So You Want To Be A Drone Pilot In Hollywood

by coptrz on May 9, 2016

Hollywood filming

Five Top Tips To Become A Drone Pilot In Hollywood

Drones are changing the face of the TV and film industries – and are a great way to make a nice stash of cash for well-trained drone pilots!

We take a look at the top five tips for becoming a drone pilot specialising in producing aerial film for production companies (not just in Hollywood!).

Get Your License

First things first: you need to become a fully qualified commercial drone pilot if you’re going to offer your services to any business (not just the TV and film industry). Whether you’re based in the UK, USA, or anywhere else in the world, make sure that you take a recognised qualification. Some are internationally recognised so you can work anywhere across the globe – but you’ll still need to know and adhere to local regulations.

Be Insured To The Hilt!

Production companies will have public liability insurance, sure – but you never know what’s going to happen. What if your drone malfunctions mid-air and collides with an expensive A-list celebrity? Heaven forbid something like that should happen – but as with anything involving a vehicle, it’s best to be safe.

Drone insurance should cover two main aspects – the drone as an asset itself, and the liability which comes with it. If your drone accidentally crashes, you need to know you can replace it – and therefore your livelihood – without putting out a huge capital outlay, so drone insurance which covers accidental damage is essential. You may also want to consider taking out any extended warranty options available from the drone maker or the supplier you bought it from, to ensure any repairs can be completed at no additional cost to you.

The liability element is particularly important when you’re working as a drone pilot for production companies. Even when you have all the correct permissions to fly, there is a chance that someone could impose privacy laws if they find you have filmed them (accidentally!) on private property. It also covers you in case of damage to property, or any other potential legal case which could arise. A production company will often have liability insurance – but as drones are so new, many standard policies won’t cover them. If you have your own insurance, you’ll be a more attractive hire to any production company.

Know Your Drones

Even if you stick to just one drone, make sure you know how to fly it in all conditions – skilled drone pilots can handle more extreme weather and more challenging shots with ease, and this is what’ll get you noticed as a superb must-hire pilot in Hollywood.

Keep ahead of the curve by always reading industry news and keeping up-to-date with the latest kit, gadgets, and innovations. You’ll soon learn how to use these in your drone filming skills, and the more you learn, the more attractive you’ll be as a pilot for production companies.

Choose A Specialty

Love dropping your drone into a canyon? Think urban filming is where it’s at? If you develop a speciality, you’ll become the go-to pilot in your area for any production company. Whether you want to be the top drone cameraman for nature documentaries, or work on action shots for the latest blockbuster, it’s worth choosing a niche and training to become the best in that area.

Create A Showreel

As you build up experience, make sure to keep adding to your showreel. Have an online presence, such as a YouTube channel, to demonstrate your talent and show off your niche skills. Your showreel can be a fluid asset that continues to be developed as you build your portfolio.

If you’re just starting out and haven’t got that much professional paid work under your belt just yet, that’s no excuse! Get out there and practice, and use that footage to prove to production companies that you know your stuff.

Becoming a drone pilot for the TV and Film industries takes hard work – there’s a lot of technical information to learn in order to become qualified, and then again for each drone you use for filming. However, it offers you the chance to deliver cracking shots to production companies, work in a creative and varied environment, and be part of the change in the industry!

Now you know you want to be a drone pilot, you’ve got two more steps to complete: train as a pilot and buy your drone  Luckily for you, the COPTRZ team are here to offer you a bespoke package unique to your needs! If you’re not sure what your next steps are, just get in touch with us by emailing and we’ll be happy to help.

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