Drones for Filmmaking

Attention, Filmmakers: You Are Now Allowed to Use Drones

by Barry Andersson1 Comment

We all know that drones are becoming almost omnipresent (and in the case of my Facebook feed every other post) and it seems like everyone now has a drone of some size they are trying to learn how to fly.

You now have permission (sort of) – to fly drones for commercial use.  Does this mean you will use drones in your next production?

My question is how many of you were flying your drones anyway before the FAA recently ruled that they will allow permits for certain productions to use aerial drone photography? If you do let me state that I don't condone skirting the rules on paid productions.  If you are flying for yourself or your personal project then I don't take issue. With the rules being unclear there has been confusion in the market and people have either been refusing to buy a drone because they couldn't charge to use it or they are flying them under the table on productions that aren't following the rules.

The FAA is expected at some point to expand so nearly everyone can fly drones for commercial use. The question is what does that mean in the real world?

Will there be an overwhelming demand for more aerial footage? Will large numbers of people start to make larger sums of money using drones?

My guess it will be like most other things. The tool will be cheap enough that most productions will have one available. Many productions will add a simple shot or two (by simple I mean a shot from above in an open area with little to no flying).

I believe those that learn the art form of how to fly will be the ones that can make some money. Skills are always what we should be learning rather than obsessing over the gear.  A skill can be transferred to gear and equipment as it is updated but if you master in gear and the gear you have becomes outdated then so are you.

With that said the way budgets are going and the way crews sizes are shrinking I am doubtful there will be a large number of people that will make a huge uptick in money from the permission to charge for Drone photography. I believe there will be pockets of money to be had but it will be limited to the extent of how many productions will feel drone photos and/or video will be worth paying the premium for someone to capture it for them.

I feel that the productions who need the more complex aerial shots (like feature films currently being shot in Hollywood) will opt for bigger drones and more experienced crews.

I believe the best bet for most people wanting to capitalize on making money with drones is to buy one and learn how to use it well enough to get the unit in the air for simple shots above. Then those people will have a “tool” that can help separate them from the next shooter and they can land more jobs that way. So using this as a way to stand out is your best bet in the short run to increase your revenue.

Disagree? Let me know. In the meantime Happy Shooting!


Attention, Filmmakers: You Are Now Allowed to Use Drones for Filmmaking

Via Indiewire:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted six movie and television production companies permission to use drones for filming, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, FAA administrator Michael Huerta and MPAA chairman and Senator Chris Dodd announced in a press call with reporters on Thursday,

The exemption is seen as the first step towards allowing commercial operators the use of drones. Until now the FAA had banned commercial drone operations (except for one oil company in Alaska).

Drones for Filmmaking



There are still rules in place regarding the use of drones, however, although it's likely that pressure will now be on the FAA to broaden usage.

As part of the restrictions on the new FAA permits, reality television shows and other unscripted events won't qualify for permits (it's unclear if this includes documentary films).

Read fulll article at Indiewire “Attention, Filmmakers: You Are Now Allowed to Use Drones for Filmmaking”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from Indiewire)


  1. This is exciting news that the FAA is loosening restrictions on drone photography.  I have been wanting to get a drone for a long time.  One of my friends has one that he uses with his GoPro attached and shares really awesome shots from it.  

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