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Drone Services Derby, Leeds Drone Operator

Heineken Brewery Drone Project

When it comes to our aerial drone projects each one is different and with it brings it’s own unique challenges.  Prior to any drone project we carry out a thorough pre-assessment.  This includes flight zones, risks, wildlife factors and health and safety. That’s not even including the creative assessment where we look at what areas, views and angles will be the best and provide what the client is looking for.

So, when Heineken approached us asking for aerial photography of  some roofs on their Tadcaster, UK complex we went to work assessing the  very large site and what could potentially be involved.  The project required our drone pilot to photograph and document over 40 roof sections of many different buildings. These came in all shapes and sizes from small hut sized buildings to giant warehouse bottling plants. Throw into the mix plenty of cables, chimneys, silos and other obstructions and it was easy to see it would be a mammoth task, requiring plenty of planning and on-site safety checks as we go along.

DJI 0010

With over 300 employees and being one of the largest brewery and bottling sites in the UK safety was always at the forefront of our minds and paramount to the project at all times. It was decided that such was the scale of the project and intensity of the flying conditions that it should be split up into 2/3 days shooting so the drone pilot did not relax safety due to fatigue from the intense concentration required. Plans were made and safety checks carried out before the visit. Flight zones were checked to make sure no permissions were needed. On arrival at the site we quickly realise the scale of the premises. With busy traffic and pedestrian routes and a strict health and safety ritual we made sure we stuck to any requests and routine asked of us.

The first thing we did notice was a large flock of pigeons hanging around the old main building, circled now and then by a couple of Red Kite birds of prey.  Our drone pilot anticipated this to be a problem so we left the old building till last to  give us time to come up with solutions should we need to in order to avoid the pigeons. Day one went smoothly with good weather and calm winds, drone craft were tested and everything fine so we carried out the roof documentation for over half the amount of buildings required.  We carry plenty of batteries and we certainly needed them with flight times of over 4 hours the first day alone. The end of the first day we monitored the pigeons again and this re-enforced our opinion that they would be a problem.

The 2nd day visit proved to be the most challenging, with stronger winds and the dreaded p[pigeons proving a nuisance. Snow was forecast but not until the afternoon, by which time we hoped to had finished.  We filmed some internal footage of the large bottling plant for the client which will make excellent social media content, showcasing the huge scale of this plant.  We quickly went through the remaining buildings until we had the last one left, the main old building with the flock of pigeons who reside at the top, enticed by the grains and seeds on the floor used by the brewery.

DJI 0502

We decided we would use an up and down approach from multiple locations, rather then go up and fly around. This reduce the amount of time in the air and the need to travel to other locations. So we would walk to certain points around the building, check for bird activity and if safe fly straight up and take the photos then back down. A couple of times we had to put the drone into sports mode and fly down fast to avoid swooping birds but thankfully no drone or wildlife was harmed at all.  We eventually complete the tasks required by using this approach and the client was happy with the footage we took despite the limitations of the last building due to the birds.

We took a few entire building photos for the client which will be used for marketing and then de-briefed and took stock of the day and a successfully completed project.  As drone projects go it was a large one and presented our drone pilot with some questions to answer but through planning and a safe approach we managed to carry out the photography for all buildings required. A satisfying end to the project.

Speak to a member of our creative team to discuss your aerial photography and videography requirements here: or call on 0303 223 0110