First, the obvious: You'll need to select your drones. Different devices have different capabilities and have different requirements from their pilots and for supporting hardware. Much of this will depend on which devices are available, which pilots are available, whether pilots are sufficiently qualified on a particular platform, and what the expected conditions will be for the event.
The most common choice is between the DJI Mavic 2 platform and the Matrice M210. The Mavic 2 drones are highly capable and are considered to be easier to use, but they lack some features and pose some limitations in inclement weather. The Matrice M210 drone has significantly better cameras, is more customizable, has better battery life, and is tolerant of wind and precipitation; but it is considerably more expensive. Another limitation of the Matrice series is that the modular gimbals and DJI's underlying software can make it more challenging and time consuming to set up, especially with two cameras attached.
When making the decision on what drones to use for the event, consider the following questions:
- Do you need to tether power?
- Will you need a powerful optical zoom?
- If you need thermal imaging, consider environmental factors. Will weather or other conditions force you to use more advanced thermography?
In general, answering "yes" to any of the above will require a Matrice series or equivalent drone.
As with any operation, make sure your hardware's firmware and software are appropriately up to date and tested beforehand. Avoid major firmware updates immediately before an event – bugs can be introduced with updates, and not all firmware updates can be rolled back to previous versions.
Equipment redundancy will save the day.
You should always have backup drones, extra batteries, cables, tablets, SD cards, controllers, and any other mission critical equipment. Backup power and battery chargers are also important, so take into consideration if you will need to have multiple power sources – vehicle inverters, generators, shorelines – whatever makes the most sense given the environment and the challenges you will be facing to stay in the air.
Finally, don't forget the more personal concerns: phone chargers, tables, chairs, sunshades, food, water, and so on. The smallest things are often forgotten but can surprisingly make a huge difference in the success of your event.