In a matter of just a couple of years, drones have gone from being military weapons to borderline illegal toys to the latest wedding trend. The FAA was still finalizing rules for commercial use of the remote-control aircraft when breathtaking aerial videos of weddings began popping up on video sites last year. Already, some brides and grooms are considering such photography and videography a must-have. Before you decide to hire your own drone operator, you need to think about whether it will add to the occasion or crash the party.
As with any brand-new technology, drones are not exactly reliable yet, which is why videographers Jeremy and Jonathan Goode of Something Goode, in Knoxville, Tenn., don’t charge extra for their aerial footage, even though they’ve gotten pretty skilled at it in the past year.
“We don’t charge anybody for using our drones, and we don’t promise that we’ll use it,” Jeremy Goode told Yahoo Style. “Weather can have an effect on if we fly it or not … A lot of times we won’t be able to know until we get there.”
You’ve also got to have the right venue: “Wide open space is pretty important,” Goode noted. Trees and power lines are big obstacles, as are people. If the drone loses its GPS signal, it’s programmed to rise back into the air and then return to its starting point. “You have to be very picky about where you take off.”
Goode has found the venues themselves are pretty thrilled to allow them to fly the drones, though, because there’s nothing like a swooping aerial shot to sell a place for future weddings.
Operators also have to plan carefully for battery life — as most drones only last 20 minutes before they need to be recharged. Usually, the Goodes take their drone shots before the wedding even begins, capturing the venue, its surroundings, and the couple on their own. Receptions are trickier, especially since the cameras aren’t yet good in low-light situations.
Though some of the videos you’ll see on YouTube include shots of drones hovering close to the dance floor, most pros try to steer clear of people.
“I do not want to be the person who’s controlling a drone and puts the bride’s mother in the hospital,” said West Michigan based photographer Darren Breen, who just recently purchased a drone, as demand is on the rise. He’s planning to practice with it for a year before daring to offer the service to capture exterior shots at weddings.
Another important consideration is the noise — these are basically mini helicopters. “We also don’t use it during the ceremony at all,” Goode said. “It sounds like a flock of bees.”
That said, when a drone does swoop by guests during a ceremony or reception, they’re impressed. “People love it,” Goode said. “I don’t know if love is even the right word — it’s even more than that. When you start flying it, it’s almost like everybody stops. And they say to the bride and groom, you have a drone at your wedding? That is so awesome.”
Also keep in mind that you won’t want the sound from your buzzy drone videos, so the videographers will work with you to find the perfect soundtrack for those soaring shots. “The songs are one of the most important parts of the videos, because everything flows through the music,” he said.
The finished product, done well, is a touching trailer for your real-life fairy tale.