins. This may be an empty lot, or buildings that need to be demolished and removed.
  • Video taken each month (or each week) that shows the whole site, plus details of key areas.
  • Video at the completion of the development, for marketing, or comparison for subsequent development.

So, how do you choose a provider for aerial video?

Here are the important things to consider when selecting an aerial video company:

  • Does the company have liability insurance?
  • Does the company own or rent the UAVs they fly?
  • Does the company have a formal safety procedure and checklists?
  • How many people are on the team (on the ground at the site) that services an assignment?
  • Are the team members employees of the company, or subcontractors?

Make sure to select a company that has liability insurance, that flies their own equipment, follows strict safety protocols, has at least two people on-site for a job and has employees handling the actual equipment. Safety for UAVs depends a lot on experience and you want to make sure the team you hire has ample time working together as a cohesive unit.

One thing to keep in mind is that low-end UAVs (i.e., hobby-size systems) are capable of carrying small video cameras, but that the quality of the aerial video from these systems is substandard, and not generally suitable for business purposes. Make sure to ask about the quality of the video and the camera that will be used. 720p is adequate for most purposes but 1080p will provide additional detail. Some systems can capture video in 4K, which is useful when a very-high level of detail is required over a large area.