Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) filming at the museum

Back in Late 2016, the owner of a company called Stately Drones contacted the museum and asked could he do some promotional photography using a UAV (popularly known as drones).

People have asked before could they use drones at the museum, but they had been turned down on safety grounds. However, this offer was from a licensed professional to create some promotional material.

So the request was duly considered by the Rail Safety Management team and after some discussion and recording of what risks this might present to our railway, approval was granted and arrangements were made with Stately Drones.

These aircraft can not be legally operated near members of the public so filming would be conducted on days the museum was closed to the public. Eventually, a suitable date presented itself.

The first filming day was attempted on the 3rd of June. A rush of emails to request that the Saturday staff not to park in the museum (and a sign was put out early at the gate saying we were filming) and we had a museum free of cars. As the resulting images would be used for promotion of the museum, we didn’t want to give potential visitors the idea they could park inside the museum. A number of trams were gotten out and we attempted some variations of fly-bys and panoramas of the museum. However, wind and clouds appeared and the results were not satisfactory, although it did give the pilot of the drone some good experience on how to operate around our overhead wires safely. It also showed Sydney P1497 and Brisbane Phoenix 548 had ‘photogenic’ roofs (clean and tidy looking from above).

It was the 8th of July before the right combination of weather and availability lined up again.

This time we just stuck to getting panoramic shots. Sydney P1497 and Brisbane Phoenix 548 were taken out and ‘parked’ at Pitt St and near the display hall stop and the drone took to the air. This time the weather held, with nearly cloudless skies and low wind.

The panoramas have been loaded into Google Maps where anyone clicking on the appropriate links will see the panoramic images of the museum. These images also get offered when people search for directions to the museum using Google Maps.

We will in the future looking at other ways we can use this technology to get new angles on promotional photography for the museum. We are currently looking into the filming in the National Park, but this will require flight approval from the National Parks.

The drone hovering in Tramway Ave
P1497 being filmed. The UAV is the white spec just in front of the signal box.

Matthew Geier

View above Tramway Ave –
(Note the panoramas are linked, the big arrow will flip you over to the other image)

Above the traverser –

And again, but a little more to the north.