Web-tactics was hired to take aerial drone photos of Providence Place at Ingleside - an exceptional 55-plus active adult independent living and retirement community located on a scenic hilltop in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
As far as the indoor drone photography shoots goes, this was most definitely one of the more challenging ones. They wanted to capture the beauty of their surroundings in the unique way that only a drone can achieve. Our drone shoot included photographing their historic building, cloister gardens, and the inside of their beautiful Chapel.
Understand the Environment
Photographing the inside of their majestic chapel, which is the centerpiece of Providence Mother House, home and congregational seat of the Sisters of Providence, presented many challenges. The historic statues, windows, lights, and religious items are irreplaceable. The Sisters of Providence Chapel is 135 feet long, 50 feet wide and 60 feet high. The columns and arches are made of tooled-cast stone and its side walls feature panels of rouge antique marble and 10-foot high wainscoting.
The size of the Chapel, along with the historic nature of everything inside it, required us to fly using two Visual Observers at all times. We used our DJI Mavic 2 Pro, because it is a smaller drone, which is critical when flying indoors. We put our drone in Tripod Mode, and flew very slow and methodical, to make sure that we were flying at the absolute minimum speed for the drone, to watch altitude climbing closely. We also turned off GPS and Return to Home mode. With the drone’s collision avoidance system disabled, airflow was a major concern.
Know Your Drone - Inside & Out
We flew in ATTI Mode - when you fly inside in ATTI Mode your drone will move around in the hover, because it is not perfectly balanced and there are air currents inside buildings. The drone will also take longer to stop.The props cause a lot of air movement, and the airflow inside the Chapel was impeded when we flew close to the walls, which affected the lift of our drone, so we avoided flying close to the walls as much as possible. It was very important for us not to fly too close to the 60 foot high ceiling to counter any changes in the altitude up during the operation.
Factor the Invisibles
When you fly inside especially as you get higher, the downdraft from the drone can stir up things that you may not be able to see from the ground, such as dust or debris, which may hit your drone. It’s important to remember that if you get too close to a ceiling the prop wash can suck the drone up.
The Chapel also had many reflective surfaces, statues and stained glass windows, so it was very important that we not ruin our shots by showing the drone pilot’s reflection while shooting.
One of the biggest problems you’ll encounter when operating inside is magnetic interference. It can cause massive issues for your drone and result in flyaways and other accidents. For this reason, you’ll want to know the proper settings to optimize your drone’s performance when flying inside. This will include turning off the sensors, obstacle avoidance and visual positioning. It will also include foregoing IMU and compass calibration. Essentially, you’ll want to turn off anything that diminishes your control or automates the drone’s movement. Flying indoors requires precision and you’ll want to make sure you have as much control over your drone as possible.
Master the Stick
The two best skills you can develop when flying indoors are how to be gentle on the sticks, and understanding drone orientation. I watch many new pilots struggle with their flights because they are far too aggressive on the sticks. Full throttle into the sky, all left or right turns and crash into the wall. One of the hardest things to do with a drone when manually flying is simply to hover in place. Safely operating a drone indoors not only relies on entering the correct settings, but it also depends on the skill of the pilot and additional precautionary measures that the pilot chooses to use.The dangers of drone flight are magnified in an indoor space because of increased chances of crashing and the potential to cause heavy injury or personal damage.
Only the most experienced, FAA certified Drone Pilot should fly indoors. Indoor flights are great but pilots must ensure they are done in the right manner. If you are content with flying indoors, ensure you go for the right drone. To avoid unnecessary accidents, stick to your comfort zone and maintain your personal capabilities.
All 6 Tips Summarized
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We routinely work on a variety of commercial drone photography shoots, and indoor real estate photography shoots all across Western Massachusetts. Please have a look at some of the drone photography services we've done or feel free if you're ready to work with Web-Tactics for your next amazing project.