The Cost of Drone Cinematography


Drones. They’re everywhere today. The kid next door has one. Your dad has one. Amazon are even trying to deliver your parcels with them. But what about your wedding videographer? Does he have one?

Drones are quickly becoming the norm amongst wedding videographers – every wedding film features a drone shot. Sometimes they’re used tastefully to set the scene, sometimes they’re overused to the point of looking ridiculous (nobody needs to see your drinks reception from above – it actually just looks like a load of people holding glasses of prosecco and pointing at the sky). Either way, the chances are that drone cinematography has been a factor in deciding which studio to hire to film your wedding.

But do you know the cost of using a drone in your wedding film?

wedding videographer drone

Firstly, they’re expensive. Your average drone costs around £1000. That being said, they’re definitely worth it; the technology they pack into those little things is phenomenal for the price you pay.

Secondly, they’re dangerous. They can fly FAST, they weigh a fair bit, and their propellors are enough to take your finger off (maybe, I haven’t actually tested that one out, although I have cut myself pretty badly). Back in 2013, before drones were even that commonplace, one photographer went viral after his drone hit a groom in the head. Just a couple of years ago, a groom in America was sued by his own wedding guests after his drone spiralled out of control and hit them in the face.

wedding videographer drone

As a result of being dangerous, they’re now becoming more and more regulated, meaning that you now need what’s commonly referred to as a license to use drones for your wedding films. It’s not really a ‘license’ as such, but more permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (the same body that regulates airplanes!) to use a drone for ‘commercial operations’. In other words, if you’re making money out of using your drone, you need permission.

So how do you get Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO)?

Firstly, you need to attend ground school: a course about everything from ‘how drones work’, to safety practices and privacy concerns. The course runs at anywhere from £700-£2000 and tends to last from two-four days. It’s pretty exhausting, to be honest. The one I attended was a two day intensive course running from 8:00-18:30. At the end of it, you’re given an exam made up of both multiple choice and written questions. Once you pass this, you have to undertake a flight assessment which is, in all honesty, quite easy if you’ve ever flown a drone before.

Okay, so now you’ve spent all that money on your drone, you’ve attended ground school, and passed your exam and assessment. Hooray! You’re done… right? Wrong. Now you have to put together what’s called an ‘Operations Manual’ – basically a book about how you’re going to fly your drone, what you’re going to use it for, and the measures you’re going to take to ensure it’s done safely. And when I say ‘book’, I mean it – mine is 40 pages long. Luckily, the company you do your ground school with will likely help you with this, so it’s not too difficult!

wedding videographer dronePhoto by Taylor Made Videography – www.taylormadevideography.com

So one you’ve got your drone, been to ground school, passed your exam and assessment, and done your ops manual, you can fly your drone… right? Wrong. Now you actually need to apply for your PfCO from the Civil Aviation Authority, which costs another £173 and can take over 28 days to come through.

But once that PfCO comes through, you’re all set… right? Wrong again! You need to make sure you have the necessary insurance, and before each flight you need to conduct a risk assessment, and then you have to keep track of every flight in a flight log. Oh, and next year you’ll need to renew your PfCO, which costs another £130. And EVEN THEN, there are still rules you have to follow. For example, you can’t fly higher than 400ft, and you can’t go within 50m of people, cars or buildings that aren’t ‘under your control’ – in other words, you can’t fly close to people/buildings and cars of people who haven’t consented to it. In wedding terms, this is problematic because, believe it or not, vicars aren’t actually that keen on having what is essentially a speeding, flying destruction machine  anywhere near their steeples, let alone inside (so no, we can’t get an aerial shot of your first kiss, I’m afraid – besides, nobody wants what sounds like a billion bees buzzing through their ceremony).

To conclude, the reality is that drones are expensive, dangerous and, to be frank, a paperwork nightmare. But are they worth it? Hell yes.

So next time you’re wondering why the wedding videographer you’re looking at is charging extra to include drone cinematography, you’d better tell him that you understand completely, and that, actually, you’d like to pay him even more just for the trouble he’s had to go through! No? Oh well, it was worth a try!

5 Reasons why you should invest in a Wedding Videographer


Is a wedding videographer worth it? A few weeks ago, I saw a post by a bride-to-be in a popular wedding planning group on Facebook. Her post was all about videographers and why she thought a videographer was an essential purchase for any couple planning their big day, despite the sometimes hefty price tag. The post received hundreds of comments and likes from videographers and brides who agreed with what she was saying. But there were also quite a lot of comments from people who disagreed and thought that videographers charge way too much for the services they offer. Her post inspired me to write this blog post: here are 5 reasons why every couple should invest in a videographer to capture their day…

1) A Wedding Film is an Investment 

A lot of people think of their videographer and their photographer as necessary evils – expenses that must be paid in order to have something to look back on after their day. Personally, I don’t think this is the right perspective; try not to think of your videographer and your photographer as paying for a service, but rather as investing in preserving your memories.

After all, what price can you put on your memories?

wedding videographer worth it

2) If your videographer doesn’t value their own work, how can you trust them?

‘Videographers cost so much! Why would I pay over £1000 for a 6 minute film?!’

Thousands of pounds on cameras, thousands of pounds on lenses, hundreds of pounds on tripods and stabilisers, a thousand pounds on a drone, insurance costs, travel costs, drone license costs, 12 hours filming, lugging cameras and lenses and tripods around, making sure there’s backup equipment, making sure we don’t miss anything, getting home at 11pm/12am/1am, backing up footage until the early hours to make sure your memories are safe, 30 hours editing, a USB drive for your film, delivery costs to send it to you. Oh, and then there’s tax, too. At the end of the day, we work hard. We pour our heart and soul into making a bespoke Wedding Film that will stand the test of time and let you always relive your big day. If we didn’t value our time and our skills accordingly, then how could you possibly be sure that we’d put in the effort and time it takes to make your film perfect?

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3) See the parts you missed

Weddings are an absolute blur. I realise you’ve probably never done this before, so you’re having to trust what I say, but I have it on pretty good authority: at the end of the wedding day, when I talk to the bride and groom whilst taking some night-time shots, they usually express amazement at how quickly their day has gone. Months, sometimes years, of planning has flown by in a heartbeat. Having a videographer there to capture your day will make sure you don’t miss anything; whether it’s your uncle’s shocked expression as he’s wowed by your magician, or your dad blubbering into his pocket square as you say your vows, we will endeavour to get it on film… can you really afford to miss that?

4) Your only souvenirs

At the end of the day, when the cake is gone, the favours have been taken, the DJ has gone home and your Love Letters have been packed up, all you’re left with are photos and videos. Otherwise, how will you prove to your grandkids that you weren’t always so wrinkled? If you and your partner are going through a rough patch, how else will you be reminded of how happy you make each other? How will you answer your children when they ask you what your wedding was like? Sure, you may have your dress stashed away in the loft, but you’re not really going to go and slip that on when you’re seventy years old, are you?! Isn’t that enough to make investing in a wedding videographer worth it?

wedding videographer worth it

5) But we already have a photographer… surely we don’t need both?!

Throughout this post, I’ve referred to both photos and video as being an essential part of anybody’s wedding, and I truly believe that: both are essential, and you should have both. That being said, there seems to be some feeling by a few people in wedding planning groups on Facebook that videographers shouldn’t charge as much as photographers, and to be quite honest I’m perplexed as to why they feel this way. Videographers are there just as long as, if not longer than, photographers, and we have a lot more editing to do after the fact to make your perfect Wedding Film (so maybe we should even charge MORE than your photographer). What’s more, it could be argued that a Wedding Film is even more important than wedding photos. This is, of course, a highly controversial topic, and I wouldn’t like to offend any photographers, but I do genuinely feel that, while photos will freeze your happy moments in time, a film will allow you to relive them. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.

So what do you think: is a wedding videographer worth it?. Maybe I’ve helped you be sure that you do want one, or maybe I’ve completely put you off. Whatever you decide, make sure you aren’t disappointed with the only souvenirs you have from the happiest day of your life.