FAA Relaxes Restrictions on Drones for Film and TV Production

After negotiations with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to grant permission for six film production companies to use small unmanned aircraft to shoot movies and television shows. The drones can only be flown within sight on closed sets by certified drone operators after notifying the FAA. The exemptions for production companies are only an interim measure while the FAA continues to write more comprehensive rules.

The FAA is still developing a more comprehensive set of rules for drones, which have become increasingly popular in the film, real estate, agriculture, and oil industries. Safety is still the main concern, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Currently, the FAA is evaluating requests from 48 other companies to get an exemption from the ban on unmanned aircraft. One of those companies is Amazon, which intends to test delivery drones at its Seattle headquarters.

Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA, said the FAA exemptions will “create a climate where more production is home.” In the past couple of years, filmmakers have taken their work abroad where drone rules are more lax. To operate in the U.S., film production companies will still only be allowed to shoot in the daytime and every drone must be inspected before each flight.

DreamQii, a Toronto-based company, is trying to take advantage of the new exemptions by launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise $100,000 for its new camera drone called the PlexiDrone (pictured above). Almost any camera, from point-and-shoot cameras to GoPros, can snap into the small PlexiDrone and capture 360 degrees of footage.

According to Wired, the pilot can control multiple PlexiDrones at once with a smartphone or tablet and a custom Bluetooth hub. The drone also has the ability to hone in on a GPS signal to follow the person being filmed.

Regulation Clips Wings of U.S. Drone Makers, The Wall Street Journal, 10/5/14