Hollywood Welcomes the Drones

Nice report from CNN on Hollywood’s official foray into drone photography:

A small UAV offers amazing advantages for filmmakers – acting both as a crane and as an aerial photography platform.  This will save huge dollars in production costs and logistics.

Unfortunately, the FAA’s exemption system to date sets high barriers to entry that, in our view, are largely unnecessary.

FAA agrees to movie production exemption

The FAA has agreed to grant an exemption to Hollywood production companies to use drones in aerial photography. Although the scope of the exemption is not entirely clear, based on the article, this seems like a breakthrough:

In May, seven aerial photo and video production companies asked for regulatory exemptions (known as a 333 exemption) that would allow the film and television industry to use drones with FAA approval. Those seven companies and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), were asked by the FAA to develop the guidelines and safety procedures under which they planned to operate. The FAA reviewed those procedures and is expected to approve the drone-specific rules and standards that will enable Hollywood to be exempt from existing aviation regulations.

One might hope that those procedures can serve as a model for other aerial photographers, but with one major caveat: Hollywood productions tend to exercise greater control over the filming location than many could possibly afford. A typical movie or television location crew will employ local law enforcement and/or private security to prevent interlopers from wandering onto the set. They also tend to have numerous production assistants acting as spotters and gofers, all within walkie-talkie range.

Still, progress is progress. It will be interesting to see the final guidelines when they are published.