Who says RC helicopters are used strictly for fun and games? While most hobbyists fly them for recreational purposes, RC quadcopters especially are now being used for aerial photography in weddings.
According to the widely popular wedding website TheKnot.com, couples spent an average of $2,440 on wedding photography in 2013, up from $2,379 in 2012. While floral arrangements, cake and most other wedding-related items must be thrown away after the ceremony, photos are immortal. This has prompted many couples to go the extra mile with wedding photography, some of whom even hire photographers who are experienced in using RC helicopters and drones.
You might be wondering why photographers would even consider the use of RC helicopters in weddings. After all, aren’t traditional cameras enough to do the job? Sure, you can always take photos from the ground, but attaching a camera to an RC quadcopter offers a truly stunning and unique perspective that can’t be achieved elsewhere. It allows photographers to capture photos of the bride and groom from a completely new angle – something that hasn’t been done up until now.
Not only can you film the wedding and the surrounding area, but your quadcopter can even be used to deliver the wedding ring, as is shown in the video below.
0:38 in the video is when the rings were actually delivered to the best man:
Preparing to Film Your Own Wedding with a Quadcopter
If you hire someone in the US to do the aerial photography, technically they are supposed to get permission from the FAA (because they would be using a RC helicopter for “commercial purposes”). You can get around this by having a family member or someone in your group of friends doing the filming. Just make sure you are following all applicable laws. To get prepared, follow these steps:
1 – Get your flying skills down with an inexpensive quadcopter. If you’ve never flown an RC helicopter, you need to spend time practicing with a model like the BLADE Nano QX RTF Quadcopter. It gets great reviews, and can be flown in a small room. It has 2 flight modes – the SAFE Mode will stabilize the copter automatically until you’ve mastered flight basics.
Then you can go into “Agility Mode” for faster flying and more maneuvers. It’s also light weight and has a rugged design, which makes it withstand some crashes.
2 – Get the right equipment. Once you are confident with flying, you will need to move up to a better quadcopter model, along with camera equipment for aerial photography. Considering the amounts quoted above for wedding expenses, you shouldn’t balk at spending $1,000-$2,000 for the proper quadcopter/camera equipment for your wedding, so that you you have good quality videos to preserve your memories. You also need a gimbal camera mount to get the best videos.
Rather than purchasing a quadcopter, camera, and gimbal mount separately, the Blade 350 QX3 AP combo package shown above, is an excellent copter to use for your aerial wedding photography.
It comes with everything you need in one box. It has a SAFE Technology which creates a Circle barrier that prevents the aircraft from flying too close to the pilot. It uses GPS and altitude sensors to precisely hold your position in a hover. There is even a Return Home function that will land the aircraft for you.
This quadcopter package comes with a camera and gimbal mount, which keeps the camera focused on the area you want, no matter which way the aircraft moves or pans around.
There are also several flight modes available:
Smart Mode is for first-time flyers, and will move the copter to whatever direction the control stick is pushed.
The AP (Aerial Photography) Mode will give experienced pilots more control, and will allow steeper angles and fast panning shots of your wedding.
Alternate Flight Modes are programmed for experienced quadcopter pilots who have mastered the basics and are ready for more aggressive response and aerobatic flight.
This quadcopter gets great reviews and is highly recommend for beginners to experts.
The video below shows camera views from the Blade 350 QX3 AP in flight. You can see the videographer experimenting with the camera views and angles, adjusting the lens, etc.
Also note how easy it is to keep this copter in a stable hover, while the camera lens is maneuvered for filming different areas; and how smoothly it lands:
In comparisons with the popular DJI Phantom quadcopter, the Blade 350 QX3 performed just as well – both models are about the same price.