FAA to Consider Letting Hollywood use Drones

Drones in Hollywood

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it would consider a request by several companies to use drones for filming movies and TV shows.

The FAA plans to propose a formal rule for commercial drones by the end of the year, but regulations aren’t expected to be finalized until 2015.

Currently, the FAA is reviewing a request from seven aerial and photo and video production companies that seeks permission to use “unmanned aircraft systems” for the first time.

The companies that have filed petitions to receive exemptions are: Aerial Mob, Astraeus Aerial, Flying-Cam Inc., HeliVideo Productions, Pictorvision Inc., Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media, the FAA said in a statement.

The movie industry has been using drones with cameras overseas for some time, but Hollywood wants the technology to be a staple of filmmaking here in the U.S.

The motion picture companies are seeking exemption from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates.

“Hollywood wants to use drones badly,” said Neal Undgerleider who covers science and technology for Fast Company magazine. He said drones are not only cheaper than other filming methods, but they’re also safer. “When they do crash, frankly it causes much less damage than having a helicopter or a crane crash, and they are much more reliable,” Ungerleider said.

“Unmanned aircraft systems offer the motion picture and television industry an innovative and safer option for filming,” Neil Fried, the Motion Picture Association of America’s senior vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs, said in a statement. “This new tool for storytellers will allow for creative and exciting aerial shots, and is the latest in a myriad of new technologies being used by our industry to further enhance the viewer experience.”

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said the authority would consider Hollywood’s proposals on their merits. “We have been contacted by four different industries, including the film industry, that have expressed interest in possibly applying for an exemption that would let them conduct tightly controlled, low-risk operations,” he confirmed. “We think we have the authority to possibly expand the commercial use of small unmanned aircrafts in very limited, controlled, low-risk circumstances, like movie sets.”

“If the exemption requests are granted, there could be tangible economic benefits as the agency begins to address the demand for commercial UAS operations,” the FAA wrote in a statement. “However, all the associated safety issues must be carefully considered to make sure any hazards are appropriately mitigated. The petitioner must still obtain operational approval from the FAA.”

FAA considers drone use for film and TV

The Federal Aviation Administration announced it will consider allowing certain companies in the film and television industry to use drones to shoot video.

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