As exciting as drones are proving for both hobbyists and commercial filmmakers, local and federal governments in the United States are continuously enacting legislation that governs the use of drones for shooting video.
Filmmakers and video production professionals need to pay particular attention to the rules because the FAA requires anyone using drones for commercial purposes to get special permission to do so.
Have a look at the infographic below for an overview of the rules you need to know. This isn’t meant to be legal advice, just a heads-up for all the little details you must take into account when shooting commercial footage with your drone:
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The FAA’s registration requirements are new as of December 2015, and they might be subject to some revisions in the coming months and years, as we as a society find the right boundaries to set for drones and their use.
For now, one of your best resources for flying compliant is FAA.gov/UAS, where you can go to get instructions on how to register your drone and seek the necessary exemption to fly for commercial purposes.
Another great resource is INSCT at Syracuse University, which is compiling up-to-date information on federal, state and local ordinances regarding the use of drones.
Alan at UAV Coach also has a rolling list of drone laws, and he also has put together an excellent list of aerial videography tips worth checking out, too.
Finally, a special mention goes out to aviation safety consultant and Adjunct Professor at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology John Goglia, a Forbes contributor who has been persistent in seeking clarifications from governing bodies about what drone users can and cannot do. His reporting helped guide much of the infographic above.