Droning on about bridges

Photo of bridge construction

There’s nothing we love more than working on a stunning new infrastructure project, especially when we get a chance to get some amazing drone footage.

Our video team has been out and about recently – capturing some incredible drone footage on two really important transport projects we’re involved with – the Mersey Gateway Project in Halton and the New Wear Crossing in Sunderland.

The Mersey Gateway film follows the route of the new bridge from north to south – starting at the north approach viaduct as it crosses the saltmarsh and Widnes and moving across the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal to the construction of the new Astmoor Viaduct in Runcorn.

For the New Wear Crossing, we’ve used drones to get some incredible footage for a series of set piece events for the project – culminating in the raising of the centrepiece of the bridge – a 300 foot pylon on site.

The results are amazing, but you don’t get them without proper planning.

Here’s our top tips

  • Keep safe and don’t break the law – CAA licenses, landowners’ permissions, an understanding of what you can and can’t do is critical – the dronesafe website is a good place to start.
  • Tell your story – make your footage meaningful and make sure the visuals reflect the story you are trying to tell. If you are flying from multiple locations or it’s a ‘blink and you miss it’ event, camera angles and flight paths really matter. If you just ask someone to turn up and say “please film that”, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t live up to expectations.
  • Remember the context – you know every last detail about whatever it is you are filming – your audience probably doesn’t – remember to give them some context.
  • Check the weather and have a contingency – if it’s raining, you’re not flying. If your event is taking place anyway, what’s your back-up plan? Ground footage can add value too.
  • Go social – you can plug in Facebook Live and broadcast direct from the drone via your Facebook channel – but it has risks and needs planning.
  • Share the joy and build your own comms infrastructure – it’s lovely to have great footage but you need to be able to share it – don’t be shy – provide it to the media and use your own channels.
  • Think strategically – how can you use the exposure this can create for you to get your messages across to your audience? For example, for Mersey Gateway we need tens of thousands of people to register with the tolling provider this summer – so we included relevant links. At some level your organisation will be trying to influence perceptions or shape behaviour – don’t lose sight of that.

Finally – a big thumbs up to Mark at I-sky – our drone pilot of choice. These are all two-person operations – a pilot and a camera operator. Mark – we couldn’t do it without you – thanks.

If you want to talk to us about drones, or any other filming requirements, we’d love to chat. Please call Pete Whelan on 01287 610 404 or email pete@dtw.co.uk.