The rise of the drone

Before the commercial sector became interested, drones were most commonly used within the military. To keep up with a society incredibly dependent on science and technology, drones have evolved and become accessible to the general public…and we wanted to know why!


How popular are they?

Many companies have already brought drones to events in order to allow viewers to get a sense of the atmosphere and environment. According to Michael Davies (SVP of Field and Technical Operations at Fox Sports), “you can get a lot lower and closer to different structures and ground elements with drones”.

However, the size of the global consumer drone market still doesn’t compare to other high-end consumer electronics. Drones stand at 2mn market units compared to tablets at 218mn and video games consoles at 34mn. With regards to using drones at your event, we see this as an advantage – it gives you the chance to differentiate yourself from the rest, and to prove that you design innovative and cutting-edge events.

As Michael Davies said, “to be able to differentiate yourself by showing people something new or different from what they’re normally used to, it’s worth the investment for us”


So how would you incorporate a drone into your event?

At the moment, drones are mainly used at events as flying cameras, but a lot more is to be expected of them including deliveries, security surveillance and attendee registration processing.

However, using a drone at your event is not all plain-sailing; there are rules you need to follow when flying one. If you’re flying a drone recreationally, you will need to abide by standard safety guidelines, such as only flying in daylight and not flying directly over people (here is a link to a full list of the guidelines).


Most importantly, why would you incorporate a drone into your event?

Exciting for guests – people love having their picture taken at parties, and this method is one not many people have had the chance to experience. Guests share the excitement with other guests, creating a fun and dynamic atmosphere.

Captures images you couldn’t get elsewhere - drones can get closer to the action than any photographer. With large parties come large crowds and it often takes most of the night for the photographer to squeeze through the enthusiastic crowd.
In sporting events, the photographer is often not allowed to get closer to the action, but a drone can really capture the action and slip into spaces the photographer, or even a helicopter, can’t.

Captures a larger group – it’s often very difficult to capture the whole group in one picture. Many professional photographers try panorama shots or a fish-eye lens but it doesn’t seem to have the same authentic effect. Guests often look forward to re-experiencing the event through pictures and spotting their face in the crowd, which is why many agencies advertise photo opportunities during their events. Drones enhance the event during and after and make sure no one is left out. 

Captures the venue and location – you put a lot of time and money into your venue, and you should be allowed to show it off. A drone can capture the whole venue, which we have found particularly useful in the past.

Provides a unique and fresh perspective – drones are still in the early stages of commercial use and as we’ve said, there is no other method that can capture an image quite like a drone. They offer dramatic and unique shots that are sure to make your guests happy.

What do we think?

We’re always looking for new technology to enhance our events and in April 2016, we visited the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham to check out the latest technology. We saw how Parrot Drones can enhance your event – instead of capturing incredible overhead shots, they were used for entertainment; the drones twisted, turned and somersaulted, overall performing a spectacular routine in mid-air. Check out our case study for this event here.

We are on the forefront of technology at Smart. In May this year, we used a drone to capture our bespoke brand activation event in Messe Hall, Germany, for Magic The Gathering. The flying camera elegantly captured the large-scale exhibition and by observing the event from a bird’s eye view, we believe it gives past and potential clients the chance to see first-hand the hard work that went into both planning and constructing the event. Check out our video of the Magic The Gathering event here or have a read of our case study here.

Overall, we believe that technology can never replace the atmosphere you feel at an event, however it can certainly enhance the experience!





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