Drones In Construction

How to use drones to create great content for your building & construction business

Explore the incredible inpact of “Drones in Construction” with Aus Aerial Media. They use drones to help construction and building companies improve their social media presence and promotions.

Discover how drones create cool video time-lapses to show project progress, and how 3D models help measure sites without going there. Learn about drone rules, licenses, and how to use drones for roof inspections. We’ll talk about FPV flying, drone maintenance, and see an amazing 3D model example. 

Watch the full replay of this tech talk below.

Drones in Construction [0:00:28s]

Aus Aerial Media works with construction and building industry clients to add value to their social media presence through media content creation. Their services include drone photography and video time-lapses of construction projects.

Video Time Lapse [8:47s]

Video time-lapses are created by programming a drone to fly over a site in a pre-determined pattern while recording footage. The footage is then edited into a single video that can be used for social media or other promotional purposes.

3D Modelling and Measuring with Drones [09:53s]

3D models are created using drone footage that is processed through specialised software. The resulting model allows viewers to move around the property in a three-dimensional space, providing an immersive experience. The 3D model can then be annotated, and measurements taken without the tradie ever needing to access the site physically. This can be especially useful for dangerous sites or multi-storey developments.

The Drone footage is captured using GPS mapping technology. The software has built-in measuring technology similar to Google Earth or Near Map that is accurate measurements down to a couple of centimetres. The images captured by the drone are then rendered into a single piece of information that can be moved around at will.

Unfortunately the subscription fees for the 3D modelling software are high costing over $150/month. Consider how often you will use the software as hiring someone who already has access to the software may be a more cost-effective choice.

One of the really cool things about drones is we don't even know what they can do yet. They've only really been available and around for such a short period of time we're learning every day new things and new ways of doing things.

Roof Inspections With Drones [15:54s]

Drones have only been around for a short time relative to other technologies and we are still discovering what they are capable of doing and areas they can be used for.

For example drones have started to be used by roofing businesses to do roof inspections. The Drone allows you to see the level of the slope on a roof without having to climb up a ladder and can be used to take measurements and annotations, making it easier to create reports. High-quality photos and videos can be taken using drones, which can be added to the reports, your website or social media pages.

Introduction to Drone Rules [21:14s]

It is important to know and follow drone rules as breaking them can lead to some hefty fines.

Some Basic Drone Rules you need to be aware of are:

  • Height restrictions are 120 meters.
  • Drones must be at least 30 meters away from people and around airports.
  • Minimum distance from other people is 30 meters.

 

Licenses and Permissions for Drone Photography [23:02s]

There are a variety of licenses and permissions required for taking photos or videos with drones. You will require a ARN registration if using a drone over 250 grams, permission from any people that appear in your drone photography or video footage or signage can be used to notify people that they are being photographed or filmed in your shoot location.

Like anything with photography, if you're taking photos of people you need their permission or you need to at least make them aware that you're doing that.

Quality Differences Between Drones [25:55s]

The quality of drones varies depending on the price. More expensive drones do not necessarily have better image quality, but they have better capabilities for flight and load limits.

The larger the sensor in a drone, the better the image quality. However, for social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, low resolution images are sufficient. The DJI Mavic Mini drone can produce 12-megapixel photos and 2.7K video, which is more than what most platforms can handle.

Restrictions on Drone Usage [28:35s]

There are restrictions on flying drones within certain areas such as within 5.5 kilometres of an airport or controlled Aerodrome due to flight paths. OpenSky is an Australian website and a great resource that can be used to check if a location is suitable for flying drones to avoid running into any issues.

To fly drones commercially, you will need to be a commercially registered pilot with licensing such as remote pilot license, remote operator certificate, and aeronautical radio operations. It is important to be aware of these restrictions and obtain necessary authorisations before flying  to avoid any fines.

Aerial photography and videography services [31:56s]

Aus Aerial Media offers aerial photography and videography services, including time-lapse videos, photos, and standard videos of finished products including a mix of ground-based and aerial footage. They can can assist with various media-related tasks such as extracting content from drones or memory cards, social media strategies and capturing the correct information for reports

drone video recording capacity [35:00s]

The amount of video footage a drone can record at once depends on factors such as the resolution of the video and the size of the memory card. Aaron recommends buying memory cards with high write speeds to ensure optimal performance. The speed of the card is more important than its size as recording in higher resolution requires a faster memory card to avoid jamming. Generally a 32GB card will be sufficient for most shoots.

We can do videos, we can do photos, we can provide you with just a standard video of the product to showcase the finished products and that can be aerial or ground-based and most of the time we find that a mix of the two is actually a really good combination.

Editing Drone images [39:02s]

Once you have taken your drone footage or images you will need some editing software to compile it together. Aaron prefers to use the Adobe suite of products for post production such as Photoshop and Lightroom which costs roughly $17 per month as a subscription.  YouTube is an excellent resource when learning how to do post production, there are many tutorials available for learning how to use these programs.

using an ipad mini as a controller [40:29]

A iPad Mini can be used as a controller for drones. It provides a larger screen than a phone, making it easier for you to see what the camera is capturing plus the bigger size of an iPad Mini makes it easier to control the drone if you have larger fingers.

Controlling a drone is quite easy, similar to playing Xbox or Playstation, even someone who has never seen a drone before can learn how to fly one with a little practice.

Drone control and safety [42:57s]

When first learning to fly a drone it is important to understand the controls and what to do in case of an emergency. To stop a drone, take your hands off the controller and the drone will hover in place due to GPS location tracking.

Even experienced pilots can still crash drones if they are not paying attention and the damage caused by crashes will depend on how fast the drone was going. Usually crashes will result in propellers damage but replacements are readily available and most drones come with spare sets.

It is important to limit exposure to crashes by setting up properly before flying. Drones have a return-to-home function that activates when battery levels get low. If you did not set up the return-to-home function properly when you began your flight, the drone could try to go back to its last location resulting in a crash and damaged drone.

Time lapse Videos [43:41s]

Most drones have time-lapse functions called hyperlapses in DJI products. Time lapses can be used to show progress on a building or project site over a period of time. Just remember that battery life is limited, so it’s important to be careful when taking time-lapse video’s with your drone.

Aaron shows an example of a time-lapse video of a roofing job that took about three or four months from start to finish to complete.

They're very easy to fly once you understand the principles of them and what each control does and then you just practice. Generally if there's ever a problem you can just take your fingers off the sticks and the Drone will just hob up, it'll just sit there because it's GPS located.

Drone maintenance [50:32s]

Drone maintenance is important, especially with Lithium Polymer batteries that are susceptible to temperature changes. There are a variety of websites that offer drone maintenance schedules to help users keep track of battery cycles. Propellers are disposable items and should be replaced if damaged or chipped to make sure your drone flight capability stays optimised.

FPV Flying [51:50]

First Person View (or FPV) Flying drones do not use GPS and require more skill to operate but are capable of higher speeds than traditional drones. DJI products have goggles available that allow users to see what the drone sees in real-time creating a more immersive experience.

3D model of Bathurst Boardwalk [55:15s]

Recently Aaron created a 3D model of the Bathurst Boardwalk using over 2,500 images drone photographs. The images were then pieced together using software to create a 3D model which allows you to move around in three-dimensional space and get detailed shots.

 

MEET THE SPEAKERS

Aaron Mckay - Aus Aerial Media

Aus Aerial Media we use the latest in aerial capture technology to service clients providing Hi resolution aerial photography, videos, aerial mapping or LIDAR services.

CLINTON COWIN - TradiePad MD

Clinton is driven by a passion to help the construction and field services industries evolve through the use of technology and education.

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