Aerial Photography Companies: Should I Choose Helicopters or Drones?


+971 (0)4 578 6254

It’s the question that every aerial cinematographer and photographer will have to answer: do I choose helicopters or drones to shoot or video or capture images?

So, the obvious answer is, it depends. Budget, time, and expertise all play a major role in deciding whether to hire a helicopter or get in touch with one of the UAE’s aerial photography companies, like Sky Vision. But, for this blog, we don’t want to just go with the standard answers. Yes, drone companies will be cheaper. No, helicopters are limited to flying in smaller spaces. But, is all this generic information that useful?

What we want to do is to look at what you can and cannot capture both using a helicopter and a drone and the pros and cons of each. We’ll be both honest and objective – and hopefully when you’ve finished reading the blog, you’ll have a clear idea of which is better for you.

Drone Film Production: Low Light Accessibility and Performance

You might want to capture a video of a sublime, illuminated cityscape at dusk. At first glance you might be thinking, ‘okay, that’s obviously a helicopter.’ You sure about that assumption? Let’s examine it.

Now, of course, helicopters have been used for years to capture land and cityscapes. But here’s something you may not know; pilots need to have a separate licence to fly in the evening. This might put the brakes on finding the right aerial photo or videographer.

Then there’s the performance of helicopter and drone image and video capture in the evening. Helicopters have in the distant past held superiority over drones when taking to the skies and capturing breath-taking images. However, the days of helicopters reigning supreme are numbered – if not already over. Today, drones are equipped with cutting-edge cameras which are more than capable or matching any images or video a helicopters camera rig can.

Oh, and what about the noise? Helicopters are noisy. What about any video you’re shooting? Do you really want to spend much time and money removing unwanted and loud rotating sound from your helicopter shoot? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to choose drone video services, like Sky Vision, who can remove intrusive and distracting sound, and even a soundtrack giving you a perfect video?

Drone Video Services: When You Can Fly to and From

If you’ve got a clear idea of the land or cityscape that you want to capture, great! Can you get there with a helicopter easily?

You’d be surprised just how often how getting to a location to shoot is an afterthought. Helicopters can’t just take off and land anywhere! It’s one thing finding a stellar environment to capture on film or as an image, but if you can’t get there, you can’t capture it! This is probably why you don’t see too many helicopters taking off and landing in the desert!

Before even taking to the skies, you must get approval from the GCAA. There are awfully specific no-fly zones for drones, the most obvious of which is that drones are forbidden to fly near, around or over airport airspace. Drone incursion have caused many problems for Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Centre. If you want to fly a drone within 5 miles of an airport, you need to get clearance.

Federal and municipal authorities (DCAA) also forbid pilots from flying drones over residential areas to protect people’s privacy. So, let’s say that you want to take an aerial survey of your neighbour for the completely innocent reason of curiosity, you won’t be able to.

Knowledgeable aerial photography companies – like Sky Vision – will be able to tell you where you can fly to and from but, like anything else, it doesn’t hurt to know as much as possible before booking an excursion!

aerial cinematography dubai

best aerial photography company in Dubai: Sky Vision

Drone Photography Prices: Repeated Shoots

Okay, let’s get real for a second. How often do you get exactly what you want first time? Hardly ever, right? That’s the nature of trial and error. Well, although we said that we wouldn’t discuss obvious points like budget in this blog, but we’d like to add a caveat to that by asking a question.

What if you’ve paid a fair expense to hire a helicopter and ‘professional’ photographer only to be left disappointed by the images or videos they capture? It can and will happen and there are many reasons why. Poor weather is one. Inaccessibility to spaces to capture the aerial video or image you want is another. The unfortunate luck of getting a pilot or photographer who isn’t quite as good as they say is a third. The list could go on and on.

As everyone knows, hiring a helicopter is expensive – much more expensive than hiring a drone. If you have a healthy budget that’s fine, but what if there’s a limit to how much you can spend? You could end up being drastically disappointed with the images, or video captured with a helicopter and then decide to find out what drone photography prices are. In effect, you’ve just wasted a fair chunk of change.

Then there’s repeated shoots. The great thing about drone photography for anyone with a healthy budget is that you can take to the skies again and again from a fraction of the cost of choosing helicopter aerial photography. You don’t have to just be satisfied with the images or video you get; you can be astounded with what can only be captured after repeated shoots.

So, there you have it. An honest account of some of the lesser known reasons to hire helicopter or drone video services. The choice really is up to you. Think about all the considerations before deciding. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the best aerial cinematography company in Dubai Sky Vision today.



+971 (0)4 271 2254