The Druids Pilgrimage would not be a complete documentary without the use of aerial drone views of Derbyshire. The two main characters, David Knight (Dylan) and Emmie Salcedo (Gemma), visit sacred and heritage sites of Derbyshire, which look fantastic from a high angle. These sights are much more cinematic when viewed from the skies above.

Drone Team

In our previous documentary film “If Walls Could Talk” we used a drone professional, Mike Dinsdale from Midi Photography  . Mike is a true professional, and a skilled CAA approved drone operator.

Mike can translate the vision of the script and the director and shoots accordingly. He is accustomed to working in the film industry and is able to integrate quickly with the film crew.

We also used another drone pilot, who’s currently studying to be CAA approved drone operator. James Berry, a university student at Trent University, is studying film and television. James came along to learn from Mike and become part of the team.

Use of Drone

Many of our drone shots are through trees, looking down over ancient old stone circles and the landscape. I had a vision of how the heavens would view our Earth. This was impossible without the use of a drone.

For a sequence of shots of Emmie doing a twirling dance to finish off the film, we shot handheld, and secondly using the drone. The aerial drone allows a phenomenal view of diversity in these shots. Everything was achievable, and these shots look great in the landscape.

We did some slow travelling shot of both Dylan and Gemma walking. First, the drone shot them at one metre from the ground, then in three seconds, moving to twenty metres high, and then less than ten seconds later, from a hundred metres high. The drone usage allowed unparalleled camera movements and viewpoints that are unrivalled in fluidity and stability.

A drone can go wherever we needed it to go, within the scope of what we had agreed with the landowners. The drone replaced the human eye where it could not go, and offers an infinity of possibilities, both in video and photo.

Replacing a helicopter

The use of drones offers many advantages including reducing production costs, up to ten times lower than a helicopter, but also ease of access, security (better crash a drone than a helicopter) and the proximity to the characters, very spectacular.

Using a drone replaces the helicopter, the crane or the steady cam by being able to film in almost all situations, from the ground to a maximum height of 150 meters, with great freedom of movement to follow the characters from the angles desired by the director, both indoors and outdoors.

Asking permission to film with a drone

Every location we shot, permission was required to shoot with the drone. First to ask out of decency and respect, and secondly, the permission was required. All the landowners asked agreed and put in terms as to where we could not fly in their properties. Because of the locations we were using, we asked all visitors if they didn’t mind us filming them overhead. It is strictly forbidden to fly over people without their agreement.


The regulation on drones frames the places in which one can pilot a drone, and recalls the rules applicable to the shooting. For this last point, the same adapt to civil drones applying the regulatory framework of the right to the image. The Laws are generally applicable to the use of radio-controlled aircraft and over-flight of public space and sensitive areas.

From a general point of view, we have to consider what is public domain (landscapes) and where can we freely film (provided that we respect the legislation), everything else, and in particular, filming people from the air requires an authorisation. There are circumstances in which it is often considered implicit.


Using a professional drone operator, we are insured for mishaps. Imagine a drone travelling afar and that at high speed, a mistake, and it could do some damage.

The use of drones is highly regulated in England because this activity involves risks. The failing in flight of these unmanned aircraft, or the contact with a blade of their propellers can indeed endanger the direct environment if not operated with all perspectives in total control!

The DGAC (General Directorate of Civil Aviation) has also published a document presenting the 10 rules of use of a recreational drone. The ninth commandment being the following: “I check under what conditions I am assured for the practice of this activity. ”

To use the services of James Berry, he can be contacted via his Linkedin Page.

This article was proofread by Laila Khan, proofreader


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