PX is an infrastructure solutions business, operating throughout the UK, offering a range of different services as well as operating energy sites across the UK. After a rigorous selection process we were chosen by PX group to make a film to promote its complete offer to new and existing clients. The nature of the business would require considerable amounts of drone filming in high hazard areas. PX asked us to capture both video and stills of 5 of their key sites.
The challenges were largely based around the locations we were filming. Many were top tier COMAH (Containment of Major Accident Hazard) sites with one being guarded by the military police. As they are oil and gas related, almost every site we worked at was a de-match site which means that anything which could cause a spark – like a drone – has to be carefully considered before coming on to site. We worked closely with PX who wanted to thoroughly understand our risk assessment and mitigation procedures. We applied our procedures to their risk assessment to gain general acceptance of our proposed solutions. However, each site required a dynamic risk assessment based on the weather conditions, prevailing wind and any activity that was taking place when we were flying. We also wanted to get pictures of one of the most impressive sites at night.
Sites were also very busy with multiple hazards including cranes, gas venting, moving vehicles and staff shift changes to worry about. One of their sites falls within a no fly zone due to its proximity to a nuclear power station which all have air exclusion zones around them to prevent manned aircraft crashes.
We were filming on the ground and in the air. We planned each day to get the best possible weather for flying but would only have around an hour a day for aerial filming given the other requirements of the job. Each site required us to attend a site specific induction and discuss the drone operation with the site safety supervisor. We were escorted at all time by a member of staff with a gas alarm to alert us in the event of a gas leak. We were very careful to fly near, but not over sensitive infrastructure to ensure that, if the worst were to happen, the drone would not be above anything it may be able to damage. We also used a sub 7kg drone to minimise potential risk.
We sought permission through the CAA to film within the air exclusion zone then worked with the power station security team to explain our intentions and shared our flight plan with them. A condition of our permission was to visit the power station on the days we were filming to meet the Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers on duty so they could recognise us if we were reported to them. We informed the local police and the local air traffic control towers of our operations. This level of detailed, good planning delivered a very smooth shoot and some great pictures. In our experience, what may seem like almost impossible locations can often be overcome with good planning, communications and flexibility.
The film was delivered on budget and on time and is now being successfully used in bids and presentations. PX have told us that everyone they’ve showed the video to – staff, clients, business partners – have all been impressed, and most importantly now have a full and complete understanding of what PX does and can do. PX told us they got value for money due to the amount of planning, attention to detail and support we provided.
PX Group said “Dependable were great, they had an understanding of all aspects from permits and paperwork needed, to informing local police they would be filming. They really guided us through the whole process”