There has been much publication about what one can or can not do when filming with drones. For a while it was such a grey area that, depending on who you spoke to, you always get a different answer.

However, over the last couple of years, various authorities have gone through great lengths to outline some foundations on which film crews can safely operate from. Whilst this push has been led by the industry in America, the UK film industry has quickly followed suit.

This article from Variety reports the Federal Aviation Administration's announcement regarding the final set of rules for the use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, on the sets of movies and TV shows (in the USA).

(Click on the title to read more).

There are some key details that everyone should be aware of, should they want a drone on set. In particular the location manager. However, please note that this is for drones being used in the USA. The UK will be similar, but those using drones in the UK should check the exact restrictions.

If a company or individual is operating their UAV or Drone commercially (which the Civil Aviation Authority defines as getting any kind of valuable consideration for your work) then their aircraft must be registered with the CAA and have a permit for aerial work. Any reputable company will be able to show you their permissions document for the aircraft they are going to use. This clearly shows the conditions they can fly under. The conditions vary slightly for different aircraft. If a company is operating without a permit for aerial work then it is possible that the pilot’s experience is questionable and it is unlikely that they are insured. (Ref, Quadcopters).

There are a number of key limitations that a producer to location manager should be aware of when using a UAV or Drone. However, these rules and regulations are subject to change by the CAA, so it is vital to keep up to date of any current changes.

These are the main restrictions that you should keep in mind:

    The maximum altitude is 400 feet (120 metres)
•    The maximum distance from the operator is 500 metres
•    The minimum visibility needs to be 5 km
•    UAV must be flown in line of sight of the operator
•    UAVs cannot be flown at night without special permission
•    Permission must be obtained from the owner of the take-off point
•    UAVs cannot be flown within 50 metres of structures, vehicles or people that are not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft. The rules are different for different weight classes unless a exemption is obtained.

This final point may sound very limiting but the key phrase here is “…under the control of…” It is perfectly acceptable to fly close to buildings and actors, for example, as long as permission has been obtained and the actors have been briefed about the use of the UAV. It would be highly irresponsible to fly over or near members of the public who are not aware of the purpose of the flight. (Ref, Quadcopters).

So why is there an increase in demand for filming with drones? This is why. Check out this stunning video on youtube. Enjoy.