We have structured our processes to maximize efficiency, safety, and quality of work for both ourselves and our clients.
Step 1: Airspace Check and Cost Estimate
We will evaluate the airspace around the shooting location and determine whether the flight is feasible within the desired timeframe. During this stage, we advise our clients of any arrangements that must be made with air traffic authorities, and how long it will take to secure any required authorizations. Then we estimate our work cost based on travel time, duration of shooting, and post-processing time.
Hover Solutions, LLC, is working with the FAA to secure long-term flight authorizations for airports around our service area, in order to ensure we can provide our customers with timely services without having to wait on the Federal Aviation Administration. For information about flying inside the Washington, DC Flight Restricted Zone, please Click Here.
Step 2: Customer Vision
We make sure we understand what our customer needs, whether it's photos or photogrammetry. We ask for shot lists, light considerations, and time-of-day requirements. We make sure we understand what our client's end-product needs to look like. For video and photography, we confirm resolutions, framerates, and file formats. For photogrammetry and mapping, we'll make sure our final product can be exported in a format usable by our client's preferred software. We may re-issue our cost estimate following this stage.
Step 3: Contracting and Pre-Work
Once we've reached an understanding with our client, we'll send them a licensing agreement to define both parties' uses of the final product. Alternatively, we'll read and sign the client's contract. At that point, we begin laying the groundwork for the mission, including obtaining waivers or authorizations, examining the filming locations, testing experimental payload configurations, practicing specific maneuvers, or even visiting the flight location to scout for potential hazards and sources of interference.
Step 4: Setup, Operation, and Takedown
We bring our equipment ready to work, but we must still perform a pre-flight inspection, including a short test flight, with each of our drones before operating, especially when operating near people. Although we often do single-operator missions, we prefer to work in teams of two. We calibrate our drones before each new section of the flight, and after every battery change, to ensure the best possible performance and reliability. Afterward, we land in a safe location, put our drones in travel mode, and confer with our clients. Clients have the option of reviewing our footage--time allowing--and requesting any re-shoots.
Step 5: Post-Processing and Storage
We use Adobe Creative Cloud for most of our post-processing, and Pix4D for photogrammetry. Our editors are experienced with Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro. If we've entered into a contract with our client, we usually deliver the final product electronically (otherwise, we have to charge a 6% sales tax on the whole job, at least in the state of Maryland). If there's no contract, we send our client watermarked proofs at a reduced resolution until payment has been processed.
Unless otherwise required by our client, we store all our footage in cloud backups for a year, and then archive them on local hard drives for another year.