Drones for Filmmaking and TV Production Finally Get FAA Nod

Finally, the first step towards the legalization of commercial drones has begun with the granting of FAA’s approval for the use of drones in filmmaking and TV production.

The government granted six movie and television production companies permission to use drones for filming, an important step toward greater use of the technology by commercial operators, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Thursday. Dozens of other industries are lined up to follow Hollywood’s lead. “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial (drone) use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight,” Foxx said. “These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance.”

The decision by the FAA to allow drones for movie and television productions has provided some relief for drones users with commercial intent.

News of Hollywood’s exemption is heartening for the dozens of other companies from a range of industries that have also filed for Section 333 exemptions with the FAA. The agency has imposed a 120-day review period for such filings on itself, and over the next few months several exemption filings from companies across a range of industries will come to term. The fact that Hollywood got its green light bodes well. “It’s a good thing,” says Tomislav Zigo, director of virtual design and construction at engineering and construction firm Clayco, which has an exemption pending ethat would allow engineers to survey the company’s sprawling construction sites with drones. “That means we’re somewhere down there in the pipeline.” – Read more here

One of the many drone enthusiasts in Hollywood happy to receive news of the FAA’s go-ahead signal was aerial camera operator and multirotor pilot Robert Rodriguez, also a Technicolor employee. Rodriguez spoke Thursday evening at a program on the use of drones in production, hosted by the Hollywood section of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. During his presentation, Rodriguez noted that in the hands of experienced users, cameras mounted on drones can give filmmakers access to “new perspectives and locations that aren’t easily accessible to traditional production gear.” He asserted that use could also result in cost savings and safer sets. – Read more at

With Hollywood drones now getting approved, delivery drones like that of Amazon may not be far behind after all.

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