Attack on the Drones! Is Shooting with a Drone Camera Legal?

DJI Phantom helicopter with a GoPro camera flying in the sky

Comments

Be careful...

Thanks for your comment.  I do have to say that the drones themselves draw a lot of attention.  During a shoot for "I Almost Got Away With It" (on Investigation Discovery), we had Oakland Police stopping every 5 minutes to check out shooting permits.  Luckilly, nobody knew about the FAA rules yet.  Now, just about every police department in the country has the memo.  I'm also an AMA member (Academy of Model Aeronautics), and there are reports all over the country of Police departments taking drones from hobbyists and "double checking" that they aren't invading privacy, nor flying where they shouldn't.  So, if you fly it... have a laptop handy to show any curious police officers the footage so they don't take it in for review.  I should say that nearly all of the reports of having drones confiscated have resulted in them being returned... but it can take days or even weeks.

drones

videobug's picture

i'm glad there are no restriction flying hobby drones in Canada, for the time being, who knows if the government find a way to make money selling licences to fly drones, we will have to go by the rules.$$$$

Legal Drone Operation

You can get an SFOC for legle operations in Canada. Other countries in Europe allow for legle commercial use. The U.S. is years behind in the airspace integration effort. If you want more info you can find me @ suasnews.com I'd be happy to discuss the laws and issues.   

Drones

Thanks for the excellent information.  This is something I run into on almost every shoot and questions always arise.  This helps.

States

WM's picture

I'd like to know what the laws are from state to state. I often shoot stock footage and I had a copter that was basically in my shopping cart ready to be bought. Now, the uncertainty is making me wait. I'm actually surprised. I was looking at the Spreading Wings S800 which is for professional videographers. I can't believe this is the first I've heard of it. 

 

I have to say that some of the worries of drones is a little dumb. Celebrities? Who cares. Bombs maybe but couldn't you already do that with RC cars/boats. Guns? Come on. They'd have to build a real helicopter with a targeting system. I could hit someone with my car but I'm allowed to drive it. What about the good things you could do? Find people in burning buildings, investigate structures, help police, whatever else. Hobbyists could serve the greater good if they were allowed to practice.

 

I think they could make people register and get licenses. I'd be cool with that. 

Aerial Videos

Ed Merritt's picture

On YouTube, there is a filmmaker by the name Tom Antos. He has produced a couple of drone aerial films, one called "Sky's the Limit" using the UAV mentioned in this article. He is re-engineering the UAV and hopes to produce a turnkey shoot-out-of-the-box system. Check out his channel:

?t=2m2s

 

Wind the video back to see the entire clip, but I wanted wedding videographers to see the clip starting at 2:02. Imagine what the bride and groom will think when it's legal to do this!

Misinformation

APost's picture

There was recently a very good webinar series presented by Parker Gyokeres of Propllerheads http://www.propheadsphoto.com/aircrew/  via ASMP that covered a LOT of UAV ground.  The very first session addressed the legality issue featured an AMSP lawyer who is in the thick of the legal side of this issue. The lawyer agrees with a lot of what has been said here. Fly at your own risk, the FAA just doesn’t like this technology. 

  • There are good reasons they should not, as there are LOTS of amateurs flying in very unsafe ways which are covered in this thread

  • You have heard that the FAA is handing out $10K fines left and right.  The reality is that it was ONE fine, and that the court ruled against the FAA saying in short, that the FAA does not have the authority to levy fines against activities for which there are no laws just because they don’t like the activity. 

The FAA has, if I understand correctly, only very recently (within the past few weeks) submitted PROPOSED regulations which are at this time not law.  I am at this moment waiting for a heavy lift Octo so have also invested heavily.  

I believe that the FAA would like nothing more than to have us all panic and end an industry.  As for me and my company, we will operate in the safest possible manner and carry on in a manner that the FAA would be glad to hold up as a case study in legal flying. 

Keep calm and fly on.

Very good feedback.  Since

Very good feedback.  Since the time of this article, the FAA has handed out 6 permits for UAS cinematic production.  So, the precident is set.  The way to file your exeption is called a "333".  It's relatively easy to do, but time consuming.  I do suggest picking up UAS insurance.  (My S900 is insured for $500,000 worth of liability for $595 per year).

DRONES FOR SHOOTING VIDEO

GOODKID547's picture

FOR THE RECORD, IT MAY BE ILLEGAL TO SHOOT COMMERCIAL VIDEO WITH A DRONE, BUT THE TV SHOW "GOLD RUSH" DOES IT, AND THEY SHOWED THEIR PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES EMPLOYING DRONED CAMERAS ON THE PROGRAM! MAYBE YOU JUST NEED DEEP POCKETS, ala DISCOVERY CHANNEL, WHICH PRODUCES AND RUNS THAT PROGRAM.

WHILE THERE MAY NOT BE THE PRIVACY CONCERNS ON THE SHOOT SITES IN ALASKA, THE LAW IS THE LAW, RIGHT?

Quadcopter not Drone!!!

Greg Allen's picture

For R/C hobbyists such as myself, what you refer to as drones (which by definition are military aircraft) are really called QUADCOPTERS... For some reason I have noticed that videographers and photographers keep throwing around the term drone. As mentioned that term is incorrect. Second it has damning connotations for a radio controlled vehicles that makes people faslely believe them to be evil. So please stop using the "slang" term and start calling them what they are, QUADCOPTERS. Lastly, we need to squash any attepted laws or regulations limiting our freedom to fly an R/C toy around. They are not doing any harm to anyone especially if people follow the safety guide lines that have already been in place for decades reagrding safe R/C aircraft flight... 

I agree with the "Drone"

APost's picture

I agree with the "Drone" moniker.  Very few, if any of or DIY UAV's have Hellfire missles instaled, much less armed.  Unfortunately, trying to correct the grammar of an official who has the ability, if not the authority, to shut down your shoot, may not be the best way to go.  And most people know them as drones.  And there are octocopters as well so....

 

If you look closely at many of the state laws, be they real, or proposed, I am unaware of any that shut down flight.  What I have read deal specifically with surveillance (stalking)

Why? Just wondering...

Bob Gale's picture

This article was linked in an email I received today (Aug. 17, 2016). Why? Considering new FAA rules that went into effect recently, it is completely out of date. I would suggest a revision before Videomaker points its email subscribers to read it.

Thanks,

Bob