Who is flying for you?


For the last six or seven weeks I have been concentrating on freelance work and I am slightly alarmed that on many of the facebook groups and TV sites people say I am looking for a drone operator and a load of names are then tagged.

Often it seems to be that there is no concern about if the person has CAA permission for Aerial work or soon to be known as CAA Permission for Commercial operation CAA PFCO.

I am not implying that all these people are not CAA Approved but there are a good many who are not.

Corporate responsibility is really important and by employing someone who doesn’t have CAA PFCO, they won’t be insured and certainly won’t be abiding by the aviation law laid down by this country with regards to the use of drones.  Yes you can say we didn’t know, but in a court of law, ignorance is no defence.

So here are the following checks you can make to make sure you are booking the correct person for the job

Check their showreel – like what you see? Don’t concern yourself that you have to have this type of drone or that type of drone.  The camera is the thing and the footage that the drone operator will provide you with what you need. Check what the showreel was shot on. So if its a Phantom pro 3 with a 4K camera as long as its set to the correct settings this can be downgraded to match most cameras.  I have a Phantom pro 3 and I have flown for TV commercials and productions and the footage has been just fine.

Check that they are CAA Approved – you can do this by checking the CAA website this costs you nothing

CAA List of approved contractors

Ask for a copy of their CAA PFWA / PFCO – retain this PDF for your production paperwork  so should the production company be asked in the future to provide providence of the aerial footage.

Ask for a copy of their insurance documents – again retain for your production paperwork.  If you work for the BBC they have a UAV team and they suggest a minimum of £5M public liability plus spotter / flight assistant. They have other guidelines and if you check “my risks” on the internal gateway, you will see what they are asking for in addition.

Production companies have a legal and moral obligation to pay the correct people for aerial footage.  If someone is doing it just for their showreel, are they insured? Are they safe and operating within aviation law?  Finances may be tight but you should be paying the correct, competent and qualified personnel to carry out the work you require.

If your production is where you employ people to do one role and they give you drone footage you need to check they have CAA PFAW/ PFCO and that all important insurance.

In the TV industry their are a number of crew like myself who have added to their skill set and they will be happy to provide you with the documents you require.

This will ensure that our industry is not brought into disrepute.

If you have any questions about this feel free to contact me, there is no obligation to book me as your drone operator.

In tomorrows blog post I will be writing about how production companies get the most out of booking a drone operator.

Have a great Wednesday

The Drone Lass  AKA Carys x


Drone Photography

An over exposed photo – Featuring Simon from 18 Bikes Hope Valley

Recently I realised I have been inadvertently not really been using the drone to its full capacity and one of these areas is the photography. I could take screen grabs but they are not the same there is nothing like a RAW file that you can process and enhance to get good quality image from.

I love photos they tell stories in one shot, I admire so many photographers through the stunning images they produce.

The photo shown above the sun was coming up and Simon from 18 Bikes Hope Valley was with me as we were shooting a part of a promo for an up and coming video I am making.  Everything was just amazing, there were gods rays coming through the clouds, you can’t see them so lesson learnt I should have taken one where the land was exposed correctly and then one exposed for the sky. Then fixed in photoshop. Perhaps I can try with what I have shot.

The image sort of works but could have been so much more amazing.  Will never be able to re create that shot, this is the same for moving images.

So I vow to do more drone photography but currently I still think a lot of the photos often look like I have just climbed up a hill with a DSLR so need to get more creative.

The ipad also sometimes shows that exposure looks good when in fact it is over exposed or under exposed.  More practice is going to make this more instinctive for me.

Something that I feel limits me is that locations surrounding me, I can’t complain I have the most amazing scenery. However it is full of hills so even at top legal flight of 400ft. It looks like I am just up another hill looking down. So probably time to take the drone somewhere different and start think more creative with this side of the drone use. The flat gimbal down camera move, I use in footage a lot.  Time to do more of this in the photography.

Unlike traditional photography my outings with the drone are dictated by the weather so capturing moody skies can be difficult.

I love this shot below of an unused road. The lighting and a slightly moody sky without wind and rain, practically unheard of here in the Peak District.


Happy creative Tuesday everyone

The Drone Lass



Whirlwind week

So what a whirlwind last week was! On Tuesday it was confirmed that film content, I created for BBC Body Positive, won a bronze award in the Lovie awards. These awards are judged by a panel. We missed out on the people choice award to some very deserving content by The British Council. Thanks to all of you that voted.

The Panel awarded a Bronze to the social media campaign not bad at all for a tiny three person team

The award was for Best use of film in social media.   I am sat here now and still can’t quite believe it.


It seems the 27th of September will go down in history for nice surprises on the career front. I got and email to say I have been accepted into the BAFTA Crew programme.  The programme serves under represented crew by an exclusive programme of training, mentoring and networking opportunities.  We are not have not been invited to join BAFTA but are taking part in the BAFTA crew participation programme.   I am so excited by this, I applied a couple of years ago and did not get on.  This time it was totally on a whim and I was particularly busy that day but spent time in the morning very early on and this time, I was accepted. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the selected crew members.




Wednesday 28th saw BBC Body Positive films again being nominated for The Drum social buzz awards for best use of film for social media.


BBC Get Inspired that last thing I worked on before the BBC got a nomination for Most responsible use of social media, again with The Drum Social buzz awards.


On Thursday it was announced that Get Inspired has been nominated for Royal Television Society Award (RTS) for  Best use of Multiplatform.


So here is to a new week, I doubt very much that the same level of excitement will continue.  However I do plan to blog a bit more this week and have some edits to focus on


Have a great week whatever you are doing