Frequently Asked Questions
Stockpile and Volumetric Measurements
Real Estate & Construction
Wind Turbine and Transmission Line Inspection
Wedding and Video Production
Why Use a Drone Services Company?
Customers, large and small, notoriously start the conversation by asking, “Can’t we just buy our own drone and do this ourselves?” Many have experimented, some have crashed and the majority have concluded that flying drones to collect actionable data is not their core business and without specialized knowledge have gotten poor and in some cases unusable results. The perceived simplicity of some solutions especially cloud-based options where one just presses a button and the drone and software to all the work are very misleading. Some of the many reasons to use a Drone Services Provider include:
Skill: Despite many advances in the capabilities of drone technology, the fact remains that flying drones Safely and Responsibly is a learned skill and our pilots who fly drones on a daily basis are clearly better than those that fly only intermittently.
Safety: Protecting property, assets and people are of utmost importance to all. Reducing the potential of catastrophic consequence from a drone mishap with proper training, equipment maintenance and situational/environmental knowledge is of critical importance.
Software – Keeping current with drone software updates on the drone equipment, which occur frequently, are essential to flying safely and responsibly.
Data Processing – Collecting high quality aerial images is just the beginning. Converting these images into finished products requires significant skills and expensive photogrammetry and editing software combined with powerful and costly computing resources.
Resource Optimization – In most companies, employee’s plates are usually pretty full. At an early stage of adoption, is adding “drone guy/gal” to their job description the most efficient use of resources?
Equipment – Not only selecting the right equipment, sensors/cameras and software for your intended tasks but then using it frequently enough to get the value from your purchase is challenging in a market where the equipment is experiencing rapid technological change. Utilizing a drone services provider mitigates the equipment obsolesce risk and significantly lowers your upfront capital outlays.
Regulatory Compliance – The FAA has a plethora of rules and regulations that one must adhere to in order to operate drones for commercial purposes. Both understanding all of their rules and then complying with them is a significant undertaking.
Insurance – Most commercial insurance policies exclude aviation risk. A company operating drones for commercial purposes requires separate aviation insurance coverage.
Try Before You Buy: Understanding how to integrate aerial data into your company’s existing workflow takes time, experimentation and often involves running both processes in parallel.
Why Choose Austin Aerial Media?
Austin Aerial Media was founded in late 2011 and has quickly become one of the leading national drone services companies, working with enterprise customers throughout the United States - collecting, processing and extracting real value out of aerial data.
Expertise – Austin Aerial Media is led by professionals that have long established history in drone technology. We have assembled a team of experts with complementary skills and expertise to deliver a high value, complete solution to enterprise organizations.
Client Service – at a time where many companies are trying to figure out how and where “drones fit”, Austin Aerial Media delivers a best of breed, consultative solution, tailored to your company’s workflow, personnel and IT systems. We have learned what works and conversely what doesn’t and consistently deliver this expertise to our clients from project inception through completion.
Photogrammetry – While collecting aerial images and/or video is cool, in most cases stitching these images together to create 3D models can yield significantly greater value. Austin Aerial Media has assembled a team of professionals who are photogrammetry experts and industry leaders in stockpile volumetric measurement, topography, 3D mapping, land survey, among others.
National Footprint – Austin Aerial Media serves clients throughout the United States.
Data Consistency – No matter if we are delivering images, video, topography, volumetric or inspection reports Austin Aerial Media is keenly focused on the importance of consistent and reliable data. We work closely with clients to both define requirements and then deliver this data in a manner that most efficiently fits into your organization’s IT systems and workflow. Austin Aerial Media has the flexibility to adapt to unique business requirements and use cases in a manner that becomes standardized and repeatable.
Subject Matter Experts – Being a valued drone services company requires far more that knowing how to fly a drone. Austin Aerial Media has assembled teams of experts who bring insightful and deep expertise in aerial data acquisition, photogrammetry, 3D modeling, mapping, GIS, volumetric reporting and significant domain specific expertise in the industries of our clients.
Stockpile and Volumetric Measurements
How does accuracy with drone imaging compare with traditional measurement methods?
Drones consistently are able to deliver highly accurate stockpile measurements. In most cases as accurate or more accurate than traditional methods. We have measured thousands of stockpiles with drone imaging. On average we have seen about 1-2% variance in volumes. We initially believed that to be the case, and now empirically have the documentation to support that.
How does Austin Aerial Media achieve survey grade accuracy?
Achieving survey grade accuracy does not just happen because you bought a new drone and some fancy software. Establishing ground control points, high quality cameras, accurate geo-referenced images, appropriate image overlap are just a few of the many factors that influence a projects true accuracy. The perceived simplicity of some solutions, especially cloud-based options where one just uploads images and out comes a 3D map has the potential to lead to some very poor and unintended results. Be sure that you work with professionals who understand all of these variables and can reliably and consistently deliver true survey grade accuracy.
How long does it take to get our volume data?
Drone image data is processed quickly, with customized volumetric reports delivered to clients within 24 – 48 hours.
How Does Drone Measurement of Stockpile Volumes Actually Work?
There are several component parts of this process. Namely, (1) capture the image data (2) photogrammatic processing (3) customized volumetric reporting (4) data storage
1. Aerial Data Capture: Austin Aerial Media works with our client’s team to define requirements – target project area/boundaries, stockpiles for volume measurements, contours and topographic mapping, establishment of ground control points, additional photo/video imaging, etc.
- FAA Site Specific clearances are obtained, if necessary (checking for proximity to airports and/or other restricted areas)
- Appropriate and safe drone take off and landing area is identified and secured
- Austin Aerial Media trained and FAA certified pilot reviews established flight plan, performs safety checks and flies the drone mission capturing the requisite images and associated geo-spatial data
2. Photogrammetric Processing: The images are processed in proprietary photogrammetric software platform, stitching the images together into a 3D model
3. Customized Volumetric Reporting: Austin Aerial Media works closely with our client’s team to perform the volumetric computations and customize the volumetric reporting including specific stockpile naming conventions and density/weight conversions
4. Data Storage: Each time our drones fly a site and capture images large data files are created. Austin Aerial Media manages all of the associated IT data storage in highly secure servers while allowing for easy retrieval, as needed.
I am interested in site planning and topographic mapping. Does Austin Aerial Media do this?
In addition to customized volumetric stockpile reports additional reports can be produced and/or downloaded, including: contour and elevation maps, digital surface models, orthomosaic, 3D mesh and point clouds files. Efficiently, accurately and cost effectively getting detailed topographic maps can help with site planning, production forecasting and give a holistic view and more timely understanding of what is going on.
Where are drones best suited for mapping projects?
Projects of approximately 5 - 500 acres where field survey crews would spend multiple days or weeks in the field collecting data.
What deliverables can I expect to receive?
Our trained team of professionals set ground control points, captures all of the requisite aerial imaging data, processes it and delivers with survey grade accuracy. Clients can choose to receive orthomosaics, topographic maps, digital elevation models (DEM), contour maps, digital terrain models (DTM), 3D models and high definition aerial photos and videos.
Can Austin Aerial Media produce a high resolution aerial picture of our property?
Yes. Many clients like to periodically receive high-resolution aerial photography and videography of their properties for marketing and other purposes. Be sure to let us know in advance as this often requires us to bring additional cameras and equipment.
Real Estate & Construction
How often do you recommend drone flights over our construction site?
This will vary greatly based on your intended use(s) of the imaging. Some companies choose to fly multiple times each day, others choose to do so on a weekly or monthly basis. At a minimum, we recommend capturing imaging at key project milestone points from inception through the project's completion.
Can Austin Aerial Media perform inspections of the tall cranes on our construction sites?
Absolutely. That is a perfect use as we are able to get highly detailed imaging without the need to someone to climb to do this mandatory inspection.
Can Austin Aerial Media create a time lapsed series of our construction project?
Yes with the obvious caveat that we need to be part of the project from inception in order to take the requisite images throughout the project. We can also create a time lapsed 3D model to integrate into your BIM process.
Wind Turbine and Transmission Line Inspection
At what stage of a wind turbines life cycle are drones best suited for their inspection?
Throughout the entire life of a wind turbine there are many critical points where high definition drone images and video bring tremendous value and results. These include: Post blade installation and validation; commission inspection before the turbine is put into service; periodic in service blade inspections; end of warranty inspections; end of maintenance contract inspections; event drive inspections from ice, hail, lightening damage; scheduled and unscheduled maintenance; general performance optimizations studies; among other.
Can Austin Aerial Media respond quickly in emergency situations?
Despite efforts to properly inspect and maintain wind turbines, from time to time catastrophic structural failures occur. Austin Aerial Media has shown that having timely drone pictures and videos of the impacted area is invaluable to facilitating quick damage assessment, better understanding root cause of failure and establishing a safe remediation and repair plan. We are typically able to mobilize and arrive on site within 24 hours, or sooner as the situation necessitates.
How do drones improve safety for cell tower inspections?
OSHA, the National Institute of Safety and Health, and the communications construction industry universally agree that there are too many fatalities every year from workers falling from telecommunications towers. Cell tower inspections performed by drones and lidar greatly reduces the need for tower climbers in many situations and thus greatly improves safety and saves lives.
What kind of cell tower inspection reports can I expect?
From aerial drone imaging and laser scanning we are able to provide the most thorough cell tower inspection reporting in the market. We offer: Survey and Topography; As-Built Scanning; Antenna Information (plumbness, azimuth, down tilt); 3D modeling; Aerial photography (still photo and video). We have the ability to create point-cloud images that can be used in conjunction with AutoCAD to capture all existing conditions and identify the elevation and dimensions of the entire cell tower matched with aerial photography. The use of the latest technology allows the creation of 3D models with a 360-degree visualization, as well as stored accessible data for current and future use.
Wedding and Video Production
What sets Austin Aerial Media apart from other Wedding Videographers?
1) Producing the best quality product we possibly can, and 2) Excellent Customer Service. What that means is that we don't want to just shoot footage from your wedding day, we want to tell the story of who you are, how you fell in love, and the beauty of your relationship. We want to do it in a way that is cinematic and beautiful, and we want you to be exceedingly pleased with the result.
We want your video to feel like a feature film and for you and the viewer to be pulled into that story. Consequently we shoot footage using cinema techniques such as shooting on large sensor cameras with fast lenses to get beautiful close-ups with a shallow depth of field. We utilize professional, electronic camera stabilizers and cranes in addition to tripods to produce smooth camera movement (no shaky footage) that creates a very cinematic look and feel. We also use drone video footage to capture Hollywood style angles for excellent location shots. We edit your footage in a way that is artistic and beautiful, set to the music of your choice.
What is a Cinematic Video?
Cinematic editing entails choosing different shots, music, and other elements to tell a story and add emphasis, drama, etc. All of our videos are edited in this style. Typically our videos are cut together like a movie trailer - they aren't as long as the actual event, but integrate key highlights. For example, highlight videos are typically around 5 minutes in length, even though the ceremony may have been 35 minutes in length. Also, in some cases like the Wedding Party Entrance or First Dance Highlight Video, the cinematic style video may be as long or longer than the actual event because we are editing in other footage from the day to illustrate the character of different members of your wedding party, or we are editing in different footage from the day that matches the lyrics of the song for the first dance and shows the bride and groom caring for each other, etc.
What is a Highlight Reel?
A Highlight Reel is a short film that focuses on the "highlights" and tells the story of your event. Also you can post it to YouTube, Vimeo and other online video services to share with friends and family.
Do I really need a videographer if I have photographer?
It depends on how important it is to you to have your wedding documented – to be able to re-live and share your wedding day with family and friends, now and into the future. If it is, a wedding video is one of the best possible ways to capture your special day. Still photos – while a crucial element for almost every wedding – only convey a single moment. A wedding video on the other hand, records all the detail that is missed between photographs, as well as the emotion and joy of the day. The amount of happiness that your wedding DVD will bring you, both immediately and into the future, makes it a must-have for any couple. The choice is yours...
Won't the Drone be noisy and disturb our guests?
Our drone work is done before and after your ceremony. During your ceremony we use a small portable crane to capture aerial shots quietly. We never want to disturb your guests so we stay out of the way and discretely capture the candid moments.
How long until I can expect to receive the completed DVDs?
If you’ve ordered a highlights, we try to get this to you as soon as possible (generally uploaded within 2 weeks of your wedding). For other edits, and your final package, you should expect to receive it between 6-8 weeks after your wedding day. We are happy to arrange a rush service, however this may incur an additional fee.
Can we provide our own music to feature in the background of the video?
Yes – we’re more than happy to take suggestions. However, unless it is something extremely special to you, we cannot guarantee that we will use it. Music is an integral part of the story-telling process, and in order to tell your story effectively, we need to have full creative control. In addition, not every song can be used, due to copyright and legality issues. Rest assured, we’re good at finding beautiful, effective, licensed music to be used for your wedding videography.
Do you do record other types of events (quinceaneras, bar and bat mitzvahs, corporate videos, etc.)?
Absolutely. Please contact us for pricing and more information.