There's still an air of uncertainty around drones, says Sam Stanton, president of redbutton.tv.
Stanton suggests event planners consider several key points before they integrate drones in their plans:
1. Ask the drone photographer if they are insured for aerial cinematography.
This ends the conversation with about 90 percent of people who tell you they can fly devices at your event, Stanton warns. Also learn what coverages they carry.
There can be significant liability issues; a viable provider should have at least a million dollars in insurance coverage.
2. Does your venue approve it?
An informed manager will ask about your insurance. Be sure the venue ceilings are high enough for flight.
3. Be sure to inform security.
Venue security people and local police should know a drone flight will be part of your event. Expect them to send someone to stand with you in case help is needed.
4. How long has the pilot in command been flying?
Many amateurs present themselves as experts, yet all they really know is what controls to touch. Hire someone who has at least 100 hours of flight time.
5. How long has the visual observer been flying?
This should be someone who knows how to fly and can monitor where the drone is going while someone else is flying it. They can also assist in case of emergencies.
6. Get references and examples.
Ask how long the drone operator has been flying the devices and with whom. Ask to see examples of footage they have created at an event. You don't want to be their guinea pig.
7. Consider procuring a drone sponsor.
Drone operation by professionals can be expensive, so you might get a sponsor to finance it. The display of the sponor's brand will bring them far greater return than something as old school as show bags.
8. Software backups and updates.
Computers that break or don't work can sabotage drone flights. Make sure there have been software updates, and that there's a backup system. Responsible drone flyers will have identical systems available.