The sky literally became the limit for the film and television industry in the summer of 2016, when the Federal Aviation Administration announced the legalization of commercial drone use.
Prior to that point, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, or drones, required a bona fide pilot’s license for operation. The 2016 overhaul opened the floodgates, so to speak, for independent operators, allowing them to shoot drone video footage at their leisure after taking part in a FAA-approved aeronautical training program, earning a Remote Pilot Certificate to operate commercially, and adhering to industry regulations regarding weight, height, speed, scheduling, and other logistics.
Since their arrival on the film and video production scene, drones have been a hot commodity at Maslow Media Group, with clients frequently requesting them on shoots. It’s plain to see why. Drone technology allows production design to soar, while keeping costs relatively grounded.
Consider the following benefits of drone video footage:
- Convenience – Portability is increasingly one of the key selling points of UAVs. Many of today’s most cutting edge models tout their ability to be folded like origami, and easily transported from shoot to shoot in a backpack. Size, too, is tremendous boon for filmmakers. A helicopter can do a lot of wondrous things. Delivering sweeping flights-of-fancy indoors is not one of them.
- Affordability – Increasingly, there’s no need to “get to the chopper,” as Arnold Schwarzenegger once growled. According to Variety, aviation companies are known to charge film productions up to $25,000 per day for a helicopter and crew. Drone video footage clocks in at roughly half that cost with the big names, and far less when carried out by an independent operator with insurance and FAA clearance. Additionally, drones run on rechargeable, redundant batteries. The money saved on fuel alone can be redirected to craft services or any number of other production needs.
- Innovation – The ability to capture exciting, new, and innovative perspectives is perhaps the biggest draw of drone video footage. UAVs offer infinitely more aerial maneuverability, getting your lens up-close and personal with the action, while providing safe, unmanned access to exotic and unstable locations never before attempted. Imagine exploring volcanic vistas, the cusp of a tropical storm, or dropping in on a den of ravenous lions as they feed. Not only that, but potential exists within the technology to branch out into revolutionary new avenues of filmmaking, such as lighting, location scouting, and 3D modeling.
Although it feels as though drones have been part of the cinematic lexicon for ages, the truth is that the technology is still in its infancy and advances are being made every single day.
Laws, too, are constantly changing for the use of drones. Give MMG a call to find out what the latest regulations are for the use of a drone in your shooting area.
MMG specializes in worldwide camera crews and regularly staffs certified drone operators nationwide. We can help take your production to new heights.