Drones

US gives Hollywood film studios green light on drone use

US gives Hollywood film studio...
The US aviation authority has granted exemptions for video-equipped drones to be used in film production (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
The US aviation authority has granted exemptions for video-equipped drones to be used in film production (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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The US FAA has granted exemptions for video-equipped drones to be used in film production
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The US FAA has granted exemptions for video-equipped drones to be used in film production
The US aviation authority has granted exemptions for video-equipped drones to be used in film production (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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The US aviation authority has granted exemptions for video-equipped drones to be used in film production (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has today granted exemptions to six Hollywood studios to use drones in film production. The move marks significant progress in a collective push from commercial entities to tap into the potential of UAVs, something that the FAA as so far determined a no-go zone.

A cursory glance at some breath-taking drone footage floating around the internet makes it easy to see why Hollywood is keen to get in on the action. The ability to capture footage from unique angles without the need for a full-size helicopter would lead to massive savings for production studios. The FAA has until now not allowed commercial drone use, though it has previously given permission for aerial surveys in Alaska.

The beneficiaries of the latest exemptions are Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB,, HeliVideo Productions, Pictorvision, RC Pro Productions Consulting, Vortex Aerial and Snaproll Media, all represented by the Motion Picture Association of America. The exemptions outline a strict set of safety guidelines.

All drone operators must hold private pilot certificates, the drones must only be flown within line of sight and be subject to inspection before each use. Flying at night time will not be permitted and the agency will outline further rules and requirements by issuing Certificates of Waiver or Authorization.

"The applicants submitted UAS flight manuals with detailed safety procedures that were a key factor in our approval of their requests," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground."

This progress is important. Not just for Hollywood, but for other industries that hold similar ambitions. Amazon and Google are two of the bigger names to float the idea of using UAVs for delivery, while others that stand to benefit from regulatory approval include real estate, agriculture and, for better or worse, the paparazzi.

The FAA says it currently has another 40 exemption applications from commercial firms currently under consideration.

Source: FAA

4 comments
DLK811
Its about DAMN time! Although I feel bad for all those new helicopter pilots looking to the film industry to build time and log hours flying. Most of them have just been replaced with more efficient means.
Les LaZar
There are a couple of problems with the stated rules: 1) Requirement for a "Private Pilot's" license. Such a license has little or no relevance to the operation of the kinds of remote-controlled craft used in these applications, whether fixed wing, helicopter or multi-rotor. Any operator, with or without an existing FAA license, would require specific training and practice in order to operate an RC camera platform. 2) Requirement for "inspection" prior to every flight. Another report I read specified an "FAA" inspection. The details of the "inspection" requirement are vague at best. In general aviation, an FAA-certified pilot is considered qualified to perform a pre-flight inspection of his aircraft prior to flight. The inspection criteria for an RC camera platform would be quite different. Again, specific training and checklists should be required of any operator for a safe mission. This is just the beginning. A lot of revision will be required before FAA-compliant operation becomes better, for all involved, than the current "pirate" situation.
Slowburn
@ Les LaZar The FAA is a government agency the fact their is just one ludicrous requirement means they are doing well.
BigGoofyGuy
I think it is a neat and safe way to get camera angles that are too dangerous for an manned aircraft and in places where a camera on a vehicle is difficult or impossible. I think it would make for some great shots of falls around the world.