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This makes life difficult for property sellers. With so much of the country's prime housing stock offering amazing settings, stunning views, and airy, spacious architecture, it's hard for real estate firms to differentiate their portfolios. Once you've invested in a high-quality printed brochure, high-definition photography and a glossy, high-budget showreel, where is there to go? The only way is up! Using aerial drone photography from VisionAir -- a real-life 'eye-in-the-sky' -- you can combine conventional showreel footage and on-site photos with exhilarating flybys and flythroughs of your finest residential and business properties, presenting your clients and customers with exciting new perspectives that bring new meaning to the term 'headroom'. And you'll be stealing a march on the competition. In this article, I'll discuss some of the ways we at VisionAir are incorporating drone photography into the service we offer the property industry. But let's begin by looking at the drone itself. You've probably heard stories about the military use of pilotless drones. Remote-controlled by operators thousands of miles away, these aircraft provide vital strategic resources without risking the lives of their crews. Civilian drones don't often hit the headlines, but they are potentially just as significant. A drone can be sent anywhere a plane or helicopter might have gone -- and quite a few places it wouldn't. Plus, of course, it's cheaper than a full-grown aircraft. Much cheaper. At VisionAir, we've settled on the Octocopter, a lightweight eight-rotor design which you might call 'industry standard' if the industry weren't so new. It costs about the same as a family car, and one of our 'Copters will fit comfortably in the back of a big estate vehicle. Like a remote-controlled model plane, the Octocopter can be put through complex manoeuvres. Unlike a model plane, it can hover steadily to provide a stable viewing platform. Sophisticated onboard electronics enable it to fly in 'interactive' mode, or to steer a preprogrammed course using GPS. It can fly thousands of feet in the air, but it's also small and light enough for indoor use. And those eight electric motors give it the ability to carry a serious payload. Now, you're probably imagining all sorts of applications for a tiny, airborne viewing platform -- policing, private investigation, archaeology, agriculture, search-and-rescue... we'd better make sure we stick to real estate for the moment! So, how are VisionAir's photographers assimilating this amazing resource? And what use are our clients in the property biz making of it? Well, for starters, we're not just a bunch of flyboys. Our team has spent many years working on conventional architectural photography, and we aim to draw on all that experience every time we send up the drones. Our primary aim is to find ways of integrating the aerial footage with ground-based photos, so as to make portfolios and showreels that are consistent as well as spectacular. Fortunately, the 'Copters' excellent lifting capacity means there's no reason to stint on camera resources -- whether we're shooting video or stills, or a mix of the two, we can still use the same high-quality Canon lenses that we take on the conventional shoots. That's a big help in creating the right 'look and feel'. And the real estate guys? It might be a bit early to discuss their preferences, but we are starting to notice that certain kinds of shot get requested more than any others... First, there's the 'Dallas' opener, where the 'Copter videos a dramatic approach to the property via the most scenic route available. This is most effective when it flies low over trees before swooping down over a lawn and closing with the front of a building, but we've put together equally stirring variants for beach- and river-side properties. Gets 'em every time! Second, there's the 'birds-eye-view'. Many larger properties, especially older ones, have complex, visually arresting roof detail. The 'Copter, able to hover and move in close to interesting structures, is the best possible way to capture still photos of these 'hidden assets'. We often get asked to gather video footage while the drone makes a leisurely descent to a few feet from the structure, and then to seamlessly integrate it with conventional shots taken inside the building. This gives a strong impression of the relationship between the building's inside and out, an approach which really brings a property to life for many purchasers. Then there's the 'fly-along-the-wall'. This is the long, choreographed tracking shot where the drone explores the property, moving perhaps through the front gate and up the drive to pass over the hedge and skim the pool before tracking up-and-over the summerhouse roof and through the patio doors... well, you get the idea. If this kind of thing fires your imagination, it's worth mentioning that our 'Copters have soft propellers, so a brush with a wall or fitting won't do serious damage. We've done a few shoots where the drone flies into a large hall and makes its way up a grand staircase... Of course, this list can't be exhaustive. Our drone team has been called upon for all kinds of aerial photos, moving and still. The field is still wide open. At VisionAir, we pride ourselves on having the technology -- and the experience -- to respond creatively to whatever ideas our clients may come up with. If you'd like to exploit the potential of aerial drones when you put together your next property showreel, we'd love to work with you. Phone VisionAir on (((1300 55 70 99))). The sky's the limit!