‘Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.’
“Amazing drone shots.”
“We had the Forth Road Bridge for 3 minutes, only one chance to get the shots and it was done superbly”
“Brilliant film footage.”
How much does Hummingbird Imaging charge?
The fee Hummingbird charges is very dependent upon the complexity of the job, the type of platform and camera that is required, the make up of the crew and any pre-planning for the job.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 500 3106 to discuss the cost.
Can Hummingbird drones fly at night?
Yes, Hummingbird’s permission from the CAA allows us to fly after dark. The camera, the Sony A7s that we have on one of our UAVs was chosen particularly because of its ability to cope with low light making it ideal for a night shoot.
Flying at night inherently has a higher risk factor. Therefore the height and distance that can be flown are greatly reduced. The maximum height we can fly in the dark is 200 feet at a maximum distance from the pilot of 100 metres. Night officially starts half an hour after sunset and ends half and hour before sunrise. Before flying at night from any location it must be surveyed in daylight to ensure that it is safe to fly there and any potential hazards are noted. Things like power lines and tall trees are often difficult or impossible to see in the dark. Due to the potential extra work involved when operating at night there may be some additional cost.
What Cameras are Hummingbird UAVs equipped with?
There are a variety of cameras used on-board Hummingbird’s fleet of drones. The smallest of the fleet uses the well renowned GoPro. These offer resolutions from UHD (4K) (3840 x 2160p) through FullHD (1920 x1080p) to HD (1280 x 720p) with frame rates varying from 24fps to 240fps with a sensitivity of 100 ISO up to 6400 ISO Video H.264 Codec Mp4 file format The next level, the DJI Inspire uses it own bespoke camera the X3 with a CMOS sensor. Resolutions range from UHD (4K) (4096 x 2160p) (3840 x 2160p) through Full HD (1920 x 1080p) to HD (1280 x 720p) frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps with a sensitivity of 100 ISO to 3200 ISO Video H.264 codec MPEG 4 AVC file format The heavy lift UAV the DJI S900 is equipped with the much-vaunted Sony A7s, a full frame camera specially developed for high quality video and exceptional low light quality. Resolutions: Full HD AVCHD 1920 x 1080 50i, 50p, 25p through HDV 1440 x 1080 to SD 640 x 480 Movie shutter from 1/8000 to 1/4 sensitivity 50 ISO to 406900 ISO Video codecs AVCHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
How big is a Hummingbird Imaging UAV crew?
This number and make up of any crew that operates a Hummingbird Imaging UAV is determined by the complexity of the assignment.
All of the UAVs in the Hummingbird fleet can be operated safely and legally by one person, the remote pilot/cameraman but, there can be a great benefit from using a two or more person crew, where the additional people are a camera operator and observer.
A simple quick deployment on a news story in an easy location may only require the pilot/cameraman. On a more challenging shoot there may be multiple crew members required.
From a safety point of view it is preferable to have an observer. This person does not have to be qualified, but must be dedicated to the role of observer and will receive a full briefing by the remote pilot.
On very involved shoots multiple observers may be required.
Are Hummingbird’s drones better than Helicopters and cranes etc?
We would say yes. However, UAVs do not exactly replicate what helicopters, cranes and dollies do.
The results are slightly different and in most cases more flexible. They are certainly less expensive and quicker to deploy.
Flying at less that 400 ft a UAV is a full 100 ft lower than a helicopter can legally fly. It is much less noisy, creates considerably less downdraft and wind turbulence, and by being very much smaller is more nimble and manoeuvrable. This means that a UAV can be very much more intimate with the action and offer a different perspective.
Having a helicopter on standby all day would not only require a large area for it to take off and land, it would be very expensive. It is relatively cheap to have a UAV sitting around waiting for that weather window or until a stunt or set has been reset.
Cranes, tracks and dollies need quite a time to set up. A UAV can be deployed very quickly and is very adaptable, able to track, crab, crane as well as pan and tilt with no added set up or adjustment time. This gives the director the opportunity to be flexible in shot selection and the ability to accommodate changing situations. It is also pretty hard to lay tracks on a loch or over a flowing river. No problem for a UAV. The shot can be done minutes after it has been thought about.
It is really only when sync sound is required on a shot that using a UAV instead of a dolly or crane in not ideal. Compared with a thundering chopper the humming from a UAV is much quieter but it is not silent. Having said that, post-syncing or lip-syncing is not that difficult to do for a good actor or presenter.
How high and how far can a Hummingbird UAV fly?
The state of the art platforms in the Hummingbird Imaging fleet have impressive specifications regarding how high and far they can fly. However, for very sensible safety reasons these distances are restricted by the CAA.
The maximum height that the drone can legally fly is 400 feet (approx 120 metres). The maximum distance that it can legally fly from the operator is 500 metres
The 400 feet height rule allows a 100ft separation from manned aircraft, as they are allowed to fly as low as 500ft.
500 meters is the stipulated maximum distance away from the Pilot added to that however is that unaided visual contact must always be maintained with the drone.
In some circumstances, such as when flying at night these distances are greatly reduced.
How long can Hummingbird drones fly for?
Broadly speaking from 5 to 15 minutes is the time the UAV would be expected to be in the air. Multiple batteries are available to be used for further flights to increase the amount of footage.
Weather can be a major factor for flight time as can the flight profile of the drone.
How does the wind affect Hummingbird flight operations?
Even during quite strong winds it is still possible to get great smooth and steady shots. This is due to the gimbal system we use with the cameras on our UAVs. High winds can prove difficult, but there are no hard and fast rules about what and how winds will affect the drones. This would be determined by other such factors as the proximity to objects, delicacy of the shot needed, predictability of the wind and general safety considerations.
The wind higher up in the air is generally much stronger than the wind recorded on the ground. So, depending on the type of shot required the remote pilot will assess the strength and direction of the wind to determine if it is feasible. This may require a test flight before the decision is taken to do the shot or not.
The remote pilot’s decision is preeminent. Safety is the main concern and if conditions are deemed by the pilot to put that safety at risk the flight will not take place.
Can Hummingbird UAVs fly in bad weather?
Broadly speaking no. The UAVs in the Hummingbird fleet are not designed to fly in rain, sleet or snow.
The delicate and complex electronics that make the drones as versatile and controllable do not like getting wet.
Does Hummingbird Imaging charge a fee if the shoot can not be done due to bad weather?
In most cases no. Generally Hummingbird Imaging will endeavour to reschedule the shoot at a time/date as close the original booking as possible with no extra charges. If the shoot has to be cancelled completely solely due to weather factors no fee will be charged.
How fast can a Hummingbird drone fly?
The Hummingbird fleet is equipped with very nimble UAVs some of which can reach speeds of around 50mph.
Can Hummingbird’s drones fly indoors?
Yes. Obviously the space needs to be quite large, although depending on the platform not quite as large as you may think.
As well as space there are other practical factors that need to be thought about. Even the smallest most nimble of the platforms is quite noisy and they do create a certain amount of downdraft.
When flying indoors Hummingbird Imaging is not constrained by the rules and regulations placed on it by the CAA. However, of course a comprehensive risk assessment must be completed, including insurance considerations prior to the shoot, as safety remains the primary consideration.
Can Hummingbird Imaging operate outside the UK?
Yes. Hummingbird Imaging platforms have already been deployed on assignments in Brazil, Afghanistan and Poland.
The rules and regulations laid down by the aviation authority in the country visited must be complied with. Hummingbird Imaging will organise any necessary permission prior to deployment.
It is worth noting that the UK’s CAA is in the forefront internationally when it comes to helping the UAV industry to operate legally and safely. Many other countries are not so well organised or UAV friendly. So if you are thinking about an international element to your shoot it is best to plan as early as possible.
How much notice does Hummingbird Imaging need before an assignment?
The more notice the better, but depending upon the location, the subject and the type of shot you require a Hummingbird Imaging UAV could be assigned and deployed very quickly. In the past, on a breaking news story from the initial call to being in the air getting the shots with all the formalities carried out less than an hour elapsed.