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So... what IS a drone?

How heavy are they? How high do they go? Are they dangerous or hard to fly? These are a lot of questions that we get asked when we're in the field on a shoot. While these are great questions, we'd like to start by sharing more of the basics, beginning with what exactly a drone is. Many people have heard the term "drone" but it brings to mind a lot of various connotations or ideas.

A drone (also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle or "UAV") is a device that will fly without the use of a pilot or anyone physically being on board. These ‘aircraft’ can be controlled remotely using a remote control device by someone standing on the ground or by using computers that are on-board. This is why drone pilots are classified as "Certified Remote Pilots." UAV’s, in the beginning, were typically controlled by someone on the ground but as technology has advanced, more and more aircraft are being made with the aim of being controlled via on-board computers.

The idea of a UAV can be traced back to early in the twentieth century and were originally intended to be solely used for military missions but have since found place in our everyday lives. Reginald Denny, who was a popular film star as well as an avid collector of model airplanes was said to produce the first ever remote piloted vehicle in 1935. Since this date, the aircraft have been able to adapt to new technologies and can now be found with cameras as well as other useful extras. As a result of this, UAVs are used for policing, security work and surveillance, and firefighting. They are even used by many companies to check on hard-to-reach assets, such as piping and wirework, adding an extra layer of safety and security.

The rise in popularity of these devices has, however, brought some negatives as well as positives, as new rules and regulations have had to be introduced to control the situation. As UAVs got stronger and technologies improved, it meant that they could fly higher and further away from the operator. This has led to some troubles with airport interference all over the world. In 2014, South Africa announced that they had to tighten security when it came to illegal flying in South African airspace. A year later, the US announced that they were holding a meeting to discuss the requirements of registering a commercial drone, or a drone used “in connection with a business.”

As well as the previously-mentioned uses, drones are now also used for surveillance of crops, tracking and accounting for animals in a certain area such as ranches or countryside, and keeping an eye over a crowd, among many others. Drones have managed to change the way that many industries are run and have also allowed many businesses to become more efficient. Drones have also helped to increase safety and also contribute when it comes to saving lives. Forest fires and natural disasters can be monitored using drones to alert the relevant agencies of anyone in need of assistance. The exact location of these events can also be found with ease thanks to advancements in GPS technology.

In addition to commercial uses, drones have also become a popular hobby for many people around the world. In the US, recreational use of such a device is legal; however, the owner has to take some precautions when attempting to fly. The aircraft must adhere to certain guidelines that have been defined by the Federal Aviation Administration; for example, a basic hobby-grade UAV cannot weigh more than 55 pounds. The drone should also avoid being used in a way that will interfere with airport operations, and if a drone is flown within five miles of an airport, the airport's air traffic control tower must be made aware beforehand. For more information on what constitutes hobby or commercial drone use, visit the FAA's "Drone Zone" website.

There are a variety of drones available in today's marketplace. Some are ready-to-fly options straight from manufacturers; others are built by hand by those who have highly specific desires for performance. Some are designed for smoothness and their ability to capture video footage or still images to be used in a variety of applications. Others are built for speed and aggressive maneuverability, useful in the increasingly popular world of drone racing.

Here at Remnant Co., we leverage the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, capable of capturing 4K aerial video, 20MP still images, and achieving speeds of nearly 45mph.

Want to know more? Leave a comment or send us a message. We'll be happy to help!


Based in Northwest Arkansas, Remnant Co. offers professional aerial imagery, including still images and stunning 4K video. Our pilots are all licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration and have the ability to be insured for any project, no matter how large or how small.

Whether your project involves cinematography, real estate, construction, or really whatever you can imagine, we can make your vision a reality. Email us today at to find out more.

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