Why not use a Drone for your Hot Air Balloon Videos

Written by Brett Watson on August 15, 2016

Hot Air Balloon companies are always looking for ways to value add and improve the services they provide for their passengers.

Hot Air Balloon Photography

Hot Air Ballooning and Photography has always gone hand in hand. It is an integral part of any balloon flight and just about every Hot Air Balloon Company across the world provides professional photographs as part of their services.

The photographer would take a few photos as the balloon is set up and then a group snap whilst on the Launch field with every one on the basket. Many balloon companies have a remote controlled camera hanging off the envelope which they can use to take great pictures during the flight.

Drone Photography Balloon

Hot Air Balloon Drone

This is something new but spectacular.

It’s all hands on deck as a hot air balloon is being inflated. I know that as a balloon company owner I could not afford any waisted effort by my crew when we setup. We had a routine and that routine was important and needed to be followed. So getting a crew person to take photos, let alone fly a drone, is not something I would want them doing initially.

Sometimes we had a professional photographer follow and we had an arrangement for a percentage of any sales they made, however that often did not work. Professional photographers who are willing to get up well be fore the sunrise and be on call are hard to find. So in the end we did the photography ourselves.

We did the hanging camera from the envelope with remote control that the pilot could operate when opportune. That was good, it gave us a couple of good photos mid flight.

Now days we have a much better option. Image when all the hard inflation work is done and the passengers are all aboard and the crew actually has some time to kill before they set of for the retrieve. Imaging one of them bringing out a drone with High Quality video feeds controlled by their smart phone.

The drone slowly takes off and does a slow lap around the basket (safe distance of course) filming the passengers as they excitedly wait for launch – the burners roaring as the pilot begins to get the balloon buoyant.

The drone then continues its lap but rising in bigger and higher circled around the balloon(s) as it sits on the launch field. Spectacular video being taken of the balloon, the crew and friends of the passengers as they stand on the ground. The drone then waits high, and up wind, as the balloon starts its ascent. Filming the passengers as the balloon slowly starts its voyage.

This is a great video option for every passenger onboard the flight and is something they would be happy to buy and keep.


Which Drone Should I Buy?

This really depends on use, and how much you want to spend. Drone’s come in a vast array of qualities and features.

The drone you buy should have a great video option that can be recorded and distributed easily. The drone should be very easy to use and maneuver so we suggest smart phone integration and operation.

This is a  great drone, at a very reasonable price that will give some great results. You can get cheaper drones but they lack certain features. You can also get much better and more expensive drones but as a balloon operator you need to test this system at an entry level price. This one is great for that:

Veho Muvi Drone UAV Quadcopter with 1080p HD built in camera, Satellite Navigation and Live view APP

This Drone has the following features:

  • Very easy to use and ready to go within minutes, perfect for someone with little or no prior drone flying experience
  • Films full HD 1080p videos @ 30fps or still photography at 16mega pixels captured onto a built-in micro SD card reader
  • Large 5,300mAh removable and rechargeable Li-Po battery allowing up to 25 minutes flight time with battery status indicator
  • Free Wi-Fi iOS or Android APP to allow live-view streaming and remote recording for a range of up to 300metres when used with the smartphone range extender
  • Advanced GPS system allowing you to maintain altitude and orientation with flight control for automatic return to home and landing


This drone is just one option but it can do all you need. It retails for around $450 which is more than a toy drone but it should earn you a good income in video sales straight away.

Remember you will also need a method of delivery for the passenger – here is one good option:

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Check out our list of Balloonist’s Essential Equipment here.