From the military to little Mikey down the street, it seems like everyone is playing with drones these days. Over the past year, demand for unmanned aerial vehicles – or UAVs – has soared as more and more uses for the aircrafts have been uncovered. The limitless potential of UAVs hasn’t escaped producers and directors in the film and television industry who are clamoring to get their hands on this special piece of equipment since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) loosened regulations for their use in September.
According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, one San Diego-based supplier of UAVs has received more than 50 requests to use their drone equipment on film shoots, many of which will take place in Southern California next year. The company, which has worked with Nike, Tesla, MTV, and Chrysler, offers drones that weigh anywhere between 10 and 50 pounds and cost as much as $15,000 to rent per day. Other UAV vendors claim they are getting anywhere between from 3-5 calls per day from potential clients across the county.
Under new FAA rules, drones can only be used on sets that are closed to the general public and cannot be operated at night. Additionally, all UAV operators must have private pilot certificates, fly the drones within their line of sight, and keep the drones at an altitude below 400 feet. Up until this year, the FAA had allowed only law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other public agencies to use drones. The use of drones for commercial purposes had been banned since 2007.
The FAA’s decision to implement a new waiver request system to allow the use of drones for commercial use has been applauded by the entertainment industry and the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which said “such a move would allow for more nimble film-making and minimize the use of helicopters, which can be hazardous.” So far, seven drone vendors have submitted and received approval for waiver requests from the FAA.
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