Aerial Train Filming by Drone - Seeking Advice

Discussion in 'Photography Advice & Discussion' started by Jacques.Eloff, 7 Feb 2015.

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  1. Jacques.Eloff

    Jacques.Eloff New Member

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    Hi

    First time poster here - I’ve had a love of trains from a young age, second only to my love for radio control aircraft. I have extended that and recently set up an aerial photography/videography business, using drones and have gone through formal training, as required by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry out aerial filming for commercial purposes. I would love to capture some train footage, for my own portfolio, and I’m hoping to get some useful pointers as to how I can best achieve this.

    Here are some of preferences and criteria:
    1. Steam is preferable to diesel or electric
    2. Scenic backdrop
    3. I need a relatively clear, unobstructed run for a good distance – say up to 1 Km. My CAA licence requires that I stay in visual contact with the drone at all times and do not fly further than 500m from me. Ideally I would stand mid way along the filming section and follow the train for as long as possible (1 Km would therefore be the maximum achievable).
    4. Would be good if I can get a few attempts/runs in a single day, although this may not be possible as most services probably only run once a day
    5. The drone can reach around 35Mph - hopefully that should be enough?
    6. My CAA licence requires me to get permission if flying closer than 50m to the subject, so I will need to liaise with the operator to keep things legal. Bear in mind there is good marketing potential for a service operator, so hopefully getting permission should not be an issue as I will give the operator a copy of the footage.
    7. I live in Surrey but happy to travel a few hours for a good location. I will be going up North (Yorkshire way) in Spring/Summer, so could try something up there too.

    As an example, here is some footage from one of my competitors (see around 1m:45s) https://vimeo.com/82774827

    I have done some web searches and have a few pointers already, but any advice from users on this forum will be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jacques
     
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  3. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    The drone specialist stuff I can't help with, but points 1, 2, 4 and 5 would probably be covered by most preserved lines in the UK as most of them have steam, several services a day and a 25mph speed limit.
     
  4. marcouk2

    marcouk2 Member

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    Would it be possible to be onboard the train as you are filming it?

    Some narrow gauge railways have open carriages to allow you to keep visual contact with it, or would that not be allowed/possible?
     
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    How about the Scarborough Spa Express?
     
  6. Jacques.Eloff

    Jacques.Eloff New Member

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    Thanks Peter - that's useful to know!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    The difficulty with that would be landing it while moving - it would be quite dangerous. Bear in mind that a single charge on the batteries only lasts about 12 mins before having to land.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Now that looks like a great option! I'll look further into that, thanks!
     
  7. marcouk2

    marcouk2 Member

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    Ah, thought flight time could possibly be an issue.

    What sort of space is needed to land it or is it a return to hand sort of thing?
     
  8. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Any main line steam specials generally travel quite a bit faster than 35 mph. As you live down south, you could practice on somewhere like the (narrow guage) Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, with the railway running parallel to the beach for several miles. As others suggest, standard guage heritage lines may be your best option for "full-size" trains - but you may have to negotiate with local farmers / landowners for somewhere that your drone can land.
     
  9. Abpj17

    Abpj17 Member

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    Definitely the preserved lines. I'd endorse Swanage/Corfe Castle because Corfe has a castle that would be a great backdrop and a very quaint village still. (With a model village if you want an extra draw)
     
  10. Jacques.Eloff

    Jacques.Eloff New Member

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    Thanks all for your replies. I'll definitely look into the Swanage option too. I plan to do some more filming along the Dorset coast to the East of Swanage so that may be more convenient.

    I'm targeting to do this closer to Summer, but will start making enquiries now with the operators. I'll be sure to check back in here assuming I get some decent footage.

    In the meantime, if anyone else has some more ideas to explore, then it would be good to hear them.

    Jacques
     
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