Drones and virtual tours focus on offshore energy

Andrew Pinder (left) and Alan O�Neill with the CHPV drone. Picture: Julian Claxton

Andrew Pinder (left) and Alan O�Neill with the CHPV drone. Picture: Julian Claxton - Credit: Archant

A specialist photography and filming company is ready for take-off into the world of drones as it adds to its services for the offshore energy industry.

CHPV Offshore Energy Media Services has been capturing images of engineering and industry for 50 years since the early days of offshore gas in the Southern North Sea.

But now the Lowestoft-based team is launching aerial drone work and 360-degree virtual tours into its range of specialist services.

Panoramic virtual reality tour of A2 Sea�s Sea Challenger installation vessel put into a single �glo

Panoramic virtual reality tour of A2 Sea�s Sea Challenger installation vessel put into a single �globe� shot. Picture: CHPV - Credit: Archant

It took a year of training before CHPV applied for Civil Aviation Authority permission for commercial operations. Owner Alan O'Neill, who is the company 'pilot', said: 'Just like flying a real plane, you have to learn about air space and air traffic control through a flight school.

'There is flight test and you have to draw up an operation manual.'

Mirror ball image of a wind turbine. Picture: CHPV

Mirror ball image of a wind turbine. Picture: CHPV - Credit: Archant


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Drones can take high resolution still pictures, and video that is twice the quality of high definition television. Images and footage are used for charting project progress, training and inspection of assets such as offshore wind turbines.

Mr O'Neill said that the exciting new drone work provided a 'highly cost-effective and safe alternative to using conventional aircraft for clients seeking stunning publicity material of operations, or a detailed inspection report on an inaccessible asset.'

CHPV aerial shot of SSE Greater Gabbard wind turbine nacelle. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL

CHPV aerial shot of SSE Greater Gabbard wind turbine nacelle. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL - Credit: Archant

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He flies the drone, while TV documentary maker Andrew Pinder does the camera work, which can also provide real-time images back to a HD monitor.

Drones are flown within a 500m radius of the operator and up to 400ft altitude, but only after very careful planning. A 20-minute flight can take three days of preparation.

CHPV aerial shot of the Umoe Firmus wind farm support vessel. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL

CHPV aerial shot of the Umoe Firmus wind farm support vessel. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL - Credit: Archant

CHPV is also branching out into 360-degree virtual tours of assets such as turbines and ships. The new services are combined with half a century's experience in energy media imagery, beginning in 1964 when founder Charles Hodge – a keen aviator and amateur photographer – turned his hobbies into a business.

Mr O'Neill, who took over the business in 1982, added: 'Technology is always advancing and we have to reinvent ourselves every 18 months."

CHPV aerial shot of Cromer Pier. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL

CHPV aerial shot of Cromer Pier. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL - Credit: Archant

? For more information about CHPV call Alan O'Neill on 01502 500272 or email info@chpv.co.uk

CHPV aerial shot of tanks on exercise at Muckleburgh Collection, Weybourne. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL

CHPV aerial shot of tanks on exercise at Muckleburgh Collection, Weybourne. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL - Credit: Archant

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