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Why Your Drone Pre-Flight Checklist Should Go Beyond the Basics for Your Video Productions

Drone technology has revolutionized the world of videography, enabling filmmakers and content creators to capture stunning aerial shots that were previously only possible with expensive helicopters or cranes. However, flying a drone and capturing great footage is not as simple as it may seem. It requires careful planning, attention to detail, and adherence to safety protocols to ensure a successful and incident-free flight. One of the most crucial aspects of drone operation is the pre-flight checklist.

While it may require additional time and effort, investing in a thorough pre-flight checklist pays off in terms of improved footage quality, reduced risks, and overall professionalism.

While most drone operators are aware of the importance of a pre-flight checklist, many tend to focus only on the basics, such as battery levels, propeller integrity, and GPS signal strength. While these elements are indeed essential, a comprehensive pre-flight checklist should go beyond the basics to ensure optimal video production and mitigate potential risks. In this article, we will explore why your drone pre-flight checklist should go beyond the basics for your video productions.

Ensuring Legal Compliance

One of the primary reasons for extending your pre-flight checklist beyond the basics is to ensure legal compliance. Drone regulations and restrictions vary from country to country and even within different regions. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your area and ensure that you comply with them before each flight.

Some of the legal aspects to consider include airspace restrictions, permits or authorizations required for certain locations, and compliance with privacy laws. By incorporating these elements into your pre-flight checklist, you can avoid potential legal issues and operate your drone within the boundaries of the law.

Assessing Environmental Factors

Environmental factors play a significant role in determining the success and safety of your drone flight. While basic checks like wind speed and weather conditions are essential, a comprehensive pre-flight checklist should delve deeper into the assessment of environmental factors.

Consider factors such as the presence of electromagnetic interference (EMI), radio frequency interference (RFI), and magnetic interference that could affect the performance of your drone’s sensors, compass, or communication systems. Additionally, evaluate the presence of obstacles, both natural and man-made, that may hinder your flight or pose a risk to the safety of people or property.

Fine-tuning Camera Settings

To capture breathtaking aerial footage, it’s essential to fine-tune your camera settings. While many drones come with automatic camera settings, relying solely on them may not always yield the desired results. By incorporating camera setup and optimization into your pre-flight checklist, you can take full control of your footage and achieve professional-grade results.

Adjust settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation to suit the specific lighting conditions and desired cinematic effects. Experimenting with these settings during the pre-flight stage allows you to familiarize yourself with the drone’s camera capabilities and make necessary adjustments for your video production requirements.

Testing Video Transmission

Video transmission is a critical aspect of drone operations, especially when capturing footage in real-time or using first-person view (FPV) goggles. To avoid unexpected video dropouts or signal loss during the flight, it’s essential to test the video transmission system as part of your pre-flight checklist.

Ensure that the video feed from the drone’s camera is stable, clear, and free from artifacts. Test the range and stability of the video transmission system by flying the drone in various directions and distances while monitoring the video feed. Identifying any issues with video transmission beforehand allows you to address them and avoid disruptions during your video production.

Planning Flight Paths

Another aspect of the pre-flight checklist that goes beyond the basics is flight path planning. Instead of relying solely on manual control during the flight, consider utilizing automated flight modes or waypoint navigation systems to optimize your shots and improve the overall quality of your video production.

Plan your flight path carefully, taking into account the desired shots, points of interest, and any specific movements or trajectories you want to capture. By programming the drone to follow a predefined path, you can achieve smoother and more precise camera movements, eliminating the risk of shaky or inconsistent footage.

Utilize features such as Point of Interest (POI) mode, which allows the drone to circle around a specific subject or location, or Follow Me mode, which enables the drone to track and capture footage of a moving target. These automated flight modes not only enhance the quality of your shots but also contribute to a more efficient and controlled flight experience.

Checking Battery Performance

Battery performance is a basic aspect of any pre-flight checklist, but it is worth emphasizing its importance. While most drone batteries provide an estimated flight time, it is essential to account for other variables that can affect battery performance.

Consider factors such as weather conditions (e.g., low temperatures can reduce battery efficiency), payload weight (e.g., additional camera equipment), and flight maneuvers (e.g., aggressive flying or high-speed movements consume more battery power). By factoring in these variables and checking the battery performance beyond a simple voltage level, you can ensure a safe and uninterrupted flight without the risk of a mid-air battery failure.

Assessing Emergency Procedures

No matter how thorough your pre-flight checklist is, unexpected situations may arise during drone operations. Therefore, it is crucial to include emergency procedures as part of your pre-flight preparations.

Familiarize yourself with the drone’s emergency features, such as Return-to-Home (RTH) function or manual landing options. Understand how to initiate these procedures in case of a lost signal, low battery, or any other critical situation. Additionally, have a plan in place for handling emergencies such as sudden weather changes, equipment malfunctions, or unexpected obstacles. By proactively considering these scenarios and preparing for them, you can minimize potential risks and ensure the safety of your equipment, yourself, and others.


In conclusion, a comprehensive pre-flight checklist that goes beyond the basics is crucial for optimizing your drone operations and video productions. By extending your checklist to include legal compliance, environmental assessments, camera settings, video transmission tests, flight path planning, battery performance checks, and emergency procedures, you ensure a safer and more successful flight experience.

While it may require additional time and effort, investing in a thorough pre-flight checklist pays off in terms of improved footage quality, reduced risks, and overall professionalism. So, before you embark on your next drone video production, make sure to go beyond the basics and incorporate these essential elements into your pre-flight preparations. Happy flying and capturing stunning aerial shots!

Rob Haller 314-604-6544 stlouisdrones@gmail.com

Create Accurate Industry Reports with our Drone services.

Drone Mapping for Mining & Quarries – Stockpile Inventory Management
Make planning and fulfillment decisions with more accurate, timely information to avoid waste and recognize revenue faster. Measure stockpiles more often for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. Report the total quantity and value of materials on site. Export all drone data easily to your recording systems.

Aerial Site Intelligence for Surveying & Construction
Site Surveys – Turn aerial images into new Business Insights. Understand what’s happening and make better decisions with drone data. Track and communicate progress at any stage.

St Louis Construction Drone Crews

Insurance Inspections Better Data – In Dramatically Less Time!
Whether you’re inspecting a new building or investigating an insurance claim, it’s important to capture accurate data quickly. Drone mapping is a powerful new tool for inspection — allowing you to safely and easily capture a high-resolution aerial view of a site in minutes.

Drone Mapping for Mining & Quarries – Stockpile Inventory Management
Make planning and fulfillment decisions with more accurate, timely information to avoid waste and recognize revenue faster. Measure stockpiles more often for a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

Roofing Inspections
Accurately Generate Roof Reports & Models! Roof reports provide square footage, roof features, pitch, surface area, and slope.

Back in the office, or out in the field, it’s easy to analyze your aerial high-fidelity reconstructions of sites, make measurements and share comments to help you make better and faster decisions.

Robert Haller, Drone Specialist

Commercial strip mall drone video crew.

Using a drone allows you to show the full action in real-time as opposed to a sequence of shots edited to mimic the action, it’s basically like adding a third dimension. This alone makes it a great way for a business to showcase their products; particularly in industries like agriculture, construction, commercial real estate, sports and any other situation that can be enhanced by taking advantage of this new and increasingly popular way to capture video.

Robert Haller, Drone Specialist

3D Orthomosaic Mapping and FLIR Thermal Imaging

Orthomosaic Imagery

Drone Aerial Mapping

Map out your manufacturing plant, or your property to check for elevation, draining or highlight specific areas and show them in 3D.

Othomosaic is perfect for all of the above.  It consolidates numerous pictures into a single, highly detailed one you can zoom in on any part.

Drone Infrared and Thermal Imaging

We’re sUAS Thermography Level I certified and can provide you the drone infrared photos and/or videos of your plant location of property

Matrice 200 SUV Drone

Obstacle Avoidance – A robust Flight Autonomy system with front, bottom and upper sensors detects and avoids obstacles while enabling precision hovering so that you can fly with confidence.

Anti-Collision Beacon

Equipped with new top and bottom anti-collision beacons, the V2 drones are visible at night or in lowlight conditions, making operation in less than ideal conditions safer.

DJI AirSense

With a built-in ADS-B receiver, the DJI AirSense technology enhances airspace safety by automatically providing the operator with real-time information about nearby airplanes and helicopters.

Thermal FLIR

Join our next generation of commercial drone solutions with the XT2.

Pairing the FLIR Tau 2 thermal sensor and 4K visual camera with

DJI’s leading stabilization and machine intelligence technology,

the XT2 quickly transforms aerial data into powerful thermal insights

that save time, money – and lives.


Create Orthomosaic Maps

Orthomosaics are large, map-quality images made by combining aerial photos that have been orthorectified, or corrected for lens distortion, camera tilt, perspective, and topographic relief.


Use our drone imagery to generate high-resolution 2D maps and 3D models.  We’ll capture aerial images ideal for your type of project, process and generate orthomosaic maps and 3D models, and allow you to use your maps to measure distance, area, and volume.

Give your golf course a Drone check-up!

The green shows the healthy areas of the course.  The yellow areas document the unhealthy areas that need attention.  The red areas show vegetation dormancy, roads, dirt and buildings.

Our NDVI Drone camera has the ability to decipher differences of up to three-hundredths of a degree Celsius. The thermal image is then scaled down to a narrow temperature spectrum and a color palate is applied to assess the variation.
With these images, you can see the problem areas of the golf course, and then go out and address these specific areas.

Call us today to review your project requirements.

Robert Haller, Drone Specialist

St Louis Aerial Video and Photography | Drone Specialists

We specialize in unique story telling through aerial media & virtual reality video production.

We work with ad agencies, real estate developers, marketing agencies, and film/video producers.

Safety is our number one priority, we FAA Safe To Fly.  We are 333 Exempt, Registered Part 107 and fully insured.

We also have full video editing and video production capabilities to create some rather remarkable finished videos, including on-camera talent, voice-overs, music, animation and type on screen.

Two person flight crew drone aerial photography.

Two person flight crew drone aerial photography.

Robert Haller, St Louis Video Producer

St Louis Drone Photographer

Drone aerial photography from St Louis Drones provides high quality Drone and ground photography and video services for virtually anyone needing a bird’s eye view.  We operate throughout St Louis, Missouri and Southwestern Illinois.

We work by examining your visual media needs from a marketing perspective and providing you with photographs that are designed to bring customers and clients from the internet to your door. Utilizing drone photography we are also able to provide you with the unique perspective offered by low level aerial imaging.

St Louis Drones is fully insured and FAA Certified for Commercial Drone operations.


Robert Haller, St Louis Video Producer

St Louis Aerial Video Production – Drones in Luxury Home Marketing

Using drone videos and photos to market your properties shows prospective sellers that you take advantage of every opportunity to make their property look awesome – and to stand out.

The visual advantages of camera drones have most impacted the way that expensive luxury homes are presented on the MLS and on agent’s websites.

Buyers of multi-million dollar homes often shop online first, so they expect high-quality photography and video in the online listing or they won’t bite.

It’s hard to argue that in the luxury property market, drone photography has upped the real estate marketing game in a big way.

St Louis Drone Video and Photography for Million Dollar Homes.

St Louis Drone Video and Photography for Luxury Homes.

Whether it’s to highlight the waterfront view, a gorgeous garden, or a really cool swimming pool, aerial drone photography captures the beauty and the utility of a home far better than ground-based photography or video can.

Rob Haller