Drone footage: day vs night, chalk vs cheese

Flying a drone at night 

Waxing Lyrical

Somebody needs to write a song about seeing the world at night from a drone’s perspective. You haven’t really seen your favourite city until you’ve seen it all lit up at after sunset.  The image you see on this page is one of our aerial shots of Manchester; visit our ever changing gallery to see more of what we can do. 

Lunar Aerial Imaging and our drones at nighttime

So Lunar is delighted to be granted permission by the Civilian Aviation Authority to fly its drones between the hours of sunset and sunrise as well as during daylight hours. We can get up high to capture the great range of colours and the sharpened silhouettes and shapes of the buildings and other structures. Some buildings will stand out more than expected, others less; there will be surprises. Masts and cranes, otherwise unnoticed, will show up as their safety lights are switched on, cloud cover or the lack of it will change the atmosphere, and the phases of the moon will have their part to play.

So, what are the benefits of the nighttime drone photography and video?

Night time images seem to add a bit of glamour and glitz. Apart from getting great aerial photographs and video for our own pleasure, we think there are fantastic PR and marketing opportunities here for organisations in the private and public sectors – it just takes a bit of imagination. Think of a university adding a short nighttime video of its campuses to its website as it competes to bring in foreign students, or a city putting together a bid to be Culture City of the Year.  Or a developer wanting to market a new shopping centre – nighttime pictures can do so much more than daytime alternatives.

Strictly functional uses such as search and rescue operations are obvious, helping organisations such as police and fire services and mountain rescue teams. Infra red cameras or lighting can replace the traditional cameras on the drone for these purposes.

 And, of course, TV and other news channels would sometimes give their eye teeth to get nighttime pictures quickly and cheaper from a drone rather than waiting for an expensive, less flexible helicopter.

The Lowry, Salford, Lunar Aerial Imaging

The Logistics and Safety of using a drone at night

The rules around nighttime flying are mostly the same as for daytime – it’s all about public safety – except for changes to the emergency procedures as laid out in the Lunar manual, a requirement to carry additional lighting and a change in the operational bubble. And, of course, special CAA permission is needed.

Public Safety when operating the drone in the “dark”

Lunar Aerial Imaging and the other approved drone operators in the UK are all committed to maintaining high public safety levels whether we are flying during or after daylight hours. Safety is our watchword.