The internet is ﬁlling up with aerial vistas ﬁlmed on the latest personal drones. You can now pick up a decent quadcopter with accurate GPS, collision-avoidance sensors, and a 4K gimballed camera for just under £1,000, like the DJI Mavic Pro.
But before you blow all that cash on top-of-the-range kit, there’re a few things you should be aware of. All countries have their own set of rules for these UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), so make sure you read up before heading out with your new toy. The UK’s o ° cial code can be found at dronesafe.uk. There’s advice about training and regulation, and the free Drone Assist app will show you where you can and can’t ﬂ y. International travellers should grab AirMap, with information about the rules and restrictions on a local map, and real-time collision alerts while you’re ﬂying.
Before splurging on high-end kit, consider cutting your pilot’s teeth with an entry-level toy drone. Syma has a good range with HD cameras built in that start at around £35. At that price-point, don’t expect the picture quality to be exceptional, and without the GPS and ﬂight-assist features of the more expensive models they’re harder to control. But £35 is a lot less to lose if you have a catastrophic accident.
Once you progress to the larger UAVs, think seriously about insurance, both to replace damaged equipment and for public liability. There are plenty of personal drone insurance specialists out there, so do a bit of research to get the best cover for your circumstances. Finally, before you head o˙ into the blue, take the time to read up on ﬁ lming techniques. The UAV Coach blog has a nice guide that walks you through the basic shots to master.
Get the gadget: Olloclip Filmer’s Kit
Kate Russell is a technology reporter for @BBCClick and author of Working the Cloud
Published in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)