Hire a Drone Operator for Film & TV

Are you looking to hire a Drone Operator? The Sab Network is home to some of the most experienced Drone Operators. Follow, connect, hire and be inspired.

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What is a drone?

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are aircraft that don't have a human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are part of an unmanned aircraft system, including a ground-based controller and a communications system with the UAV.

A drone is essentially a flying robot that captures images.

What is a Drone Operator?

A Drone Pilot is in charge of flying a drone. Drone Pilots are also known as Remote Pilots because they fly drones from afar. A Drone Pilot directs the flight of a drone, ensuring that it takes off, stays on track, and lands safely. Drone Pilots also conduct safety tests, monitor vehicle performance, and examine the capabilities of drone systems. They may also be in charge of the drone's cameras or other equipment.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Check drones before a flight to ensure safe and proper operation
  • Analyse weather forecasts to ensure safe flights
  • Document pre-and post-flight logs
  • Monitor drones during flight
  • Plan drone flight routes
  • Navigate drones along designated paths 
  • Gather information or produce aerial photographs and capture video
  • Perform equipment testing, troubleshooting, and maintenance

Drone Operating in Photography/Filmmaking

Drone filming is revolutionising the way people make films and television programs.

Drone Services for Cinematography

Cinematography is the art of creating moving images. The transition from analogue to digital film marked a watershed moment in this technology. Although aerial cinematography is not new (pioneers simply attached cameras to kites), today's fascinating development is the usage of drone services for cinematography. Drone cinematography can be captured using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

Drone cinematography services are giving TV and film producers more innovative aerial filming alternatives at a reduced cost, and they're quickly becoming a must-have for production teams needing aerial views. Drones can be used in a variety of media, including television advertisements, corporate videos, and feature films. Drone cinematography services aid in the creation of unique footage.

Key Responsibilities of a Drone Operator:

  • Carefully Configuring The Drone and Camera
  • Carrying Out a Pre-Flight Checklist
  • Planing The Flight Shoots
  • Capturing Perfect Drone Footage
  • Paying Attention to Post-Production

Who do Drone Operators work with?

Drone footage can now be found in every movie, short film, TV show, and web series, from one-man-band travel vlogs on YouTube to billion-dollar blockbuster films on the big screen. Drone operators collaborate with directors, writers, and cinematographers to shoot cinema-quality aerial images for various projects, including feature films, commercials, documentaries, and behind-the-scenes stories.

What is the Background and Skills of a Drone Operator

To fly a drone, they need to have a Certificate and Licence provided by The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Operators who use drones for filmmaking must be aware of the aviation laws and regulations that apply to aerial filming in the location where they will be recording. Operators using drones for filming purposes must ensure they are familiar with aircraft legislation and procedures related to aerial filming in the location they'll be filming.

In advance of filming, they need to ensure that they have:

  • Permission from the owner or manager the land used for take-off and landing.
  • Appropriate control over the area you intend to use the drone. This will almost always need to include any persons or vehicles in the area.
  • Permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for Specific Category flights.

Other Skills and Competencies

  • Strong communication skills
  • Robust problem-solving abilities 
  • Excellent electronic and mechanical skills 
  • Expertise in multitasking 
  • Keen attention to detail 

Drone Photography/Filmmaking: what to consider

CAA Permission

A CAA Operational Authorisation is required for drone operators flying in the Specific Category. The flight's privileges and limitations are outlined in the Operational Authorisation document. Each Operational Authorisation is tied to a single drone operator. Operators may not need to apply to the CAA for each flight. Still, they must act under the terms of a pre-determined risk assessment, or their own risk assessment, that the CAA has agreed upon to acquire their Operational Authorisation.

Restricted Airspace

The drone operator is responsible for obtaining permission to fly within any restricted airspace area. Restricted areas are marked on aviation charts and listed in the UK Aeronautical Information Package (UK AIP). All forms of aircraft, manned and unmanned, are prohibited from flying within these zones. To get approval, the drone operator must go to the NATS website and request for Enhanced Non-Standard Flight clearance.

Privacy and Copyright

The Office of the Information Commissioner has released rules on privacy and the use of drones for filmmaking.


When flying drones to film in London, public liability insurance of at least £5 million will be necessary. This may need to be raised in some cases.

How Drone Photography Benefits Your Business

Is aerial photography right for your business? Drone media – both photos and video – create lasting impressions across a wide range of industries.

Drone movies and photographs are spectacular and still feel new and extraordinary, which means they're more likely to be shared on social media than regular shots.
Traditional photographs and tours frequently provide a limited, somewhat obstructed perspective of a location or structure. You can obtain a complete picture of the entire location using drones - no more trees in the way.

When compared to the alternatives, it's a bargain. It's so much easier to hire a drone photographer than it is to hire a helicopter to capture the same images! In addition to the area that focuses on your photoshoot.

Above all, the dramatic and incredibly cinematic views captured by a full drone shoot have been shown to elicit a deeper emotional response from viewers than traditional photography.

Here's what quality and compelling drone photography can help you achieve:

Real Estate

With high-quality drone images, you can highlight your listings and sell them faster. Aerial photography allows you to highlight a property's scope, distinctive characteristics, and location on real estate sales platforms and quickly stand out. We provide personalised aerial images from various heights and viewpoints to highlight the features that distinguish your property.


With clear overhead images, you can track your progress. Use aerial pictures in marketing materials to stimulate sales interest, engage shareholders, and highlight the construction process.

Special Events

Capture the scope and uniqueness of your event. Our Freelance Drone Operators provide on-location drone photography for weddings, races, outdoor events, and much more.

Why Hire a Drone Operator for Filmmaking/Photography?

Piloting a drone can be difficult, so consider if you should outsource it.

Our Freelance Drone Operators offer high-end drone filming. They have several certifications to ensure that they can work in built-up areas, along with rail and construction sites.

They aim to deliver drone filming and photography services to a wide range of projects, from one-day promotional shoots to feature film productions.

So whether you’re hiring a drone team for a feature film, commercial, TV series or promotional content, you can rest assured that The Sab Network will represent one less thing to worry about. The drone part of your shoot is in safe hands.

What Are the Benefits of Drone Filming?

Drones are lighter, more adaptable, often more intelligent, safer, and quieter than helicopters and cranes for overhead filming. They're also significantly less expensive in terms of both time and money.

Drone cinematography is a dynamic style of airborne filming that offers filmmakers various advantages:
  • Reduced cost for aerial footage compared to helicopters.
  • Filming in small or confined spaces helicopters cannot access.
  • Capture new perspectives outside the normal vision from the ground.
  • Capture many different things from the air, such as landscapes, sporting matches, and buildings.
  • More easily manoeuvred than cranes, cable cameras, or helicopters.
  • Much quieter than a chopper. Also, they cause less disruption on set as drones generate less downwash.
  • Much cheaper than using a helicopter.
  • Wide range  a drone cinematography videographer can cover sweeping shots from just a few feet up in the air to several hundred feet.
  • Fast set up. From arrival on the site, drones can be airborne in minutes.

See your vision brought to life like never before with drone filming services

  • Crystal clear aerial footage of your site.
  • Professional drone filming carried out by PFCO and CAA licensed pilots.
  • Flown by CSCS and PTS accredited staff, enabling them to access high-risk construction and rail sites.
  • High-end aerial photography services.

What is the cost of hiring a Drone Operator for Filmmaking/Photography?

Drone photography services do not have a set price. Please discuss your requirements directly with the member and they will provide you with costings.

Why Choose The Sab Network to hire your Drone Operator?

The Sab Network is the place to go if you're looking for an award-winning team that has shown to be loyal, trustworthy, and capable. The Sab Network is an invitation-only network of industry experts who can assist you with all of your production needs.

Customers don't have to sift through CVs because they're already proven to be reliable, experienced and produce outstanding results. It gives you confidence in their ability to do the task. We understand how difficult it can be to locate suitable individuals who can match our clients' needs. Our purpose is to assist you in achieving your goals!

The Sab Network specialist drone pilots can help you deliver high end results in the toughest and restricted conditions.

Please contact us if you have any queries about how The Sab Network works or would like to discuss any element of hiring freelancers.