FAA Poised to Loosen Restrictions on Use of Drones in Filming

Seven production companies had requested regulatory exemption for the use of unmanned aircrafts systems on movie sets in U.S. airspace
Phil Bray Courtesy of Millenium Films

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make an announcement on Thursday that would loosen the regulatory restrictions on the use of unmanned aircrafts systems (UASs), or drones, in movie and TV production.

There’s a growing camp in Hollywood that say mounting cameras on drones can be a real asset for filmmakers with the promise of new creative options, cost savings and, perhaps, safer sets. But regulatory issues have been a hurdle. Currently, in order to conduct a commercial operation with an unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace, users must have a certified aircraft, licensed pilot and FAA approval.

A FAA announcement is expected to respond to the seven Hollywood production companies that last spring requested a regulatory exemption to allow for the use of UASs for filming. They are Aerial MOB, Astraeus Aerial, Flying-Cam, HeliVideo Productions, Pictorvision, Vortex Aerial and Snaproll Media.

Other countries have already allowed the use of drones in production. Recently, cameras were placed on drones in Bulgaria for the filming of Expendables 3, and in the U.K. for use on Game of Thrones.

An FAA spokesperson declined to comment.

Sept. 24, 8:08p.m. Updated with FAA response. 

Email: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA

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