Safe Drone Video: Dunedin

Drone shot of Dunedin Railway station under scaffold and wrap
Dunedin Railway Station under scaffolding and wrap

Getting drone video or photography isn’t as simple getting someone to pop a drone up and start hosing away with the camera. An operator can do most simple jobs without advanced certification (known as CAA part 102), but there are some important rules and local protocols every drone pilot has to abide by.

Here in New Zealand every flight should be logged with Airshare and around most towns and cities there will be controlled airspace that you must either avoid or get permission to fly in. Nobody wants to see a drone take out a rescue helicopter or light plane. Dunedin City has two zones that cover the harbourside and hospital helipads. Then there’s the Momona airport zone and Taieri airfield zone. Thinking of flying near a prison? You may not see it on a map of controlled flight areas, but you’ll probably find yourself geofenced out for security reasons so you won’t even be able to take off if you’re close to Milburn prison. If you want to fly over Dunedin City property you’ll also need their nod. All this means it pays to have at least three days to plan your flight and get the necessary permissions.

I love getting my flying camera up to shoot commercial jobs and this week’s mission was to take some drone video to show off the scaffolding that’s currently up around Dunedin Railway Station. My client had only a narrow window of availability for this so notice was short. Thankfully I know the process pretty well and am grateful to the folks in the several DCC departments who gave me permission for this drone flight within just 36 hours.

But wait, that’s not all! With drone video it also pays to have an operator with some directing experience so you get the shots that are going to come together and tell your story in a reliable manner. Now check out the cool lift on that scaffold!

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