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12m telescopic mast, an alternative to the drone

It happens that the drone is not the best solution for aerial shots of proximity or more exactly it happens to us not to be able to implement a multirotor drone. As a drone operator in Paris, we are from time to time faced with the impossibility of carrying out a service by drone because, as in many large cities, the density of constructions and the little space that we are allowed to fly over make the use of a drone incompatible with the requirements of the regulations. In this case we use a telescopic mast which provides us with a relevant alternative for taking photos and videos that require taking a little height.

Shooting from a telescopic mast - Place Vendôme Paris - Grand Tour Bugatti 2019

Why the drone is not always suitable?

In 5 years of operation, on several occasions, we have not been able to use a drone. The brake was either regulatory or technical.

The use of a drone by a professional is subject to a set of rules which can result in constraints going as far as the impossibility of carrying out a service by drone.

Essentially, what does the drone regulation say?

  • Flying over people is prohibited and a minimum horizontal safety distance must be respected at all times.

  • Flying over roads open to traffic is prohibited.

  • Using a drone at night requires filing an exemption request with a deadline which, most often, is one month.

  • Using a drone in urban areas requires informing the prefecture concerned 5 working days before the date of the first flight.

  • Some areas are prohibited from overflight by drone.

What are the technical limitations of the drone?

Wind, rain, electromagnetic disturbances are all flight conditions that represent obstacles to the use of a drone. The limit can also come from its autonomy. Unless a permanent power supply via an electric cable is envisaged, the on-board battery will offer a flight time of around 20 minutes in the best case.

Faced with one or more of these constraints, we may have to choose a means other than the drone to have a point of view from above.

Some examples where the use of a telescopic mast has imposed itself against the drone.

Group photo taken with a telescopic mast and a radio-controlled camera - DCOMDRONE

We had made arrangements to take this group photo by drone but the last minute change of location, the short shooting time, the imminence of a downpour and the need for a point of view at 10m, led us to retain the use of the telescopic mast that we had taken the precaution of carrying. The establishment of the group and the shooting took place in 3 minutes flat for the greatest satisfaction of the agency "Voyez-vous" and its client the French Institute and the many people invited to AIF2019


You can imagine that airports are part of the complex areas for organizing and implementing video shooting by drone. Roissy Charles De Gaulle airport imposes 4 weeks to process a request for a drone overflight of its airport facilities. Without this delay, it is purely and simply the prohibition of overflight by a drone.

Having only one week to schedule the shooting of a film on the cooling towers located between runways 26 and 27, we therefore deployed the telescopic mast. Thus, we were able to film at 12m, above the cooling towers. The adjustments and framing of the 4k camera stabilized on 3 axes are carried out, from the ground, from the tablet.


Here again, it is both the too short deadline for filing the request for authorization to fly over Place Vendôme in Paris by drone and also the proximity of the public which led us to choose the solution of the telescopic mast to take a photo of a rather special group on the occasion of the Parisian stage of the The Grand Tour Bugatti 2019 rally. At the top of the mast, our sensor allows the production of photos and video shots. We have several lenses to adapt the focal length to the subject we have to frame.


In the latter case, it is also strict compliance with the regulations applicable to drones that led us to oppose the initial request. A production company had asked us to make drone shots from the top of the Montparnasse tower in Paris. It was a nice project... but totally unrealistic!

The telescopic mast saved us from leaving our client without a solution. Again, we had our plan B to live up to it!

If you want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to listen to you and advise you.


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