Drones are One of Today’s Hottest Tech Gadgets. Here’s How to Use Them at Your Event

Written by Catherine Reed

Drones are everywhere. They have rocketed into public awareness thanks to their ability to capture video and still images from angles that can be hard to achieve using any other means. Plus, these unmanned aerial vehicles can be a lot of fun to operate.

While drones were once out of the reach of the masses, now, almost anyone can buy a quality drone from just a couple hundred bucks, making them an attractive option for viewing your event. But, there are rules about how this technology can, or should, be used. Before you purchase a drone for your conference or trade show, here’s what you need to know.

Pre-Event Footage

Using a drone to showcase facets of your event can be ideal. You can capture images and create 360-degree videos showing off your venue or the destination city. It can even be a fun way to share the setup process with attendees in advance, helping to generate excitement in the days before the event begins.

Creating footage using a drone can be perfect for social media sharing as well as a unique feature for your website. And, by doing it before attendees arrive, you can even pull together an aerial virtual tour of the grounds, giving your guests a source of information for navigating the area when the event does begin.

Aerial Views of the Event

Once things get going, using a drone to record video of the conference or trade show as it unfolds can also give you a unique perspective on the activities while creating shareable content. You can get shots of important speakers, show the traffic moving through the vendor floor, and capture product demonstrations in a new way.

Most people don’t get to experience an event from an elevated point of view, so using a drone for recordings or as a source of live streamed content can help set you apart from events using more traditional methods.

Drop Off Services

The idea of using drones to deliver items isn’t necessarily new; even Amazon has been exploring these options for getting products to customers. But, using drones to drop off things like snacks or swag bags can be a fun way to integrate the technology into your event.

Now, it does mean you’ll need a substantial amount of skill to ensure everyone’s safety, and you’ll likely want designated landing zones with trusted employees nearby to retrieve the deliveries. So, if you have the space and the time to practice, or enlist the services of a professional drone pilot, it could be a fun addition to the festivities.

Rules and Regulations Regarding Drones

There are a variety of rules and regulations that govern the use of drones, especially for commercial purposes. For example, you’ll need to register your drone with the FAA before you can fly it at an event, may require a licensed pilot, and you must keep the drone below a height of 400 feet. In cases where a licensed pilot is required, this means that no one else (including other employees and attendees) can fly the drone, which may be a disappointment if you advertise, or even imply, that others can get some time operating the drone.

You’ll also want to institute a variety of safety-oriented best practices, such as always keeping your drone in sight during flight and not getting too close to people or obstacles, like power lines or parts of a building’s structure. Losing sight of your drone means you could accidentally end up in restricted areas or be surprised by obstacles you didn’t see until they show up on camera at the last second.

Additionally, the laws about drone use can vary widely from state to state, so it is imperative you do your research before bringing a drone on site. Not all states support the use of drones at events depending on the number of people in attendance and whether the event is indoors or outside. For example, both Idaho and Texas have laws on the books that restrict the use of drones by private citizens, so it’s important to be fully apprised of any restrictions before flying one of these devices at your event.

You also want to be mindful of people’s privacy. Some people are uncomfortable being filmed, especially if they are handling private business onsite, so you need to make sure you don’t invade anyone’s personal space.

Ultimately, bringing a drone to your event does give you some unique filming opportunities. However, it is important you don’t approach its use haphazardly, as there are some stringent rules, regulations, and laws in place that you don’t want to cross accidentally.

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Catherine Reed

Catherine is a content creator, article writer, and web copy specialist who has translated her professional and educational experience into a full-time writing career spanning categories as diverse as technology, education, finance, and staffing. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and has nine years of experience working specifically in the mobile device field.