Challenges with Drones for Live Broadcast OB Television

Drones are changing the way we do everything. Live Broadcast TV and Outside Broadcast are no different. Drones are able to give never before seen shots without the crazy high costs of helicopter hire.


BUT majority of drones are designed for hobbyists and not broadcasters and the demanding needs for quality and stability now limits the full integration and use into regular outside broadcast workflows.


Some of the major challenges with consumer and even prosumer drones being used in the Live Video, Broadcast environment is as follows:


 1.       Quality of video link


The HD video links from domestic drones are designed to give then pilot a view of what’s being done while recording high quality video to removable media on the drone. Thus, the quality and stability of the HD video link is well below that desired for broadcast and is used for reference purposes only.


2.       Wi-Fi Congestion


With more and more devices on the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency band all consuming more and more bandwidth it creates bandwidth connection issues. This results in drop out, artefacts and loss of video links.


Since the drone video links are not designed to manage this well they become less dependable at big events where many people are gathered compared to licensed band frequencies.


 3.       Lack of ability to integrate into Outside OB workflows


Most drones including DJI etc were never designed to be used in the professional broadcast environment so lack the ability to fully integrate into the traditional outside broadcast workflows making their use less desirable as they lack the dependability


4.       Global Drone laws Governing the use of drones in general and in the Broadcast TV areas.


Regulatory challenges in legal safe commercial broadcast drone operations is one of the single biggest challenges. Use of a Live Broadcast Video drone is not as easy as just flying it as a lot of permissions and permits are required. This requires a lot of planning beforehand as well as Civil Aviation Permissions which means not just anyone can do it.


The uses for live broadcast drones and even DNG drones (Drone Newsgathering) are out there but are severely limited by the above.


Purple Turtle UAV drone services, South Africa has recently released their full live broadcast drone for Outside broadcast drone use as well as DNG (Drone Newsgathering)


Being Licensed by the South Africa Civil Aviation authority allows Purple Turtle Aviation, UAV Drone Services South Africa to offer a niche broadcast drone service customised for the demanding Live Outside Broadcast Environment.


Purple Turtle Aviation drones are not off the shelf and are custom built to outside Broadcast Needs.


Contact Purple Turtle Aviation, UAV Drone Services, South Africa today to find out more and change the way you do Outside Broadcast video. Also Visit us at


The Dawn of Drone News Gathering (DNG) in South Africa

Drones are exploding with unique eye in the sky and Point of View (POV) shots for multiple different applications. Drones have changed the way broadcast TV does things. No longer are expensive helicopters required to get breath-taking shots. The Broadcast Drone is here.

Television news and reporting on news stories opens the new options for broadcast drone uses, with Drone News Gathering (DNG) reporting taking viewers to the action not possible to see before.

Journalists can launch their broadcast news drone from where they are at and capture breaking news like never before.

But as with all new things this opens a can of worms on privacy and other laws. In many counties drone usage has been regulated to try protect privacy and safety.


South Africa is no different Civil Aviation South Africa ( was the 1st in the world to bring out the drone aviation laws, Part 101 which regulates how drones are used in South Africa.


The drone laws breaks drone use into 2 categories,
1- Home use, happy snappy selfies,
2- Commercial use.

Happy snapper drone users still have to follow the drone laws as to where they can fly.


All other uses are commercial and require CAA approval before flights can be done.
This process is not quick and can take over 2-3 years at best.


Purple Turtle Communications and SNG, having over 20 years’ experience in Broadcast TV and News services around the world is proud to announce that we are able to offer LEGAL News Drones in South Africa via Purple Turtle Aviation UAV Drone Services, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


The drones are designed for LIVE news coverage via drone and not just recorded, take your breaking news LIVE from a drone and show news events like they have never been seen before.
Our Broadcast TV and News drones offer different options from extended flight times to unlimited flight time solutions allowing unique tools for unique news coverage situations.


Contact Purple Turtle Aviation and UAV Drone services South Africa today at to find out more.

Live Broadcast Drones, bringing Professional Broadcast Quality, drone based solutions to Live Broadcast Television in South Africa

Purple Turtle Aviation’s UAV and Drone Services South Africa is pleased to announce another 1st in the region in our Broadcast quality Professional Live Broadcast drone for Broadcast Television and high end tv/film shoots.

The current problem with many of the drones on the market is they lack many of the technical standards, quality and versatility required in the demanding live broadcast TV production work flows. Because of this drone in live broadcasting have never really been taken seriously, Until our Live Broadcast TV drone.


The problems off the shelf drones suffer from are:

  1. Poor quality video link that are susceptible to breakup and interference from Wi-Fi in the area.
  2. Below par lenses quality lacking for broadcast demands
  3. Inability to control the camera on the drone from a CCU and RCP in the Outside Broadcast Truck.
  4. Inability to have focus and zoom functions that are worthwhile on smaller drones
  5. Limited flight times of off the shelf drones

Enter the Purple Turtle UAV and Drone Services, South Africa’s new Live Broadcast Drone offering:

  1. CCU control via custom RCP to allow for Colour control, iris and other camera setup and control from inside the OB truck
  2. Zoom lenses on the drone with focus control to allow depth of field to be used for better effect.
  3. Solutions with unlimited flight times as well as expended flight times for free flight
  4. 4k Broadcast quality Pro-res video quality
  5. Broadcast quality live video link from drone with professional broadcast systems used by many of the world outside broadcast trucks currently.
  6. 20 years in broadcast industry experience behind Purple Turtle Aviation

The Purple Turtle Aviation Live Broadcast Drone for TV is ideally suited for any live outside broadcast, sports, reality TV and anywhere else you want to give your production a different look without the massive costs of helicopter rental.

Solutions are customised for each production to help customers achieve their targets and objective sin the best possible manor.


Contact Purple Turtle Aviation, UAV and Drone Services, Port Elizabeth, South Africa to find out more. Or visit our website for more information.


Or read about some of the other UAV Drone based solutions and services information and news:

Making UAV and Drone based Services Safter for other Airspace users

Drone Law in South Africa how do I hire legal drone pilots like Purple Turtle aviation uav drone services

So, a question we get often is why do I need a CAA licensed drone operator with a ROC when I can just do it myself. Good question. Lets have a deeper look into this to understand it better.

The current laws in South Africa covering RPAS Drone UAV usage limits the use of drones especially for commercial use.
So happy snapper drones can fly without licensed BUT can’t do anything for reward, they also must follow some of the basic drone laws that dictate where they can fly for safety and privacy reasons.

Civil Aviation Regulation 101 states:
(a)   The RPAS may only be used for an individual’s personal and private purposes where there is no commercial outcome, interest or gain;
(b)   The pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities.
For all other use  (commercial)–a RPA must be registered and may only be operated in terms of Part 101 of the South African Civil Aviation Regulations.
It goes on further to explain where a recreational or licensed operator may fly:

Unless approved by the SACAA, DO NOT fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft or toy aircraft:
•    Near manned aircraft
•    10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad, airfield, remember every hospital has a helipad.)
•    Weighing more than 7 kg
•    In controlled airspace (airport)
•    In restricted airspace (harbours, power plants, prisons, police station, courts of law, key points etc)
•    In prohibited airspace.
•    Within 50m of people or buildings

As you can see the laws are limiting, annoying BUT responsible as none of us want to wake up to a drone looking into our window.
The reality is base don the above to get legal drone footage or use you will require operating with a legal drone operator who has a value ROC and licensed with CAA.

It’s quite simple to determine this. Simply ask them to show you the following documents:
1.    CAA issued ROC (remote operating Certificate)
2.    Dept Transport issued ASL (Air Services License)
3.    CAA Issued RLA (remote letter of approval) for the drone.
4.    CAA approved OP Spec
5.    Copy of Legal Operators Operations manual on site
6.    Proof of insurance of aircraft and public liability cover
7.    Registered aircraft (ZT-xxx) displayed on aircraft
8.    ICASA issued Radio station license for the aircraft being used

All of these are legal requirements to be with any legal drone operation.
An operator saying they have applied for their ROC is still an illegal operator until the day he has been approved by CAA and can supply all the above documents.
So many then say they will just take the risk and use illegals. Would you employee illegal staff, and pay for illegal services? This places you at risk.
Illegal drone operators are not insured, if they say they are they are simply lying to you to get your business as no insurance company will insure illegal operations.

Working with legal drone companies you can be assured of quality and accountability and reducing your risk an exposure many times over.

Contact Purple Turtle UAV and drone services today to find out how we can help you with legal above board accountable drone services.
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Where can i fly my Drone Legally in South Africa