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UAVs have hit the scene big time, and considering we do so much aerial work we kept our eyes on them closely. The cost and limitations of a helicopter were often a sticking point, but the poor quality from a UAV drone made them impractical to use on a quality project – until now, of course.

Archiform 3D is one of the first to purchase the new DJI Phantom 4, the biggest drone that one person can handle alone effectively and that also carries a camera that shoots acceptable quality. It’s for capturing photographs and video that get used with 3D composites, photomontage, and normal footage to support complete video productions that incorporate Archiform 3D’s regular work.

Having delayed a location shoot in St Kitts and Nevis to be able to secure the new Phantom 4 and get it up to speed, Steve Bell took it for its first real job deep down in the Caribbean. With no access to helicopters and an island with such charm and beauty to capture, the UAV is a perfect solution and one, as it would be, that enhanced the shoot from what a helicopter would normally have achieved.

So what are the big differences that Steve discovered on the shoot?

First off there is the convenience. Like all his equipment Steve got an airtight hard case that the whole package, complete with spare batteries, fits into and can be shipped with him to any location worldwide. To then take it from location to location by car, on demand, and with only 5 minutes preparation time changes the whole game.

Then there is the stability and flexibility of the platform. Steve normally shoots aerial footage dangling out of a helicopter with an expensive gyro stabiliser attached to the camera, which means that while he has a great camera he is also restricted to what a helicopter can do, the mercy of the weather, and limited to normally just an hour of flight time, which includes travel to the location. The UAV, while not carrying a fantastic camera, certainly has a camera adequate for mid to high level work, is particularly stable even while flying sidewards, can get into those tricky places that you cant get a helicopter, and doesn’t burn up $1000 an hour of jet fuel – NOT BAD!

Also of importance is that the UAV is somewhat stealthy and convenient. While it may not be illegal to use UAV drones you still don’t want complaints or people messing up your shot by stopping and pointing. It’s now possible to just find a small clearing, launch vertically, and start shooting. It’s rare that anyone even notices you and if they do its just “no big deal” – trying doing that with a Bell 206 Jetranger!

The video above is a compilation of shots from around the island of Nevis that will be used to support the story of this charming destination.

Archiform 3D, like all of its equipment and services, just includes the new UAV in any location shoot, eliminating the need for the client to pay extra or bring in another party for that role. That means every project now has the ability to get high-quality aerial shots and there is no longer a need to budget thousands for a helicopter.

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