FAQ

Meet Your Pilot

How long have you been flying drones?

I’ve been flying drones since 2013. I received ground and flight school training through my former employer, ABC News, and in 2019 I became a Part 107 licensed remote pilot, and in 2021 I completed recurrent training to renew my license through 2023.

Is this legal?

Commercial drone operations are completely legal when they are executed with all appropriate operational controls in places, as well as all licenses, permissions and clearances.

Are you licensed and insured?

Yes.

Licensed: I completed ground and flight school training at ABC News and passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 remote pilot exam in 2019. Any pilot flying for Sunset Beach Films to be FAA-licensed and crew members are assiduously trained in drone operations, procedures and – most importantly – safety protocols.

Insured: Sunset Beach Films carries $1,000,000 in worldwide commercial liability coverage, including property damage and bodily injury (though we’ve had no need for it to date). Never hire a drone operator who is not licensed by the FAA and/or does not carry a similarly substantial insurance policy.

How do you prepare for a shoot?

Prior to each shoot, we work through our comprehensive pre-production checklist which includes studying real-time weather forecasts, tracking wind speeds and calculating the path of the sun over a client property on a planned shoot day to determine precisely when and where the light and the shadows will fall on a given property to provide for the richest film experience possible.

Do you help prepare the home or property prior to the shoot?

We provide an extensive checklist of every imaginable way to optimize your project.

What safety precautions do you take?

Prior to each shoot, we notify federal aviation authorities of our intended flight plans and secure permission to fly through what is known in the industry as a LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) authorization, which specifies exactly when and where we intend to fly. Copies of these permissions – as well as our liability insurance coverage – will be provided to any client upon request.

Equipment

What kind of drones do you fly?

We fly a small fleet of DJI drones — including the Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic Air 2S and the DJI Mini 2. For interior video and photography, we use a variety of gimbal-stabilized camera equipment that allows for seamless, stabilized 4K video.

How long does a typical drone shoot take?

A basic project in good weather could take two hours, while more complex missions can take an entire day or span several days. Good planning and communication are vital.

How high can your drones fly?

The legal limit is 400 feet above the ground elevation, though most of our operations only require flying to heights of about 200 feet. Yet in special circumstances, we can apply for FAA permission to fly above that 400 foot limit.

How far can your drones fly?

The most sophisticated drones in our fleet can fly several miles from the ground station while maintaining a crystal-clear video link on the remote controller, though in all our operations we maintain a constant visual line of sight.

How long can your drones remain airborne?

Depending on drone, flight times vary from about 12 – 20 minutes per battery. Sunset Beach Films travels with sufficient equipment, additional batteries and portable charging stations to handle any job.

Can your drones fly inside?

Yes, when necessary, our DJI Mini 2, weighing just 249 grams and equipped with propeller guards can be flown inside a spacious home – though in our experience using gimbal-stabilized ground camera equipment inside homes or commercial property is most often the best and safest bet.

Can you fly at night?

Where necessary, yes. Sunset Beach Films is authorized to fly at night and our most powerful drones are equipped with anti-collision lights as well as high-powered Lume Cube 2.0 LED lights that can illuminate a house or commercial property in near total darkness.

Can you fly in high winds?

A skilled pilot can manage our Mavic 2 Pro expertly in winds up to about 25-30 miles per hour. Beyond that, the quality of the finished product can become compromised. We use paid versions of real-time wind tracker apps like Wind Compass Pro.

Can you fly in the rain?

Any sort of precipitation can compromise the quality of the finished product (like moisture on the drone camera lens). If adverse weather forces the postponement of a shoot, we reschedule for as soon as possible after the postponed date. While our extensive post-production work can liven up colors dulled by cloud cover, in our experience the more sun the better the shoot.

What is the quality of the video you shoot?

We use some of the most sophisticating flying cameras in the business. Our Mavic 2 Pro, for instance, shoots in 10-bit D-Log – which dramatically increases the color range over traditional camera equipment. That means that instead of purple, violet and pink, you’ll get purple, purple-violet, violet, fuschia and pink. This color range allows us to capture tiny details with extraordinary quality.

Post-Production / Deliverables

How do you deliver the final product?

Sunset Beach Films offers its clients a variety of options to receive deliverables. We can deliver video or photo packages through easy-to-use, online services like WeTransfer or Dropbox, burn a video to DVD or mini disc, transfer the files to a portable hard drive or deliver the work on a thumb drive.

What does post-production involve?

All still images are professionally edited in post-production using Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and other elements in the Adobe Premiere Pro suite. We create top quality, social media-friendly video reels with elegant soundtracks which combine to showcase the property and interior in all their cinematic glory. We use best-in-class post-production software including Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere to deliver an outstanding product. We can also provide title pages, text boxes and custom graphics to accentuate the final product.    

Can a client get the raw footage from the shoot?

Unless originally contracted to provide the raw footage, Sunset Beach Films retains ownership of all the footage we capture. We can certainly accommodate project requests to capture and deliver raw footage (to submit, for instance, to a client’s marketing department or a third-party editing team, though that must be contractually agreed to prior to the shoot. Feel free to contact us for further details.   

Can you provide stock footage of the surrounding area or town for my project?

Absolutely. We have spent years building a store of high-quality stock footage of each East End town’s most attractive scenery. That allows us to enhance the quality of each project for our clients using previously-shot area video to highlight schools, popular restaurants, commercial districts and other popular features considered by clients shopping for a new home.  We also entertain requests, at an additional charge, for specific footage in a given town or neighborhood. If there’s something in particular you have in mind, please contact us for more information.

Can you broadcast a live event from a drone?

Yes, we can! We can easily feed real-time footage to your live broadcasting system, stream or channel – including YouTube, Facebook and other popular social networks. Contact us for price quotes.

Where do you offer your services?

We are based in Riverhead and operate throughout Eastern Long Island, but can book and travel to shoots anywhere in the U.S for additional fees. 

Discounts / Cancellations

Do you offer discounts if a client uses Sunset Beach Films exclusively or across multiple projects?

Certainly. Contact us for more information.  

Do you charge a fee for rescheduling or cancellations?

Only in certain circumstances. We offer rescheduling at no additional cost up until 48 hours prior to the shoot, and accept cancellations at no cost up to one week in advance of the shoot date. If a rescheduling is requested by the client within 48 hours of the shoot, we honor it to the best of our ability (and, of course, shoots postponed due to weather conditions are rescheduled for free). If a shoot must be cancelled within one week of the shoot date, we charge 50% of the project cost.

Licensing Information

Real estate cinematography services and prices include non-transferrable, non-resellable rights to reproduce the photographs for all marketing purposes specifically related to the sale of a single residential property for the full continuous duration of the client’s listing agreement, to a maximum of one year from date of payment, including the MLS, real estate websites, the realtor’s social media and print advertising.

The agent is granted a non-transferrable, non-resellable license for the image or video for marketing their services in sold listing compilations and marketing portfolios for a period of four (4) years beginning on the date of payment in full for charges relating to those photos. Photos used in marketing materials for the agent must include a photo credit to Sunset Beach Films immediately adjacent to the photo in the form of “Photo by Sunset Beach Films” or in a manner which designates the photos in the media created by Sunset Beach Films, if more than one photographer’s work is being shown.

Photos and video packages created by Sunset Beach Films may not be resold or otherwise transferred to those including, but not limited to: architects, builders, sellers, buyers, interior designers, home staging experts or subsequent listing agents. New agents must purchase the photos or video packages directly from Sunset Beach Films and are subject to limitations negotiated with the original listing agent. Copyright is exclusively retained by Sunset Beach Films and images must be licensed by Sunset Beach Films for any use.

Finished photos and video packages delivered to the client may not be adjusted, altered or edited in any form without the express permission of Sunset Beach Films. Licensing is subject to receipt in full of all charges  related to the shoot. Other licensing terms can be negotiated to suit the needs of your project.