How to use FilmConvert

I am now a judge in the competition for FilmConvert read about it here.

So what is FilmConvert and how can in enhance your drone footage?

Photocredit: FilmConvert


FilmConvert is both a software plugin for editing packages and also a standalone software that helps enhance and make easier the colour grading of your footage.

What is brilliant about it is it’s very easy to use and also they have camera profiles including ones for drones.

You can download a version for free to try it out and then if you decide to purchase you can then take the watermarks off your footage.

My clients love films I create using FilmConvert, I have been able to enhance and change the mood with the use of colour grading and the filmic look. One example is a cycling film I have just created for a brand where the client wanted it to look bleak and wintery. Filmed in the summer this was possible, I was blessed that day with cloud cover mostly so this helped but its down to the use of FilmConvert that I was able to achieve the brief.  I can’t share this with you yet as the brand launch hasn’t taken place as yet and is still under wraps.

Photocredit: FilmConvert

Sometimes I use the camera profiles and sometimes I don’t as they may not exists for your exact drone camera that’s ok you can still use the software.   I can’t rave about it enough.

This video by my fellow judge in the FilmConvert 2017 film comp, premiere gal aka Kelsey Brannan here in this video she explains what FilmConvert is and how to load it and how to use it.


Recently there was a discussion on one of the drone forums how should you deliver your footage colour graded or not? What camera profile?  My advice ask the client do they want a flat image that needs grading or do they want it graded?  Using FilmConvert may not be the ideal solution for your client because you could be adding grain and the rest of the footage they may not be able to match up in the edit.  This goes for any software not just FilmConvert.  Using FlimConvert you can still fine tune the exposure and change the white balance. It’s probably a lot easier using FilmConvert.

The consensus on the forum is that your footage is a reflection of you and that if someone questions the quality who shot this rubbish it’s your reputation so you should colour correct before you send and I would beg to differ. You should always check what the client wants however you may be able to rescue some bad mistakes you have shot but don’t do this too much you risk things not matching up in the edit if there is another camera being used.

I have managed to match footage up from the Inspire 1, GoPro 5 and panasonic GH5 using FilmConvert but then I was delivering the whole film to the client my fully edited and colour graded.  This is because of the camera profiles it is very sophisticated

I hope this explained a bit more about FilmConvert but for more in-depth explanations please visit the FilmConvert and check out the tutorials and information

Have a great day may it be filled with colour

The Drone lass


Please visit the FilmConvert website

I can be found on twitter  Instagram and FB  each social media feed often has different content






FilmConvert Competition


FilmConvert competition launched on the 28th of August and you have up to and including the 9th of October to enter. I was honoured to be asked to judge the Non- narrative category because of my specialist drone work and work for various sports companies and sports broadcasters.

Why should you enter film competitions? There are several reasons and one is to challenge yourself as  filmmaker, set yourself a creative challenge or if you haven’t completed a film yet it’s the perfect time to have a go.  Win prizes this competition has great prizes to get your filmmaking career off to a huge start or add to your kit if already a seasoned filmmaker. If I had seen the prizes I think I would have said hold on can I not judge and enter instead.  Industry recognition nothing like winning a film competition to boost your standing in the industry or on job applications.  Increase confidence, nothing like winning or getting down to finalist status to increase your professional confidence. I can confirm the latter two as my work on BBC Body Confidence campaign was entered into four industry awards, I was a finalist in three and won a bronze Lovie award for best use of film for social media and we got through to the final three of the audience vote.  It was a total game changer for me, it opened doors and has boosted my confidence.


What the FilmCovert judges 2017 are looking for? On a launch webinar we were all asked the question so here in brief and surmised is what we are looking for.

2017 FilmConvert Judges

What are the judges wanting to see?

The Drone Lass (aka Carys Kaiser) me 😉  Judging category :Non narrative  which to me mean drones, sports and action cams I am looking for adrenaline and perhaps to be on the edge of my seat if it’s action camera,  but equally it could be beautiful shots, using any techniques that you have.  If it’s drones please make sure it’s legal in the country you are shooting.  If you don’t have a drone don’t be put off entering non-narrative could use other techniques, go pros, gimbal or may be just a camera.

James Tonkin: Judging category :Music Video – Looking for something unique, pushing the creative element of the music videos, letting your imagination run wild.

Philip Bloom: Judging category :Documentary – looking for an engaging story, something he hasn’t seen before, something that connects him to the subject. Looking for really good visuals as well as a good story.  This can still be simple shots that don’t get in the way of the story but they still need to look good. Don’t feel you need to put loads of tricks and use too many toys to tell the story, because these could distract the audience from the core story you are trying to tell. A fine line between tricks and techniques as they do add but not to be distracting it’s about composition, lighting and good sound.

Henry Martens Judging category :Wedding –  He would like to see something different, from the usual storyline of the day.  Can you take the getting ready, arrival at venue, ceremony, speeches and first dance and show him something different creatively in your output?

Kelsey Brannan (aka premiere gal) Judging category :Corporate/ Commercial  looking for simplicity how colour is complementary and adding to the story. Even though is corporate she would like it to have that human element, whilst also looking to for something that is unique and different.

Tom Antos Judging category :Creative is looking for something that has a bit of everything, good sound, good music and good visuals, good colour grading but most importantly it’s about good pacing don’t drag out a 5 minute story to be longer than it needs to be.  Think about the structure.

What we are all looking for is good use of the colour grading in your film. 

Photocredit :FilmConvert

I know some of you that read this blog are new to filmmaking so I will do a quick explanation about what FilmConvert is in the next blog post and how you use it.  Please visit their website as it does explain it in more depth than I will be covering.

You don’t have to own the software you can download it for free and submit your film with the trial version, so there are no excuses.

I am really looking forward to seeing the entries and know I am going to feel so inspired watching them all.

Please visit the FilmConvert website for information about the competition and the terms and conditions etc.

Good Luck

The Drone Lass





What a difference a year makes.


I am making no apologies but this blog post is one that is a bit more personal as I reflect back on the year that has just gone.

Tomorrow 26th August will be a whole year since my redundancy.  I left TV land with a carrier bag of belongings had a few tears, after a few too many cocktails. For the record that’s probably three, as I am a light weight when it comes to drinking!

Whilst I was walking through Manchester City centre to the train station back to the Peak District, I started to worry what will I do now?  This would have been the third redundancy in my working life and I know what follows is always a period of no or little work. To be fair I had worried for a whole month but the walk made it seem very real.

I am a people person, I like working with people and like working in a team.  The demands over the four and half years or so had taken its toll on my social life.  I had totally embraced the work culture of a person working in TV.  The long hours, trying to keep on top the chores and personal admin in a few small hours on a rare day off.  Living out of a suitcase and feeling totally exhausted.  Part of this is my own fault, I am one of those people who loves working, I always have.  I love my work and to be busy and after life changed completely five and bit years ago. My job became a place where I could be myself for a few hours and then when I switched roles within that organisation. I used it as a distraction for the loss.  I really did throw myself whole heartedly at the work.

Now was going back to what I had before, a desk at home with a phone trying to create work for myself, the exact thing I could not face when I landed in Media City. Just me responsible for creating my own work not seeing a soul for days.  My dear now ex- colleagues had no idea about how I felt when I arrived, I left my emotions at the car park and threw myself into prepping cameras. Only collecting that emotion on the way back home. What would happen, if I couldn’t find work and people to see everyday?  In those four and half years, I had met so many many lovely people, talented and who shared a sense of purpose in creating content, who by their sheer kindness and friendliness gave me hope.

For a couple of weeks I watched rubbish TV, ran around the hills, edited showreels and went to bed in the afternoon.  I wrote a website, started blogging more and started looking for work.  Two weeks later I was making a film for Blackpool council, then a couple of other low key filming jobs and since then I really haven’t looked back.  The work has ebbed and flowed and when it flows I feel so lucky. I did apply for a number of job roles but it didn’t work out.

I have been a creator of my own opportunties, I am thankful every single time I get a booking from whatever source.  I have flown the drone for TV, for commercials, for a cinema release and also online content.


drone flying
Me flying the drone. Photocredit  Joolze Dymond

In the last year, I have learnt new skills and made mistakes, mistakes I made before to make sure it was a mistake the first time around.  My work now predominately comes from my ability to plan, script, shoot and edit films and the drone is a sideline but also a skill I can use to create content.  I am happy to work on projects that use one or all of those skills.

I have been reminded of the faith you have to have in your own skills to be my own champion when the chips are down. To be fair and professional when that client has decided he won’t pay or didn’t have the intention to pay anyway. There have been lows including a few months with little or no work. Two scary months in the spring where there was nothing on the horizon. No money coming in is quite scary to anyone with bills to pay.

I have reminded myself join with others on the journey of a solo creative life is really important, to not beat myself up about my excessive use of social media as it reminds me that there is a world outside.   I don’t know if I will stay freelance / running my own company but for now I am just going with it.  Now I have more time for myself and have seen family and friends a lot more and really feel life is a bit more balanced.

I still work hard but also know when to stop working and go for a walk, a run or just watch some TV. The house often gets cleaned and tidied properly and that makes me more creative and more motivated.   To take breaks to look for inspiration be that business inspiration or motivation.

Two things I have done that have inspired me most was going to Shadow and Lights filmmakers conference in Brighton.  I went to my first one when redundancy was on the horizon in July 2016 and then again in May 2017.  To meet fellow filmmakers who are making amazing films and content for brands and corporates, gave me hope that a mix and match approach could work for me.  Although most of the people I have met are in the South of England or based abroad, they have become part of my wider network and this has become a great supportive group to ask technical questions.  The work of this group and the people inspire me.

Shadows and Light 2017 : Photocredit Christian Whitey Pokrywka

The second thing I have done for business networking, I have been attending Freshwalks which is like business networking never seen before.  To walk ten or so miles with fellow entrepreneurs whilst admiring the hills or getting stuck in bogs.  The type of person who attends a Freshwalks hike tends to be a positive and driven person.

I have improved my fitness and finally got out into the beloved hills of the Peak District, I have bounced ideas about and been given further opportunities.   I often think of it as a metaphor for business sometimes the terrain is up hill and hard and then it starts raining, and then your boots are giving you blisters to over come this you have to push yourself onwards and upwards to achieve the goal.  Even if you are freelance and happy to work alone having a few trusty souls and suppliers around you can help you achieve that goal or get up that damn hill!

Freshwalks:  Photocredit John Shinnick

Thank you’s 

Thank you to those who have recommended me for jobs you know who you are, I really appreciate those recommends.  Dinner and drinks on me when you are avaialble 😉

Thank you to Leonie Upton, John Morrissey, Tracey Higgins for a day filming for international women’s day and for friendship going forward from that mad day! I still don’t like being in front of the camera, but thank you for the film.

Massive thank you goes to Ben Cambridge  editor extraordinaire and May Mulki who are my flight assistants thanks for being part of the drone journey!

To all my lovely ex-colleagues in TV land I really count you as friends these days. Now I have time for coffee let’s make arrangements.   Also a huge thank you to my long suffering Mum and Dad who often ask “what the hell are you doing next?”  But also show lots of support to my madcap ideas.

To my friends who don’t inhabit the world of work I do, thanks for waiting for four and half years of mad work hours to pass and it’s been great finally spending more time with you.

Thank you to Lens Flare TV for the opportunity to hire kit the latest kit, for excellent advice on camera and lenses.  Inspirational work from them (do check out their website)

Thanks to the talented photographer Joolze Dymond being a small part of the 5311 Media journey it is full of cycles, laughter and cake.  Thanks for respecting my request “please don’t photograph my face or get my bum in shot whist I am working!” Long may this association continue.

To the person that signed my redundancy paper work, deciding that the role I was doing no longer existed and sent me on my way, I thank you.

You know what I wouldn’t change this year of work. I thought I would have ended up temping in an office and it could not be further from the truth. Fingers crossed it continues to be positive. Life balance is nearly in reach.

Finally to the 17 clients for the projects this last 364 days…thank you for trusting me to fly a drone, hold a camera, to tell your stories and create films. I have made TV for Sky one, Sky Sports, BBC One and created online content as well as TV commercials, short form films for the web the list goes on. Honestly, I can’t believe how lucky I am.

Ha ha these BAFTA/ Oscar speeches just write themselves! 😉

Carys x

AKA The Drone Lass


I can be found on twitter  Instagram and FB  each social media feed often has different content



360 Cameras and photography pt 2

Me, Emma Gibbs on a tiny planet taking over the drone lass blog for another day!


In my previous blog post 360 cameras and photography pt 1   I talked about my passion for creating 360 content and I had managed to secure somewhere to post my new images.  This was an opportunity when taking photos on a radio outside broadcast I was doing some photography for.

The first obstacle was how to publish these photos. I wanted ‘true’ 360° images that you could have a look around, not flat modified versions – but neither Twitter nor Instagram support this kind of content natively. I looked at using third party sites such as Kuula and then sharing the content to Twitter but in the end the decision was made to just put my images onto Facebook where the files would be instantly recognised as 360° content and be viewable correctly on both computers and mobile devices.

This worked well, the only downside being that FB compresses images and 360° content doesn’t look anything like as sharp as it does when you view it via camera apps such as Theta’s own viewer. The response however was very positive and I found myself being approached a week or two later by the same department for more 360° images – but this time of an art and sound installation which had been created for Manchester International Festival.

This turned out to be a great opportunity and perhaps the perfect subject for a 360° capture. The artwork was made up of stories from homeless people that had been painted over the course of the festival onto cardboard which was fixed to the walls, floor and stairs of a disused shoe shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The venue was long with pillars dotted throughout; there were different lighting level and the art filled every wall and parts of the floor so visitors were completely surrounded. It was a work you couldn’t photograph in its entirety in a single frame and it was impossible to capture the feeling of how the words covered the whole room – unless of course you photographed it in 360°.

I photographed the venue using the Theta S (not owning a Samsung at this point) and took some images with a tripod and then some low down, placing the camera gently on top of the art in places where the public simply couldn’t stand. The resulting pictures captured the work really well and a couple of images were put on Facebook where they were used to promote a radio programme about the artwork, which was broadcast with binaural sound (making the fact that we had 360° images as well as sound even more sweeter). I also wanted to create images which could be used on Twitter and Instagram so made some manipulated flat images which showed the walls of the room shot from a higher angle using a tripod.

Then a colleague of mine suggested I look at making a rotating gif of one of my images to give the feeling of 360° on platforms which couldn’t support 360° content. We looked at a few ways of doing this but I was reluctant to use any method which wasn’t extremely quick and simple because a lot of my work involves me photographing events in real time where images need to be ready to use in seconds. We eventually opted for the paid app Pi2Video (which costs less than two quid), which enabled me to import 360° images, select the angle and speed I wanted to view them in and then make a short video clip of the picture rotating. I put one of these on my Instagram feed not knowing if it would play correctly or if it would be that satisfactory because you couldn’t explore the image manually – but the clip still got a great response so it’s a method I would definitely use again.

So that’s where I am on my 360° journey so far. I have plans to look at AV capture that can be viewed with or without a VR headset and I am keen to find more projects where 360° material will enhance the viewing experience rather than be an unnecessary addition. I would like to try out

More cameras and particularly those where the offload and stitch is relatively simple and would be accessible to self shooters (rather than complex rigs which use multiple cameras that require complicated stitching in edit afterwards).

As for the current crop of consumer cameras I don’t want to give my opinion on which is best because there are some great comparison sites out there such as and and I have only used four different cameras so can’t comment on the whole range of makes and models available.

I’ve used the Ricoh Theta S, the Nikon KeyMission, the Samsung Gear 360 and the Samsung’s newer model the Gear 360 2017 (which allows for iPhone integration) and whilst every one of them has specific things which give them the edge of over the others, I’d happily use any of them. That said, when I bought a second 360° camera I went for the Samsung Gear 360 2017. My decision was partly based on the need for a camera that had decent video quality (the Theta’s video output is notoriously bad) but mostly down to price. The new Samsung has a slightly lower spec than its older sibling but not only does it work with an iPhone, it also only costs around £200 (unlike the previous model which still retails at well over £300). At the time of buying my Samsung I had also been trying out a loaned Nikon KeyMission and I liked it a lot. The Nikon is robust with a good weight (handy for when you place it windy outdoor places and then have to hide out of shot), it pairs with a phone reasonably well, the picture quality is great and the offload process is straightforward. But it costs over £400 and that extra £200 over the Samsung 2017 can’t be justified. If money is a consideration then it’s worth remembering that the tech is still quite new and the prices will come down and I’m not sure the Nikon can justify such a hefty price tag when there are now comparable cameras on the market at half the price.

Personally I can’t wait for the next crop of cameras and in the meantime I am going to continue exploring what I can do with this sort of material and build up my 360 chops until I am as familiar and comfortable with 360° capture, editing and workflows as I am with regular content.

Thank you for joining me these last couple of days

Emma x


Emma Gibbs
Emma Gibbs

Thank you so much Emma that was really enlightening and an enjoyable read.  

Carys x aka The Drone Lass

If you visit 6 Music Facebook page you can see some of the content Emma created ….shhhh 😉 

360 Cameras & photography pt 1

From left to right:-                  Ricoh THETA S , Samsung Galaxy Gear 360 (2017)  and                                                Nikon Key Mission 360 Action Camcorder

Next two blog posts will be by Emma Gibbs as you know sometimes I hand the blog over to someone who has something to share that is drone or technology related.  Emma is a talented photographer and we often chat about different cameras so over to Emma.

Emma Gibbs
Emma Gibbs

For the past ten months or so I have been playing around with 360° photography. It’s taken me a while to really appreciate it. Whilst I totally understand the appeal of being able to capture an entire scene (including the sky above your head and the ground beneath your feet) I struggled to produce content which I felt had much impact and I was frustrated that it was difficult to widely publish the photographs in the form that they were meant to be seen – as images you could rotate, twist and explore.

On more than one occasion I nearly gave away my Ricoh Theta S, a 360° camera I had chosen purely because I owned an iPhone and therefore couldn’t use the higher spec Samsung Gear 360 which required a Samsung phone to operate it. The Theta lived in the bottom of my handbag; I would use it for occasional pictures but my increasing annoyance at my inability to get any output from it that I was happy with meant that one night when a guy down the pub started talking to me about his interest in 360° photography I very nearly whipped the Theta out and gave it to him. Fortunately good sense prevailed and it was this very camera which finally helped me develop my love of 360° content.

It’s still early days for consumer 360° cameras and as a result the image and video quality isn’t always as good as you’d expect which can be disheartening. Whilst venting my frustrations to a techie colleague at work I suggested that I was impatient for a standard of technology that doesn’t exist quite yet and my colleague said it was like when people go to a wedding with a point-and-shoot camera and then get disappointed that they don’t end up with DSLR quality photos. It was an accurate analogy; having a camera that can miraculously send stitched 360° digital images instantly through to my phone is so amazing that of course I expect the images to be as sharp as anything my other cameras can do. And to be fair, the pictures *do* look tight when displayed as flat equirectangular files (or even as spherical pictures via the camera’s accompanying software) but as soon as you view them spherically via sites such as YouTube, Flickr or Facebook the images lose a lot of clarity and you find yourself wondering why they don’t look as good as they should.

One use for 360 cameras is a “tiny planet” image.  Media City UK and myself

So what’s it like to shoot 360° content? The thing I’ve found most interesting is that there are several ways to present your work. When I started taking 360° photos I found (to my disappointment) that I couldn’t put images that I could rotate onto Instagram because the platform didn’t support it. The 360° pictures I found on Instagram looked great but they had been twisted and manipulated, with many being made into flat ‘tiny planets’ which aren’t accurate representations of the subject they are supposed to be capturing. I had always approached 360° photography in a very literal sense, thinking it should show what a place was like from all directions, when in fact other ways of displaying 360° images are equally as valid and perhaps creatively more exciting. Where I had been looking for places that would be visually interesting to explore via a photograph that you could navigate around, I realised that I could also look at capturing other environments which had prominent landmarks or textures (such as grassy parks and wide open spaces edged with recognisable buildings) – and whilst they wouldn’t be that exciting as rotatable images they would lend themselves really well to spherical manipulation as flat photographs.

Realising that there is more than one way to approach 360° material was a bit of a light bulb moment for me but that said, I still wanted to find subjects and environments which would be enhanced by being viewed as a rotatable image. 360° visuals still felt a bit like a novelty approach to photography and I wanted it to be something that gave viewers an experience that regular stills or video couldn’t.  So I approached colleagues from a radio outside broadcast I was due to be working on and asked if I could take a few 360° stills along with the regular images I would be producing for their social media feed. I didn’t make a big deal about it or promise anything amazing but they agreed and so I had my pilot.

Join me tomorrow when I go into more detail of the pilot and the challenges of creating the images.

Thanks for reading



Ricky Huntley Interview

Every now and then as you know I try to interview interesting people within the UAV industry.  This next interview is with Ricky Huntley from Sentinel Aviation



Please tell me how you got into the drone industry?

I have been working with unmanned aircraft for 15 years plus, initially I fell into the unmanned sector after the Regiment I was a member of became disbanded. During my time as a military operator I operated numerous drones from small unmanned systems to high altitude long endurance, after operating these systems on many operations worldwide I closed time on my Army career as a tactical instructor on unmanned aircraft.

Post army I joined an NQE as an instructor, this was back when the industry was very embryonic and there were only two training organisations against todays 30+. I have remained instructing until this present day however my role within the industry has been directed more toward safety and consultancy to the global market.

What do you like about your job?

What I love most about my job is engaging with people in the industry and passing on my experience and knowledge, being able to take someone from zero aviation experience to a level of underpinning knowledge is very satisfying.

Tell me about Sentinel Aviation?

Sentinel Aviation’s mission is as follows:

“Our mission at Sentinel Aviation is to apply the safety standards of modern commercial aviation to the rapidly developing unmanned aviation sector. Working to the highest standards we ensure the safe and efficient operations of Unmanned Aviation Systems for both operators and end users.”

Sentinel was established 3 years ago using both military UAV and commercial aviation experience to establish themselves in the drone industry. We now work with individuals entering the industry, and established commercial drone operations to enhance their operations particularly in the field of safety.

We have worked both in the UK and overseas and we also work for the Lloyds of London drone insurance industry. As an example we have advised from the newest teenage individual operator right up to a national navy as to how to enhance and develop their drone operations.


Why would I need the services of Sentinel Aviation as a new entrant to the UAV (drone industry)?

In essence at Sentinel we believe that there are no barriers to entry into the burgeoning drone industry, however, there are standard rules, regulations and procedures that need to be followed. These will insure that both individual and commercial operators do not harm themselves or indeed members of the public.

The opportunities for commercial drone operations are endless, most of these ‘uses’ probably haven’t even been thought of yet, but it will require skill, knowledge and experience to exploit these opportunities. Sentinel has the experience, personnel and skill set to take someone’s ‘idea’ or ‘vision’ for their company, develop it and then ensure that they can implement and execute that idea ‘in the operational environment’.

What services from Sentinel Aviation as an established Drone operator or Drone company can you offer?

Sentinel’s advice starts tight from the outset with helping operators identify the right drone for the right operation. Some drones are more suitable to operating in open and rural spaces, whereas others are better suited to operating in congested areas. What safety features do you need, do you need a quad or a hexacopter? What sensor do you need? Operators really do need identify what it is they are trying to do and what niche in the market are they trying to exploit?

Earning your UK CAA Permission for Commercial Operations is the first step for most people in setting out on their ‘drone journey’. Its what they do after that that counts. It’s a very easy industry to set out in, spend an enormous amount of money and not get very far.

From then on it’s about getting the work and maintaining currency of flying. The commercial manned aviation industry is a highly regulated and safety conscious industry. There is no reason why the drone industry should not embrace the culture of safety. Sentinel has embraced that culture and as a result we advise drone operators, end users of drones and the associated insurance industry on the following:

+ Commercial and Military Drone/UAS/UAV Safety + Drone/UAS Safety Audits and Inspections + Risk Management + Assurance and Compliance + Job Safety Analysis and Safety Documentation + Insurance and Legal Services (Accident Survey/Investigation/Analysis and Report Production) + Drone/UAS Airworthiness + Advanced Training and Development + Human Factors and Crew Resource Management (CRM) Training + UAV Pilot and Operator Medical Assessments

As an example CRM training is annual pre-requisite in commercial manned aviation and there is every reason why drone operators should embrace this, It will help avoid accidents. When it comes to medicals, this at the moment is not a requirement, but as drone operations begin to integrate with national airspace then it is possible that commercial operators will require ‘pilot medicals’ just like their manned aviation counterparts. Our medicals mirror those taken by the British Army’s UAV operators. It will almost certainly be the aviation insurance industry that will drive these requirements and changes.

We believe that commercial operators demonstrating themselves to be the safest operators are those who will eventually rise to the top of what is an increasingly congested industry.


What are you hopes of the UK drone industry?

Our hopes for the UK industry is to work together to build a regulation that works for the people, as technology advances so does the need for change in regulation, legislation, and policy. This must happen to make commercial operations rules fit for purpose.

What about Worldwide drone industry?

Worldwide we should begin to see a harmonisation of rules, this is imperative to start to bring unmanned operations in line with manned operations.

What you you think about the negative press that Drones receive?

I suppose there will always be some negative press, someone always playing devil’s advocate however it is only a small few. Unmanned technology is not going away and will only increase, the sooner people start accepting the positive applications the quicker we can develop as an industry.

Three top tips for people who have obtained CAA PfCo? What should we be doing to improve.

If in doubt give Sentinel a shout!! Operators should never be left wondering why or second guessing their operations. Sentinel Aviation are here to support the industry’s operators with advice and guidance.

Continual improvement is key in aviation, skill fade is a massive factor in aviation accidents, conducting an annual refresher course will help lead the operator to professional development. During the refresher, the operator will brush up on regulations and planning and undergo flight evaluations for the experts to advise where necessary.

The operator should also remember to be proficient in their line of work they must practice meaningful scenarios, they will not advance their skill set by flying in a field every day. Where legal and safe the operator should be conducting flights that they would be doing on a real job.


Thank you Ricky for taking time for this interview.

If you are in the drone industry and would like to be interviewed please drop me a line

Thank you

The Drone Lass


I can be found on twitter  Instagram and FB  each social media feed often has different content




Up Up and away

Hello Happy July to you!

The hens loved my brightly coloured and patterned wellies! 

That was June over in a flash not a moment to blog!  Lost of practice flights when it was calm and hot and then one professional shoot with the drone.  This was at  free range egg farm, the photos may be a give away. It was a brilliant day and when the film comes out I will share with you the highs and lows of the shoot when the commercial comes out on UK TV.

Inspire and chickens
Don’t worry no hens were harmed in the flying for this commercial!

Many of June’s flights despite that beautiful UK weather were postponed. Mainly because the production companies for logistical reasons can’t schedule the rest of the shoot quickly around the weather. Dates keep being heavy penciled to then be pulled due to wind and rain!

Lots of enquires about flying in the centre of cities and towns so next year, I think I will start looking at creating an enhanced operating safety case (OSC)

Some amazing guest blog posts and Q&A’s coming up in July plus some kit reviews.

Have a great day, whatever you are doing today

To keep up with my daily posts follow me on Instagram the_drone_lass

The Drone Lass



Shadows and Light Part two 2017

S&L Credits_1

Day 2 of 2017’s Brighton meet up – The 4 hour film Challenge

To follow on from yesterday’s blog post  I was to mentor a film making team and we had  arranged to meet early so they could get shots of me flying the drone before the workshops started at 8.30 am.   Nina a local film maker decided to drive us to the location that is fifteen minutes outside Brighton.

Then we had a third team member of the team arrive and the lovely Sani was waiting for us at the Jury’s Inn. To me this could have a been a difficult point that she would not be fully involved with the film as the angle of the film had been decided.  Sani another very established film maker.

First we all attended a colour workshop, from Ollie Kenchington from Korro with Dave Dugdale  who had flown in from the States for the two days and it was really insightful and gave away a lot of amazing tips.

Ollie Kenchington evoking emotion with colour in film projects

Then the eleven mentors were taken to outside to be briefed by Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner and Dan Chung.  They wanted us to be hands off as much as possible, not to be shooting anything.  No one said I couldn’t fly a drone 😉 anyway that was done!  Dan would be floating around to just overseeing generally and helping us out.   Philip and Nino would be on the beach with the slow motion training each group given an allotted training slot and hands on shooting time with the Sony Fs5.  We had a responsibility to make everything to run to time and also make sure our team got out on the sea front and not miss their slot with Philip or Nino.

Team 4 getting instruction from Philip Bloom on the Sony Fs5 slow mo with an atmos recorder. Photo by me


The films the teams were to produce, had to included slow motion footage, shots of a Brighton land mark and also one of the street performers in our case a belly dancer! The film had to be about the mentor.   All were advised to take a full hour official break from filming.   Editing had to be done between 3pm and 5pm and films to be handed in. What ever the state.  I was determined my team would provide a finished film. Music had to be cleared for internet use and we had to ask permission to film people or in venues.

I have done a lot of mentoring but usually teenagers and children film making and junior members of TV crew  not with people who are accomplished and working professionally as film makers.

Team 4, Left to right  Nina, Kie and Sani photo by me


I think it’s fair to say in four hours it was hard to get into a team dynamic as most of us are used to working alone or in very defined roles.  There was one point when the team we getting a bit stressed because of the deadline.  I reminded them the film only needed to be a minute long and that planning was the key to this.  How did they see the film?   What ? Why? When and How ? Who would the audience be? Those usual questions and to write down the questions that would be my interview.

I felt the main problem would be the issues that many of us self shooters fall into and that is not enough variety in shot sizes for sequences and also overshooting.  All of the team had a camera each their own that they had brought plus we had the drone footage that I had shot on the beach.

I decided the best way of mentoring experienced shooters was to question what they were doing?  Do you think you need to do this? Would it be best in the edit if we did this?  Once the stress disappeared it all started to flow quite well.  There was much discussion about the location of the interview that took place after the lunch break.  I explained that I would do it on the beach if it was me, yes sound would be an issue but a small amount of back ground sound was always expected by viewers.  Gives you options in the edit to see the subject on screen if you like it. We also had an external sound recorder so we could do a sound mix if time allowed.

I really enjoyed standing back and once I had got over myself, a good northern expression for those who are self conscious in anyway.  Getting over the fact I was the subject on screen.  Whilst sharing my hints and tips.  I did this because they were already professional if they had been students I would have needed to be more hands on and more instructional and more of a directors role.

When it came to the edit, the team decided that they wanted me gone for a while so I left them to put the interview down on the timeline with me not present. I suppose they were aware of myself consciousness at being the subject and they had a vision of how it should be cut.   The quickest and most experienced editor of the team Kie took the controls and they decided to edit in FCP X.   I set a deadline of by 4pm that the interview sync would be down on the time line.    Once I got to view rough draft I was very impressed.  It was just a matter of adding other shots to the timeline.

They started with something that would hook the viewer and had cut it together quite nicely.  There were some shot changes – and had we had more time we would have changed a shot or two to be more illustrative of what the interview sync was saying was shown on screen.

Concentration faces!

So export was hit at 4.55pm and ready for 4.59pm – when we joined everyone else an extended deadline was set for 5.30pm.  Now the team could have tinkered a bit more with the edit but they decided against it.   Sit back and time for a quick reflection on what had been achieved and time for the showing to the judges Philip, Nino and Dan.

What is brilliant about Shadows and light, is that the tutors pull no punches they are firm but supportive it wouldn’t be any good if you were told your work was amazing if it wasn’t.   How would anyone learn and improve? Sitting in room watching yourself back with everyone watching, excruciating!

My team were first to show their film.  I have to say although I was not enjoying seeing and hearing myself on screen. I was very proud of the film that was created. No time for a full sound mix nor colour grade.

As I thought the criticism from Philip, Nino and Dan was when I say I am a drone pilot shots should have been of me flying.   That also the shot at the end of me saying I am a drone pilot was not needed as the sound wasn’t great.  These are the things I would have changed myself.

The scoring of the films!

There were prizes to be won in the form of external hard drives so the stakes were high, Team 4  scored quite well considering the first film to be shown.

The standard though was truly amazing and most of the films also tackled comedy and were hilarious as they took on the serious subject of being a film maker and poked fun at ourselves and our tutors for their social media presence! No one told me they were playing comedy versions of themselves! Damn, my former stand up comedy career might have been useful.  I do think some of these mentors are wasted behind the camera comic timing and pathos explored.

So with out further a do as they say here is team 4’s film.


Production by Kie Cummings, Sani Dastagir and Nina Taylor. Shot on  Sony As7ii, canon XF105 and canon 80D, slow mo from a Sony Fs5 and aerial shots from DJI phantom pro 3.  Various lenses were used.  


Jonathan Warner playing a down trodden film maker!


I wish could show you the other films but just to say they were truly amazing. Hopefully they will all go online at some point.  In the words of the tutors they were blown away by the film making talent this year.

The winning team!


Shadow and lights, Brighton 2017


Seeing all the films produced how they told the stories with lots of great filming techniques has really inspired me.  To play with the latest kit and to socialise with like minded people.  I can’t urge film makers enough to attend an event, there are now several meet ups, showing of work and training in wedding film making.  This job can be a lonely one and support and friendship is so important as is the sharing of knowledge.

All photos by Shadow and light Photographer Christian Whitey Pokryka unless stated.

Have a great weekend, I do hope that there is a Shadows and Light 2018.



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Shadows and Light is sponsored by CVP, Sony, Filmstro, Music Bed, Atmos, G-Technology, Peak Design  Movcam and Film Convert

A massive thank you to all involved in organising and running this event, especially Fraser McGruer and all the tutors for all their sharing of time and knowledge


Shadows and Light 2017

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Shadows and Light is an international film making community that meets in Brighton once a year with screenings and a supportive facebook group of past attendants.  Originally set up by Philip Bloom and Fraser McGruer in 2015 to educate and skill share in the UK.  People travel from all over the world to attend, they come from USA, Austria, Germany and as far as Russia to attend.   So when I say it’s international, I truly mean it!

Last year when facing a bit of what felt like a career crisis facing redundancy from the BBC and a feeling I needed to get out and meet more like minded people, creative film makers.  I booked to go to the conference.  It was probably the thing that kept me going once my role ended.  Why I am I telling you this? Because when I decided this year, I had to wait and see if I had any work in to pay for the trip and conference.  Two weeks ago I got booked for a drone shoot on the Tuesday so there was no way I was going to make it. I was truly gutted about this.

Sometimes your week just doesn’t end up as you plan when you a freelancer and when you fly drones.   9.15 am on Monday, and the production company I was flying for called to postpone – the ruddy British weather!   So I even surprised myself when I had quick look could I get a hotel?  Yes the answer was and a cheap deal at that.  Message Fraser could I still attend?  Yes!

I had to leave the house at 10 am for a meeting in Old Trafford.  So threw stuff into a bag, including camera and drone and a few bits of food that would have gone to waste. I can be spontaneous but even I surprised myself! Normally I bleach surfaces and have a good tidy up before going away it’s a sort of ritual. No time for that, just put the rubbish out and wash the pots in the sink.

At around 12 noon,  I left Manchester and drove to Brighton.  I love Brighton and when I got there I think I surprised a few of the friendly faces. The journey was quicker than expected.   I had to explain drone job postponed because of the rain, but hey its always hard to believe that when its glorious in the place you currently are.


A walk after a quick salad and much needed glass of wine to the Pier which was open just for shadows and light.  Victoria’s bar welcomes us every year. Its a fabulous quirky pub on the pier.   It was amazing to see all the people from last year and a load of new faces.  Many of the people I met last year have become friends.

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You can ask a stupid question on the facebook page and no one will ever be sarcastic or be mean or laugh.  We have become a community sharing our highs and our lows, the joy in getting film commissions, the life mile stones getting married and babies being born.  One film maker from Germany went to visit a film maker in Canada that met at last years Shadows and light. That is how Shadows and light seems to roll.  We seem to share a lot this little band of film making warriors.

All this from the discussion of film making techniques, skills sharing and inspiring each other.

What I didn’t know was that I was to step in and up as mentor to a team of film makers all new to Shadows and light.  The challenge they had was to make a film in 4 hours, the subject being their mentor. Oh hang one, what I am a mentor? The subject is the mentor.

Thanks Fraser, I have a pathological fear of myself on screen.  I had to drink two glasses of wine to get over the shock!   I then did not sleep a wink. Actually that was far more to do with the hotel being noisy.  The first of the team I met was Nina and then Kie who both really wanted to chat to me about ideas, having consumed two glasses of wine my guard was down.  I rambled a lot. They decided that the most interesting angle was that bit about me being a drone pilot.

There is a charity raffle every year sponsored by the sponsors and this year I won something I really wanted a gimbal the Zhiyun Crane.  I never win anything in raffles I was so excited I can be seen making a leap of joy at the end of the one of the behind the scenes film.

Please note two glasses of wine and such joy at winning does strange things to a girl!

It was great to hear about all the first day at the Komedia  I really felt I had missed out but at least I was there to take part in the second day.

Alan Stockdale one of the first day’s speakers
Fraser McGruer – the welcome to the first day at the Komedia Brighton

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Tomorrow will be a quick review of the 2nd day at Shadows and Light 2017





Swedish Drone laws

A while back I had a blog post from Isabelle Nyroth, here she tells us all about the drone laws in Sweden. Thank you Isabelle. 


Sweden is a country that usually prides itself on being on the forefront of technology, but when the parliament decided to ban the use of drones in October 2016, the industry was hit by an enormous downfall. It left citizens outraged and divided on the matter of legality in flying both commercially and as a hobbyist. The cause of the ban originates from a law on the use of cameras in public areas from the 1970s, protecting the integrity of citizens not wanting to be accidentally captured without their permission in an area open to the public. If you’re a drone operator in Sweden today you can seek permission to fly in certain public areas, but your request is almost guaranteed to be denied as the process takes four months, and will only be granted given that the drone is used to stop a crime. There have been a handful of companies and people that have been granted permission to fly since the new ruling of 2016, but the hopes of a change to allow commercial operations is still alive as we await a new law suggestion by the end of summer 2017.

Regardless of the regulation situation, there are many Swedish drone companies keeping the drone industry alive internationally. We live in the hopes that regulations will catch up to the demand and uprising applications for drone technology. In September 2017, Sweden will premier its first drone operator university program where people looking to become experienced and educated on the aspects of flying, mission planning, understanding the construction, software, applications, safety and risk assessment of drone operations will have the chance to build a base for starting their own business or get hired at existing drone companies.

Sweden’s drone companies focus on many different solutions to the drone industry. For example, Swedish start up company Spotscale has just launched a new cloud based service for processing drone images to convert into 3D Models. They recently created the Worlds largest 3D reconstruction of a neighborhood with exceptional precision and resolution.

The industry in Sweden will continue to grow along with the rest of the World, and the process of becoming a licensed operator will finally take shape after a few trial and error experiments by the government.

Isabelle Nyroth  May 2017