What It Looks Like to Be A Commercial Drone Pilot During COVID-19

While we all adjust to these ongoing changes, it is interesting to see how different types of photographers and videographers have successfully adapted and continued their craft. Being a commercial drone pilot often requires a small team, and that team is often a part of a larger production. With film and video production studios beginning to get back to work, what it looks like behind the scenes on set is going to be different. 

I have some experience with working with drone pilots on set, but very little experience as a drone pilot myself. I always enjoy getting to see the process of these larger commercial drones, especially in difficult outdoor conditions. Working on a set with a director or producer over your shoulder is always a difficult task. Adding in the difficult location and all the COVID-19 concerns and requirements only make the job even harder. 

As Trent Palmer says: "it's a weird time to be a drone pilot." In this video, Palmer takes us behind the scenes on an automotive shoot for a new vehicle advertisement. He shows us some of the changes they have had to add to help prevent the spread of COVID while working. He also shows us some of the difficulties of flying drones at extreme heights up in the mountains as well as a little of what it is like to be a drone pilot on a major commercial shoot.

Palmer's YouTube channel is one of my go-to channels when I want to relax and live vicariously through another's hobbies. Primarily, it covers being a bush pilot and flying bush planes as a hobbyist, but as he is a professional drone pilot, he occasionally posts drone videos. When he does, they are extremely informative and showcase the higher end commercial side of flying drones. Of course, if you're like me, you probably won't be buying a small bush plane to go flying anytime soon, so I encourage you to check out his other videos and live vicariously through him as I do. Or if you are are a bush pilot, then message me because I want to go flying. 

Michael DeStefano's picture

Michael DeStefano is a commercial/editorial photographer focusing on Outdoor Lifestyle and Adventure. Based in Boston, MA he combines his passion for outdoor sports like climbing and surfing into his work. When not traveling or outdoors he is often found geeking out over new tech gadgets.

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Oh look, another failure of the R5 and a director who just wanted his way and said "Oh it's an awesome camera", getting sick of these morons pushing the garbage R5 for stuff it is not designed for.

My heart sank when I saw the Freefly drone take a tumble and get damaged, OMG... Though I must admit, surprised the Inspire 2 handled as well as it did...

The old adage of use the right tool for the right job was perfectly exemplified in this video, and it showed the R5 is NOT the right tool for this kind of job, or pretty much any cinematography job.

Traveled all that way to replace a RED with a R5, then to put a long lens of another setup. Mr director had me on pins and needles, but good job working with the project.