Why you should work with a video production company

As budgets get tighter and client expectations get higher, the creative industries are in a state of flux, and the role of the video production company continues to evolve and expand. But that has made things complicated for companies that want to produce a video: should they turn to an ad agency, a specialist video company, or try to do it in-house (surely it can’t be that difficult)? As a video production company, we readily admit that we might be bit biased, but we think that the clear answer is to work with a video production company. Here’s why:

Digital has radically shaken up the market in the past decade, particularly the growth of online video and the need for valuable, real-time brand content. In 2015, the world’s largest advertiser, Proctor & Gamble announced plans to shave half a billion dollars in fees to agencies. And it’s not just P&G – Unilever, Coca-Cola and Visa are also evaluating their spending. This is in large part due to the rise of nimble production companies that can respond quickly and offer the sort of creative expertise that traditional agencies might not have in-house.

The internet has altered the nature of the relationship between brand and customers and it’s pulling apart the creative strategies traditionally conceived of by ad agencies. What does that actually mean? Well, it means that video production companies are now able to offer a full suite of marketing solutions – including strategy, creative, production and distribution all without the need to outsource. Here sees the rise of the mini agency and why you should be working with a video production company.

Video production companies provide an unparalleled hotbed of creativity and give companies access to some of the best talent available to bring their strategies to life. A dedicated video production agency can use its exclusive focus to produce higher quality content, faster than a traditional ad agency. We eat, sleep and breathe video. Video production teams already have the kit, the experience and access to tools like 3D animation and other flashy tools to make your brand stand out.

Video teams also have more experience working on video projects than video departments within a multipurpose agency. This doesn’t mean they’re necessarily narrowly focused, though: our teams have worked in sectors from pharma to fintech and everything in between. We know what questions to ask to keep the project on track and deliver for clients. Why are you making this video? Who is your audience? What is the objective? Where will it go live? We know that it’s essential to have an answer for all of these questions before we take your money.

As a dedicated video agency, we aren’t beholden to a larger company structure like a traditional ad agency. We answer exclusively to our clients and become like an extension of your team to make the best video possible. We learn your business from the ground up, put ourselves in the shoes of your audience, and get to work making exactly the video that you envision.

But why not try making the video ourselves? Everyone has a smartphone these days, and surely it can’t be that hard. This is an easy trap to fall in to, but there’s a reason that people pay good money for professional video production. The difference between a shaky, amateurish, poorly cut together video and a slick, professionally made video is immense. Getting a good result is hard, requiring dozens of interconnected skills and expensive, professional hardware and software. It’s also very time consuming: an already swamped team in your company has no chance of producing the sort of high-quality video your company wants. Hiring a dedicated team, on the other hand, takes all of the pressure off of you so your team can focus on doing what it does best. We handle everything for you and deliver something you can be proud of (and want to embark on again!)

It’s an exciting time to work with a video production company! If you want to talk about what a dedicated video production company can do for your business, reach out to our MD Jamie today.


Written by: Sian Evans, Senior Producer 


Top 10 subreddits for filmmakers

Top 10 subreddits for filmmakers

As a corporate video production company, we take our three values seriously. One of those values is “still learning, always learning,” and sometimes, in pursuit of the latest industry trends or keeping an eye out for creative inspiration, we find ourselves on Reddit. The self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ is divided into smaller communities called subreddits, and they can be a great resource once you get to know them. We’ve put together our top 10 subreddits for filmmakers to help you get started.

  1. r/filmmakers

The filmmakers subreddit is a real mix of amateurs and professionals, and sometimes it can be a bit basic. However, it remains full of useful resources and interesting news from the filmmaking world, particularly for beginners. For more specific or specialised subreddits, try some of the others on this list.

  1. r/editors

By and large, members of this subreddit are professional editors sharing tips and news for all things postproduction. Members work on every type of project that requires editing, from feature films, commercials, corporate films and shorts.

  1. r/colorists

This subreddit includes tons of useful links to make your colour grading more creative. This is incredibly helpful considering how technical and swamped in jargon colour grading is, and how much of an impact it can have on tone and emotion. You can’t get creative until you understand the tools, and this sub is very useful for that.

  1. r/vfx

It’s very helpful to have a place to share and critique work, particularly if you’re working independently. Often, a fresh pair of eyes provide that little missing piece of the puzzle, and this subreddit functions mostly as a group to constructively criticise visual effects work. It’s also a great place to find inspiration and discuss VFX more generally.

  1. r/cinematography

This is a haven for camera nerds. There’s a huge amount of technical information and discussions about cameras, lighting and lenses. Cinematography is an extremely technical part of the film making process, and this subreddit is a handy resource for demystifying it.

  1. r/screenwriting

The screenwriting subreddit offers advice and tips for scriptwriters. There’s lots of specific advice about how you can make your screenplay or script stand out. This is also a great place to get feedback from other writers – more than 500,000 of them, in fact.

  1. r/shortfilms

This subreddit specialises in short films, and is most people showing off their work. It’s a handy resource for inspiration and references.

  1. r/movies

Because we love movies! This subreddit focuses on feature film analysis and news. This is important for us because lots of trends in Hollywood make their way into commercials and marketing videos, especially in terms of colour grading – expect everything to look like Joker in the coming year.

  1. r/sounddesign

Although often overlooked, sound can have a massive impact on the finished film. This subreddit is exclusively focused on the art of sound design, which makes it a useful resource for elevating your project’s audio.

  1. r/animation

Whether you’re into 2D, 3D, stop motion, or cell animation, this is the subreddit for you. It’s useful mainly as a source of inspiration, but occasionally you’ll find tips on how you can improve your corporate animation work.

When you’ve found inspiration on Reddit for a brand video or explainer for your company, contact us so we can help make it a reality.

Written by: Matt Hunt – Editor at TopLine Comms 

Nine great uses of drone footage

When film was born over 100 years ago, no one could have imagined that one day we would be flying tiny, 4K cameras 400 feet in the air! And now, with the advent of consumer drones, this capability is available on the high street to anybody with a little money and some time to learn. Drones are an amazing advance in technology, and one with countless revolutionary applications.

As a corporate video production company, our in-house drone pilot, Dan, is always out capturing beautiful footage for our client videos. He’s fully trained and has his Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority. We asked him for some examples of how you can use drone camera footage, and here’s what he came up with:

Adds higher production value to your videos

We’ve all seen breath-taking aerial shots taken from helicopters in award-winning blockbuster films and they contribute to these films’ high quality, professional aesthetic. Nowadays, with 4K drones available to buy on the high street at prices significantly lower than hiring a helicopter for a day, these sorts of exciting camera angles are boosting the aesthetic of many online videos, TV ads, and commercials too.

Due to their small size and lightweight frames, drones are also able to fly in areas that helicopters cannot reach, which has resulted some very creative footage. Daring drone pilots can get entirely new and exciting perspectives on the world that may never have been possible before, check out this video for example.

Provides a new angle for journalists

Many journalists also use drones, but not because of their high production value. They can quickly and safely reach areas not accessible by foot to provide viewers with engaging footage of otherwise unreachable events. For example, during the Australian bushfires, journalists used drones to cover their news stories. Similarly, a drone company used its technology to get unprecedented views of protests in Hong Kong. Another exciting development is the ability to live stream video footage, which allows for real-time dissemination of drone footage to the public.

Offers help in disaster zones

Drone footage also serves a critical role in surveying disaster zones. As well as news crews, Australian firefighters also used drones during the bushfires. The drones used onboard video and thermal imaging cameras to search for and check the health of koalas affected by the smoke.

They also took advantage of live streaming to relay pictures to the Australian police and rescue services nearby.

Drones also played a critical search and rescue role when twelve boys became trapped in the Tham Luang cave in Thailand in 2018. Drone footage was used to locate access points into the cave and create a 3D aerial map of the area.

Provides accurate surveys of archaeological sites

Drone footage is also ideal for capturing historical and archaeological sites. They can reach areas such as the tops of high walls, excavation sites and roof structures which aren’t visible from ground level to provide a new view of old buildings. They can also be combined with other technologies such as lidar to create an incredibly accurate 3D model of a site. This footage can be monitored in real-time on-site or analysed later off-site.

Aids safety inspections

Drone footage is also a great way to carry out a variety of safety inspections. For example, health and safety officers regularly use drones to assess the condition of wind turbines, combining their oversight with special software designed to spot issues. In these cases, the use of drones instead of helicopters also minimises risk to human life.

Revolutionising agriculture

Drones are increasingly popular among farmers, because the high vantage point they provide can reveal important information about their land more quickly and efficiently than a manual survey. Drone surveys can give an early warning of issues such as fungal infestations, irrigation problems and soil variation, as well as tracking routine changes like crop growth. Drones can also be fitted with a variety of additional sensors, including hyperspectral, multispectral, lasers, ultrasonic and thermal sensors which can provide rich data about a field. These can even be combined with crop-spraying – a role typically left to far more expensive fixed-wing aircraft – as seen in this video by DJI.

Assists police surveillance

There are many ways in which drones can be used for public safety. For example, last year the Metropolitan Police began using drones to track down dangerous drivers on British roads. Police have also begun experiments with thermal cameras mounted on drones to pursue suspects on the run, which has so far proven very effective. Drones are also ideal for monitoring events with large crowds such as football games and protests, as their bird’s eye view allows officers to spot issues earlier than officers on the ground might be able to.

Supports search and rescue

Emergency services, such as firefighters and the police, also benefit from drone technology. By equipping them with thermal imaging cameras, firefighters can locate fire victims within buildings. This helps them to carry out a rescue more efficiently and with lower risk to human life. You can see some examples of drones being used in fire rescue here.

The police force also use drones with thermal imaging cameras for search and rescue missions. Drones can cover in a matter of minutes the same search area that would take a team of 30 people an hour to cover. This video shows how police in Lincolnshire are using drones in their search and rescue operations.

Monitoring wildlife monitoring

We’ve all seen incredible drone footage in wildlife series like Planet Earth and Our Planet which use stunning aerial imagery to entertain and educate us. Beyond allowing us to document wildlife, drone footage also enables us to monitor the natural world in new ways. For example, drones can help with wildlife population surveys and the mapping of both land and marine ecosystems – entirely from above and without causing a disturbance in the same way human contact would.

Drones are also being used to deter poaching in areas of South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Thermal imaging cameras are used to locate the poachers, and the drones are then flown towards them in an effort to raise the alarm, effectively spooking them and deterring them from entering wildlife sanctuaries.

Drones are great fun as a pastime, whether they’re used for racing amongst friends, for an aerial photo of a family event, or just for fun!

If you’re looking to use drone footage in your video project, contact our MD, Jamie, for more information.

The Importance of Sound Effects

Sound is important because it engages audiences: it helps deliver information, it increases the production value, it evokes emotional responses, it emphasises what’s on the screen and is used to indicate mood. When put to good use, language, sound effects, music, and even silence, can elevate your video dramatically. Bad sound, however, can ruin your video. And yet, audio is often left as an after-thought for post-production, which is crazy because no amount of editing magic can fix bad sound.

Neither can sound fix shoddy animation, slipshod editing or amateur camera work. However, when it comes to creating a complete audience experience – audio is arguably more crucial than video quality. Sound adds emotion and connects people to what they’re seeing. It supports each visual and every cut, and defines the overall mood and tone of your narrative.

Who needs a boom operator?

A corporate video is a serious investment. By all means, spend your entire budget on cool special effects and fancy locations but, unless sound is made a technical priority from day one, you’re wasting your time and money.

When choosing a video production company to work with, make sure they push the need for a sound technician from your first meeting. What sound kit do they use? If their standard approach is to just let the camera microphone do all the work, then walk away – fast. If budget is an issue, rather cut down on catering (nobody likes a stale muffin anyway) or content (look for any repetition and compress a couple of scenes into one).

Not only does assigning sound to an engineer mean that there is one dedicated person looking after audio, it means less stress for the rest of the crew!

Audio checklist

At TopLine Comms, our video team understands the importance of sound in video production. Our production process is thorough, creative, and makes sure that our client’s message is both seen and heard. Here are some of our tips and tricks for getting the audio right:

  1. Invest in good audio equipment, and a talented soundie
  2. Monitor the audio while recording
  3. Choose a location carefully to minimise background noise (turn off computers, ACs and chatty people!)
  4. Check frequencies and levels – some people speak louder than others
  5. Triple check that the audio is fully synched with the video during the edit
  6. Make sure all audio points are marked for an easy edit
  7. Pump some iron (biceps are good for holding booms out of shot)
  8. Work with an editor who understands audio

This is where all your hard work then starts to come together. The next step is to take those carefully and decidedly precious recorded sounds, back them up onto several hard drives, hand them to an editor who will match them to the visuals and then think about the best way of combining them into a top notch sounding final product.

The good news is that we can help you get your audio ducks in a row, to ensure that your production isn’t let down by a lack of attention to those rather important sonic details.

Sound, music and effects

Here are the things you need to think about when pulling all these various elements together.


We have detailed above the best ways to ensure your sound recording is top notch, and ready to be brought into the edit process. once the files are imported into your edit suite of choice and linked to the video, there are a number of ways of processing the sound to make it more impactful, but, if it is recorded correctly in the first place, then it should only need a small amount of tweaking in post-production. It’s the mix where these things really come alive – read this piece on mixing sound for film for more detail.


It cannot be overstated just how important the right piece of music is to the finished production. Pick the right track, and you’ll have the audience in tears, pick the wrong one and you’ll have them reaching for their ear plugs. The rule of thumb is to think about the tone of the script and match accordingly, e.g. a sombre, tech-based story would more likely benefit from a moody slice of gentle electronica, but add a polka and hilarity will ensue. Popular royalty free music libraries include: Audio Network, AudioJungle and Music Vine. All have competitively priced tracks to download.

Sound effects

It’s possible to really elevate a production – particularly animation – with a few carefully selected sound effects: a ‘ding’ of an elevator, typing on a keyboard, a tap filling a vase – imagine all these activities in silence, but with visuals. Now imagine them with the correct sound effect. That’s a big difference huh? Sometimes the sound effect can be more abstract, such as a ‘swoosh’ as the camera moves from one scene to another. That gives the action weight and heft and leaves the viewer in no doubt as to what is going on.

When done properly, these three sound elements will make the finished product really come alive, to engage, delight and entertain your audience.

Remember, when it comes to creating a memorable, immersive audience experience – sound is just as responsible, if not more so, than the quality of your video’s picture.

If you’re about to embark on your own video adventure and want a team that understands the importance of sound in video production, speak to Jamie, our head of production, to find out how we can help.

Editors note: This blog post was originally posted on 6 September 2016. It has been rewritten to ensure accuracy and relevance.

The key to impactful, shareable video content? Emotion.

The most compelling videos aren’t necessarily the most informative or data-packed; the ones that appeal to the rational side of our brain. They’re often the ones that affect us on an emotional level. Data seems to support this conclusion, showing that people don’t always make rational, fact-based decisions, and that makes emotional video ads more effective. Even simple training or in-flight safety videos that include emotion are more memorable and more likely to be shared.

An effective use of emotion in a short video format can get the viewer’s attention, tell a story, and convey a message, all in a way that affects the viewer far longer than facts or statistics alone. In short, emotion is an incredibly powerful tool and one which video producers shouldn’t neglect.

Facts alone are not effective

The people your video is targeting are rational adults, and they can make decisions based on the facts, right? Not as much as you might think. People aren’t decision-making robots, and every one of use is bombarded with data and decisions daily. Emotion plays a critical role in helping us to sort through this information.

Emotion is deeply ingrained in all of us, and it can make all of the difference when it comes to getting someone’s attention and making a lasting impression. According to a study of more than 1,000 ads by Pringle and Field, those with emotional content performed almost twice as well with audiences – boosting profit by 31 percent – compared to purely rational ads – which improved sales by only 16 percent.

In a world where people face a deluge of information, it’s no surprise that emotional content stands apart. The emotional parts of our brain often work far faster than the logical, rational parts, and that gives companies a chance to boost their message to the front of peoples’ minds. In many cases, we form a strong first impression before we’ve had a chance to process the facts – as artist and designer Anthony Burrill succinctly put it, “I Like it. What is it?”

Emotion as a communication tool

Some topics and messages naturally lend themselves to an emotional video. Stories of love, life, and death, as in this insurance ad or this healthcare company ad, for instance, invite emotion and are able to effectively leverage it to share their message. Similarly, stories about helping others, such as this Co-op ad can evoke emotion in the viewer. But – beside the fact that a world of bland, purely factual ads would be boring – why does making the viewer feel a certain way make the message more impactful?

According to Jonah Berger, in his excellent book, Contagious, the use of emotion helps people connect to the people around them. “The fact that we both feel the same way helps deepen our social connection,” he writes. “It highlights our similarities and reminds us how much we have in common. Emotion sharing is therefore a bit like social glue, maintaining and strengthening relationships.”

Berger says “Emotions drive people to action. They make us laugh, shout, and cry, and they make us talk, share, and buy. So rather than quoting statistics or providing information, we need to focus on feelings.”

However, even topics that don’t seem to lend themselves to the use of emotion – such as health and safety or search engines – can still be effective if they use a story to touch the viewer’s heart. The ArcelorMittal health and safety video is an excellent example of this: it takes something so mundane that it risks being forgotten, the need to consider safety in the workplace, and uses a human story to make it more memorable.

Which emotions make people share videos?

Another way that emotions can be particularly powerful is in motivating the viewer to share the video and spread the message. Berger’s research in Contagious finds that the most effective ads target emotions based on their physiological arousal, not simply whether they are positive or negative. This explains why ostensibly sad videos are often among the most shared.

Consider that while anger may be a negative emotion, it can be a powerful motivator. Sadness, on the other hand, is a negative emotion which doesn’t arouse an active response. Excitement is a positive emotion which encourages action, whereas contentment is positive but does not. Berger found that “simply adding more arousal to a story or ad can have a big impact on people’s willingness to share it…More anger or more humour led to more sharing.” That’s why he concluded that, “When trying to use emotions to drive sharing, remember to pick ones that kindle the fire: select high-arousal emotions that drive people to action.”

Let’s use anger as an example. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored by Berger, anger is the emotion that led people to share content most frequently. Ads which provoked anger led with 34%, beating awe-inspiring at 30% and anxiety-inducing at 21%. Anger, particularly at an injustice or preventable problem, can be mobilised into action or a change of behaviour on the part of a viewer in service of a greater cause, as in the emotional video for Dogs Trust, “Why I left you”.

Making an effective emotional video

Telling a complete story which the audience can connect with in such a short format means that everything – the music, the lighting, and the acting – must be perfect. That might seem like a lot to handle, but fortunately there are professional corporate video production companies who can bring your vision to the screen.

If you want to create powerful, emotional video content for your company, get in touch with our MD Jamie.

How to start a video production company

We are always being asked for advice from producers, directors, editors, camera ops and animators on how we got started. It seems many video production freelancers out there are interested in exploring whether and how to start their own video production company. Now we’re not going to give away all our secrets, but we do believe in friendly competition and sharing what we can. So we asked our founders and directors how they got started and what they’ve learned along the way. Here’s what they told us.

Getting started

You don’t actually need a huge amount to start a video production company. In fact, the barriers to entry are fairly low. You just need to know how to make films and how to resource them with freelancers and rented kit! That said, building any business, especially a video production company, is hard work – it requires grit, hard work, and the ability to roll with the punches!

The financial bits

Your start-up capital can be pretty minimal when you’re looking to start a video production company. Most elements of the production process can be done on a shoestring initially and you don’t need an office or a studio. However, you need to consider that you might not make much money for the first 6-12 months so you need enough in the bank to keep you going personally.

After that you should be generating enough to cover your costs. You will also need:

  • An accountant – get recommendations for a good, technology-enabled accountant. They are cheaper than traditional accountants and vastly more affordable.
  • An accounting system (we use Xero and we love it) to raise invoices, track your spending and produce your accounts.
  • Amazing discipline – you need to record every expense into your accounting software and it’s ideal to do this in real time (we use Receipt Bank to save us lots of time).
  • A process for raising invoices and chasing payment (we ask for some payment up front and the rest on completion so that we are not left in arrears if the client disappears for a while).

If you’re not a finance person, you need to become one. You cannot run a successful business without keeping a close eye on the finances. You need to know what financial reports you need (P&L, balance sheet and cash flow forecast), how much money you have coming in, how much you have in the bank and how much you have going out. You need to understand the difference between gross profit and net profit, variable and fixed costs and VAT and corporation tax. You need to get your head around whether you need to be VAT registered, how much corporation tax you need to pay and how much you can declare in dividends. Our advice to you is do not let this spiral out of control as it could easily derail your entire business.

The admin

One of the first things you should think about doing is to incorporate your business. There are several steps needed to do this, the main things are to register with Companies House (if you’re in the UK), have at least 1 director, have at least 1 shareholder, have articles of association (the agreed rules about running the company) and finally, set up your company for corporation tax. You can do this yourself (it’s really easy) or you can pay your accountant to do it for you.

Finding your niche

We wouldn’t recommend starting the company until you have decided on what niche of film to target. Are you offering a budget or a high end service? Focussing on training videos, events or case studies? Will you do animation? Whatever you decide, it’s worth checking that there is actually a demand by asking around, and by sitting at a computer and doing some research. Your niche might be very focused and original, but you need to make sure clients will pay for it.

Building your resource pool

If you can’t do the filming and editing yourself, you will need to use freelancers – you probably know a few already, otherwise ask around, comb through online film freelancer resourcing websites. Then you’ll need to consider equipment and software. Where will you get these from? What is the most cost-effective approach for your financial circumstances? Cost these out in different scenarios so that you know what you’ll need to charge to run a profitable operation.

Create your marketing strategy

This is just about the most important element of the whole process – you can’t have a production company if you can’t win clients. How you do this will depend on your niche and target market. If you’re making cheap videos for start-ups, then you’ll want to network with start-ups, for example. Other ways of getting clients include social advertising, social media marketing, paid search, organic search, or referrals from your network. You will probably find that if you specialise in a narrow niche you will quickly get known in that niche, and if you do a good job, then you will get referrals and it will start to build from there. And don’t forget to enter your best work into corporate video awards.

But if you really want your business to soar you need to learn some basic marketing – we’d suggest an online marketing course through the likes of Udemy or similar.


Starting a video production company is tricky – people tend to buy video projects (rather than long-term contracts) which means you always need to be selling to protect your future. That means even when you are busy with production-based work you need to set time aside for winning even more work.

Don’t fall into the trap of committing to big expenses, like an office or salaries, too quickly, because then you have to cover those expenses every month – it really strips away all flexibility.

And remember you don’t have to take on every project that comes your way.  If it’s so low budget that you are going to end up doing a really cheap and low-quality video, then you will have a problem – you will become known for that type of video. So consider whether it’s worth doing at all.

Managing clients

As a service business you’re going to need to keep your clients happy. But that doesn’t mean they can walk all over you. Clients appreciate it if you go the extra mile, are responsive, listen to their needs and are honest about what can and cannot be achieved in their budget. And once a project is finished, you can thank them and ask for referrals to anyone in their network.

Get clients to pay up front – you don’t want to spend ages chasing invoices – the client pays a 50% deposit and the other 50% before their video is released to them. This approach keeps the client’s mind focused on getting their video and also makes sure there is at least some cash in your account. In other words, be really organised with your finances – even if it’s not your strong point!

Have a contract in place with your clients that covers rights of use, payment, number of changes, licensing of music etc. A contract protects both you and the client, and also keeps things clear as to what has been agreed and helps to remove any doubt or second guessing.

Beware of advisors

You probably don’t need a coach or a non-executive director. It pays to be really wary of people who offer business coaching services – they sound amazing and they will alleviate some of the loneliest bits of running your own business. However, they will never do the really hard stuff – sales- that’s down to you, at least for now. So don’t fall into the trap of spending £500 a month on an advisor unless they are going to deliver more than £500 in revenue.

Building any business is hard. And building a video production company from the ground up is no exception. Get started. Get out there. Do whatever you need to do to get those first few clients on board. Do a great job. And stay organised.

Good luck!

Our top blogs of 2019
Drone filming in the UK FAQ

As of 10 December 2019

Drone filming has transformed the video production industry. It has made previously unimaginable camera angles accessible and affordable for both amateurs and professionals. However, nobody wants a fine for improper use, so it’s important to follow drone flying regulations.

As a video production company  (but not a law firm, so this article doesn’t constitute legal advice of course) that regularly uses drones to capture incredible footage, we’re pretty familiar with the rules surrounding drone filming. With this in mind, we’ve created a list of frequently asked questions when it comes to the rules and regulations surrounding drone filming.

The Air Navigation Order 2016 is the law that sets out most of the restrictions on operating a drone in the UK. The overarching theme, as captured in Article 241, is that ‘a person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.’ In other words, it’s the drone pilot’s responsibility to fly safely.

All of these laws are governed by the Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA).

Do I need a license?

According to the CAA, ‘It is against the law to fly a drone or model aircraft without passing the theory test or registering. You can also be fined for breaking the law when flying. In the most serious cases, you could be sent to prison.’

You’ll need to sit a theory test to get your flyer ID, and you’ll also need to register for an operator ID. According to the CAA, the operator ID is responsible for ‘making sure that only people with a valid flyer ID use their drone or model aircraft’.

You can find more information on drone licenses on the CAA website.

What if I’m planning to fly a drone commercially?

If you’re planning to use a drone commercially, you will need permission from the CAA.

The CAA defines commercial drone flying as ‘…any flight by a small unmanned aircraft…in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration.’

According to the CAA, you will need to ‘demonstrate a sufficient understanding of aviation theory (airmanship, airspace, aviation law and good flying practice) and pass a practical flight assessment (flight test). You will also need to ‘develop basic procedures for conducting the type of flights you want to do and set these out in an Operations Manual.’

There are two types of permission: standard and non-standard.

Standard permission allows ‘a person to conduct commercial operations with a small unmanned aircraft (drone) and also permits operations within a congested area.’

Non-standard permission covers ‘all other types of flight and addresses operations that contain a greater element of operating risk.’ For this permission, you must ‘prepare and submit an Operating Safety Case (OSC) to the CAA.’

You can find more information on flying a drone commercially on the CAA website.

I’m planning to use a video production agency for drone filming – how do I know they’re registered?

You can check the list of companies with CAA permission here. This register is updated on a monthly basis.

Each operator will also have a permission document, which you should ask to see.

Do I have to keep visual contact with the drone?

Article 94 specifies that the pilot must maintain visual contact with their drone at all times during flight. It also states that you can’t drop things from your drone and that you need to be ‘reasonably satisfied’ that the flight can be completed safely before taking off.

How high can I fly my drone?

The CAA says that permission is required for ‘a flight, or a part of a flight, by a small unmanned aircraft at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface.’

Can I fly in busy areas?

Article 95 states that drones cannot be flown “over or within 150 metres of any congested area”, or “within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the SUA operator or the remote pilot of the aircraft”.

If you’re going to be shooting video from a drone and you intend to exceed these limits, you must apply for an exemption with the Civil Aviation Authority. Once you demonstrate that you’re qualified to fly a drone and run through a practice of the flight plan with them, you’re good to go.

Are there any areas where you can’t fly a drone?

Article 94B states that you cannot fly within certain ranges of airports. If you endanger the safety of an aircraft, you could go to prison for five years, so exercise caution.

There are a number of other excluded areas, which you can read about on the CAA website.

There are a range of websites which show excluded areas – these should be used as guidance, rather than absolute fact:




Other options for drone filming

Just to reiterate, drones can capture incredible footage, but they can also be dangerous if they’re not used properly. After a few years of relative free-for-all, the government has begun to legislate drones. Now, irresponsible drone operation can land you in prison for up to five years, so understanding the rules is essential.

It can be complex and expensive to get up and running, between the rules and operating the drone, so why not consider a company with drone filming expertise instead? If you’re planning a company video and want some breath-taking drone shots, get in touch with our MD, Jamie.

The most popular tube stations to film in

As a video production agency based in London, we know that the city is full of amazing locations to film. But one of the most popular sites is underground, on the tube. So many great productions are shot on it – Thor at Charing Cross station, James Bond at Temple station (not Bond Street, sadly), Harry Potter getting stuck at the barriers at Westminster Station and Fleabag, too.

If you want your audience to know that your video is in London, you want to get a shot on the tube. And you won’t be the only one. We did a little digging, and via a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request, found out that filming permits brought in £775,148.00 in revenue for Transport For London (TfL) in 2018.

The tube is one of the most iconic public transport systems in the world, and there are loads of stations and lines from which to choose. So, while we were asking TfL about filming permits, we also managed to find out which stations were the most popular to film in. Here are the results to help give you a bit of guidance.

Are you planning on filming in a tube station? These are the top five stations that received the most permit applications:

Fancy an overground station instead? These are the top stations that received the most applications to film:

There are more than five stations listed above because several stations had the same total number of requests.

These are the Docklands Light Railway stations that received the most applications to film:

There are more than five stations listed above because several stations had the same total number of requests.

Don’t forget your permit

Don’t try and film without a permit from TfL. According to our research, TfL made £20,400 from fining filmers for not having a permit. You can apply for a permit here.

Got an idea for filming in a tube station and want some help getting it sorted? Contact our CEO, Jamie.


Our 21 best cyber security videos

We asked our team of video production experts to sit down with our team of technology PR pros and curate this list of the best cyber security videos. Here’s what they came up with.

Don’t be a Billy by Stay Safe Online

They said: This old-time video doesn’t promote a cyber security product, but rather uses old-time looking footage to teach a few basics of personal cyber security.

Internet Privacy Prank by Buzzfeed

They said: The Buzzfeed team got together to prank some unsuspecting people on the street and show them just how easy (and somewhat frightening) it can be to find out just about anything about just about anyone online; remember to check your privacy settings, folks!

Cyber Security Summit by Kapersky

They said: The cool, Tron-like visuals make this compelling animated cyber security short really stand out in a crowded space.

Our security is in the Network by Cisco

They said: Cyber security can be complicated, and no one knows that better than Cisco. In this short advert they quickly convey their expertise in the topic.

Security by Facebook

They said: Don’t be fooled by the simple animation style, this Facebook short delivers solid messaging though a selection of handy tips.


Cyber Security 360 By JTI

They said: Smart graphics in this intriguing piece from JTI are given a very contemporary spin through the smart use of 360 technology.


Internet Security by Norton

They said: Who doesn’t love a celebrity cameo? Combine that with a magical unicorn and you’ve got yourself a commercial that people will pay attention to. This ad from Norton makes use of metaphor to remind you to secure your online assets.

Passwords by Habitu8

They said: The backbone of our personal cyber security responsibility, Habitu8 imagined a world where our weak and abandoned passwords are personified, and it is hilarious. (warning: this version is not clean)

National CyberSecurity Awareness Month by The Obama White House

They said: Not a corporate video, but as this smooth talker walks through some basic cybersecurity information you’ll feel yourself lulled into a sense of… security.


The Cyber Kill Chain by Panda Security

They said: Cool 3D graphics and a smart music choice power this slick Panda Security explainer animation, delivering a complex message in a straightforward way.


Without the Best Cyber Security, Bad things happen (Art thief edition) by Check Point Software

They said: Check Point Software Technologies created a series of short (30 second) videos that show what happens when you don’t have adequate cyber security.

Cyber security by La Trobe

They said: A very effective use of music and brooding visuals make this dramatic La Trobe film stand out from the crowd.

Donning the Digital Mask: Anonymous by Chris Finn

They said: Rather than focusing on what you can do to prevent cyberattacks, this film shines a light on the group of pranksters/hackers/activists known as Anonymous.

Cyber Security Game trailer by BeOne

They said: A cheeky, very dramatic trailer for a cyber security educational VR game for employees from BeOne. A smart product promoted in a cool manner!


How Russia Hacked America by the Atlantic

They said: Seemingly an update to the now outdated whiteboard animation, this complex infographic-style animation from The Atlantic breaks down how Russia hacked the 2016 American election, and why it matters.


Cyber Security by HP

They said: HP had a few impressive stats to share back in 2014, and this short ad has some great visuals to underline those points.


Smarter Planet Smarter Cyber Security by IBM

They said: The shortest video on the list, the colourful visuals work really well in landing the message that IBM are spotting thousands of threats every day.


See Kevin Hack Live by Kevin Mitnick

They said: Few methods are more effective than a live demonstration. While this video is very long, we suggest skipping to the 3 minute mark to see how easy it is to hack into a remote computer.


Cyber Security 1 by LSTCNVRSTN

They said: I would say that it’s rare for videos of any kind (particularly animation) to remain relevant and visually appealing even a couple of years after publication. This video is an exception to the rule.


Cybersecurity Explainer by Connect

They said: A stylishly animated short from Connect, this classy explainer delivers a clear and crisp message in under its 90 second run time.


Protection test by Kapersky Lab

They said: Slick, creepy and effective: this protection test from Kapersky Lab is hard to look away from!


Looking to create your own corporate video? Contact our team of experts to discuss your brief.