Aerial Film Production: Drones vs. Helicopters

With increasing budgets in Hollywood and the push for more epic content in tow, it makes sense that there’s a greater demand for aerial film production now more than ever. With the new technology of drones and their wider availability, it calls into question whether or not drones will ever beat out traditional helicopter film production. While there are benefits to both, let’s explore what advantages they have over one another.



Because of a drone’s small design, a drone cannot weather the sorts of environment that a helicopter can. When it comes to pros and cons, this is probably the biggest hit against the drone. This is relevant especially in film shots involving another helicopter that the actor is performing a stunt on, because the wind from the helicopter would blow the drone right out of the sky.



Because of a helicopter’s large design, on the other hand, a helicopter cannot squeeze through an alleyway to film a chase on foot. For shots that require aerial film production in tight spaces, a drone is a wonderful option. However, drones are not allowed to fly over heavily populated cities like New York City. Helicopters are. As such, helicopters have a pretty big advantage when it comes to aerial film production over major cities.



When comparing the relative costs of drones and helicopters, drones take the cake in being the cheaper of the two. For small-scale productions, this makes drones a great option. However, although drones are cheaper, the limitations of where they’re legally allowed to fly and the wait time for approval from the FAA makes them pretty costly and time-consuming to use in film production. This is especially true for larger productions.


The conclusion? It depends on the needs of the aerial film production. IN fact, these two services are not mutually exclusive. Many productions utilize both drones and helicopters in their shoots, as they serve two different but complementary purposes. At Wings Air Helicopters, we offer helicopter aerial film production for your movie needs.