How to Use Drones at Events?
Starting as a military tool, drones have been moving quickly into the consumer sector.
So it’s no surprise that a creative and innovative industry as the event industry is finding its way to incorporate these ingenious inventions into its practices.
In this article, we’ve tried to assemble ideas and best practices for using drones at events as well as to give you some practical tips on how to do this in a safe and well-thought-out manner.
6 Ways to Use Drones at Events
1. For Capturing Amazing Footage
One of the most common uses of drones when it comes to events is filming.
Video material captured by a drone provide us with a completely different perspective and is so much more interactive and exciting.
Drones are most frequently used for capturing high action sporting events that take place on a large outdoor areas such as polo games, biathlons, car races etc.
Unlike the traditional videography, it’s easier for drones to follow the players, to film them from different angles and to keep up with the action.
Of course, event filming by drones is not an area reserved only for sporting events.
It’s great for all kinds of outdoor events such as expos, festivals, street parades etc., as well as for some indoor events if the venue allows it.
Flying above your attendees heads, the drone could simultaneously display its interesting footage on a screen that will make your event so much more engaging.
Naturally, the best parts of the drone footage could be used after the event for an event recap and spreading the word about it, for some branding or for marketing of your next event.
2. As an Entertainment or an Attraction
Drones at events could be used not only for practical purposes (such as filming, deliveries and so on) but also as an attraction or as part of the event’s entertaining programme.
Drones choreographed by a special software could dance above your audience in a complete unison, leaving it completely awed and out of explanations how it is achieved.
That’s when technology becomes magic and when an event becomes an experience.
Drone shows are especially enchanting when conducted during the night/or in dark spaces by synchronised, LED-attached drones.
You could create a whole experiential event around that concept.
A great example of that is Intel’s spectacular light show of 100 self-navigating, synchronised drones which set a Guinness World Record.
3. For Event Venues Previews
Drones are a great way to experience and virtually tour event venues.
It’s particularly useful for large-scale outdoor venues and venues that are situated abroad or at remote locations.
A virtual tour with a drone could give you a realistic picture of the event venue unlike photos or normal videos which could be sometimes deceiving.
4. As a Delivery Tool
You must have heard about Prime Air — a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones.
Well, imagine the same concept but in the context of the event industry.
Using drones as a delivery tool has actually already been done at some events with a great success.
Here are some ideas on how to incorporate a delivery drone into your next event:
For delivering food or drinks at your event- Just imagine your food or drinks being delivered by a small drone instead of by a waiter. How exciting is that!
For delivering event invitations or other materials before or after the event – Won’t you pay more attention to an event invitation if it literally lands in your hands from the air?
Yes, you would! Then why not use drones for inviting your most prominent attendees, speakers or sponsors to your event or for sending them thank-you letters or little gifts after the event?
5. For Branding and Offering Creative Sponsorship Opportunities
Drones offer unique opportunities when it comes to branding and marketing so you could offer them to your potential sponsors or for your own branding purposes.
Here are just some examples:
Drones delivering the brand’s products straight into the hands of the attendees
That works particularly well with products from the food and beverage industry and has already been done at “Whatever, USA” where attendees could order a Bud Light and have a cold one delivered directly to them via drone.
Drones dropping off product samples/promotional materials
Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk used drones to promote its flower service by dropping roses between strangers on Valentine’s Day in Verona, Italy.
You could try the same thing at your event but replace the roses with some samples of your sponsors’ products or your own gifts or freebies.
Just make sure that the samples/promotional materials are pretty light and you warn the participants to expect a surprise from the air before showering them with some stuff.
Drones Flying An Advertising Banner
That’s the modern, much cheaper and eco-friendlier version of a small plane flying an ad banner and is especially suitable for expos and other outdoor events.
Choreographed drones displaying a brand’s logo in the air
No way a logo could stay unnoticed if displayed in such a way!
Sponsors would surely love the idea if you offer it as a sponsorship opportunity at your events.
The list goes on and could be limited only by your imagination or of course by some security reasons.
6. As a Security Measure
After the dreadful terrorists acts that we witnessed in Paris last year, the safety of the attendees during events has become a top priority for event profs.
Not only has the security control during events become more strict but new technologies are being incorporated as safety precautions.
Drones could be a great solution when it comes to your event safety since they allow’you maintaining a better overview of the event space (particularly over large areas).
They could act as your security team’s additional pair of eyes assisting it in spotting easier and more quickly any incidents that may appear.
What you should take into consideration before using drones at event?
Now that you’ve read all that amazing things you could do with drones at your events, don’t just rush to buy a cool drone for your next event.
Before doing so, you should take into consideration a number of factors and precaution.
Some of the most significant ones are listed below:
Verify that the event venue permits the use of drones and where exactly it is safe and allowed for drones to fly.
Some conventions centres may allow the use of drones only at certain areas like big expo halls, for example, and yet others may completely forbid it.
Also if used for outdoor events, make sure that the flying path of your drone does not pass through high-security areas which is illegal and might cause you lots of problems.
Hire a qualified and insured drone pilot
Honestly, it’s not as easy as is seems to operate a drone.
You need an expert who has a lot of practice doing it and who has also the appropriate insurance.
After all the safety of your attendees comes first, and you can’t risk an incident like a drone going out of control or hitting someone at your event, can you?
Choose the right event type and/or the right times for using drones at your events
Don’t use drones simply because you’ve heard what an effect they might produce at your event.
They could be a hit for some types of events like outdoor expos or festivals but could be quite distracting for both speakers and attendees during keynote sessions, for example (unless of course they are part of the performance).
Consider the battery life of your drone
Most drones have a maximum battery life of 30 minutes.
Some drones are equipped with GPS technology and could be programmed to return to their home base when the battery is down to five percent so that they don’t crash.
Obtain permission if required by the law (as it is the case in the USA, for example).
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