Drone Filming in Manchester

Marketing Manchester contacted us on behalf of a Chinese production company to provide drone footage for a documentary about Manchester. LUNAR just loves cityscapes and having a real soft spot for this northwest city, we were more happy to be involved with this project. 

Flying a drone in congested areas isn’t straightforward especially if we are looking at a busy city: extra care is needed in choosing the take-off/landing area to ensure we fly within Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and legal guidelines as well getting the best vantage points for our client.  After a study of the map and a recce of the city, we gave the client a choice of several locations; they chose Albert Square in the heart of Manchester and Media City and Salford Quays. 

We quickly got to work gaining relevant permissions from the landowners and Manchester City Council. As well as the usual safety checks we had to demonstrate that we would comply with any privacy guidelines and rules.

There's always a concern that we can't fly in congested areas because of CAA rules around safety distances from building and people. In this case there wasn't a problem. And if there had been, we would have brought our 17 metre camera pole into play - always good to have a Plan B.

We didn’t have a tight deadline so we were able to wait for the right opportunity to film  - a quiet time of the day and good weather. Albert Square came up trumps very early and before we knew it our drones and cameras were on site ready to go. We cordoned off a 50m square area and brought in a couple of extra hands to ensure the general public were kept safe and stayed out of our drone zone.  There was no fuss. 

We were fortunate to have just received special permission from the CAA to fly at night so were able to capture the city from day to dusk to night, showing the warm glow from Neo-Gothic town hall and the snappy sparkle of the ultra modern Beetham Tower. 

Media City, Salford,
Flying the drone and getting some ground based footage

Filming Media City and Salford Quays was a more simple affair - our take-off/landing area site was quiet and we were undisturbed. We were delighted when the sun started to settle and The Lowry and the Millennium Foot Bridge were lit up by the golden evening light with Manchester’s metropolis lights glowing in the background.

Drone pilot (Greg on left) and camera man (Jack on right) concentrating hard. 
Cordoning off Drone zone in Manchester

The drone footage provided the documentary with a unique overview of the city and gave a sense of the rich variety of architecture and the vibrancy of Manchester.

 As for the other sites we gave as options, they are ready to go for future commissions and Lunar is continuing with this project of collecting aerial video footage and stills of Manchester to make available to clients from our stock library. 

You will see some of the footage in our city showreel. Take a look at it yourselves here: