High-Flying Tinseltown: FAA Issues Drone Permits to Hollywood

High-Flying Tinseltown: FAA Issues Drone Permits to Hollywood

Vespa Drone Cameras Hollywood 310x

Six production companies get waivers to keep their UAVs in the sky.

The FAA might not be quick to approve delivery drones for the likes of Amazon and Google, but the government body is playing nice with those who work in Hollywood.

Six production companies have been granted FAA waivers which allow them to operate drones on shoot locations in the United States. This marks the first wave of such permits, and finally lays out rules and regulations for how drones are used in the entertainment industry.

The companies that have been granted waivers include Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB, HeliVideo Productions, Pictorvision Inc., RC Pro Productions Consulting, and Vortex Aerial and Snaproll Media. Most seem to specialize in UAV cinematography, which is no surprise -- there's plenty of money to be made in niche production angles, assuming you have the right equipment.

The permits were announced after the Department of Transportation, the FAA, and the MPAA (run by former Senator Chris Dodd) reached an agreement on rules and regulations.

If and when a drone is to be used in filming, those companies with waivers must notify the FAA when a drone is to be used, so the body can alert local air traffic controllers to their presence. The drones also have a flight ceiling of 400 feet, and must maintain line of sight with the operator.

Camera drones have already been used in a number of big-budget films, including the Harry Potter series, Skyfall, The Wolf of Wall Street, and more recent films like Transformers 4, and The November Man. And with drone tech getting cheaper and more readily available by the day, you'll be seeing drone-captured video in more and more projects in the coming years.

Source: Variety | Image Credit: Vespa Drones

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I think that camerawork is a bit different from delivery, so I am not sure if the situation is comparable. The rules you list here would not work out as easily with a delivery service that would be operating over a wider area to various locations which may not be as ready for drone activity, and a limiting factor like that would make the costs compared to profits much less favorable.

At the very least, this should at least lay some standards down for future drone regulations.

Makes sense. It's got to be cheaper than using helicopters for some of those dramatic fly-over shots. I imagine the scale is a lot different than the delivery companies were looking for- half a dozen drones flying over a limited set or location is a lot different than dozens of drones flying all over residential neighborhoods.

This is not the same as the paranoid concern about drone-bombs, so this doesn't entirely surprise me. Of course, they probably paid through the nose for the privilege.

 

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