Maybe you’ve seen a commercial where the camera flies through the air now commonly referred to as drones.  Maybe it was a car commercial or company introduction video.  In the past, this was done with big helicopters that had big cameras attached to them.   However, it is becoming more common for aerial video production to be created with a remote control helicopters with small cameras attached to them.  Most recently, I have see camera drones used in real estate videos and may company videos.  It’s pretty cool.  However, here are some things to consider if you’re thinking of going this route.

Any unmanned aircraft is considered a drone.  This could be anything from that really cheap remote control airplane in the hobby store down the street to the drones that they used during our war with Iraq.  While we refer to these as drones, the FAA refers to them as UAS.

According to the FAA it is currently legal to fly drones with cameras attached to them for personal use, but there are 30 states that are in the process of trying to make it illegal.  Again, if you are taking a video for your own private use, that’s considered legal.  Now, here’s where the illegal part comes in according to the FAA.  If you are flying a drone with a camera attached with the purpose of making a commercial video that you plan to make money off of, it’s illegal, according to the FFA.   According to the website drone law journal,  ,  it isn’t actually illegal.  They say that the FAA has no authority to ban the use of remote-controlled model aircraft.

The President has mandated that the FAA open airspace for commercial drones by 2015, but that could be as late as September of 2015 or even later.

So what should your company or home seller do?  I am not a lawyer, but I would say, for now, play it safe and stay away from this.  It will work itself out over the next few years.   It isn’t worth the chance and the possibility of having to pay a very hefty fine.  Is your commercial that is made with a drone worth the potentially $10,000 or higher fine?  We don’t think so and that is why we currently don’t offer this service, even though we have the capability to offer it.  For now, if you need aerial video we will stick with using a real helicopter with a camera mounted to it for our clients to keep them safe from possible legal prosecution.

If you do hire a drone operator make sure they are insured with actual insurance that covers drones.  Also make sure they have registered there drone with the FAA.  This means that you are going pay a lot more for a drone operator but it will decrees the likely hood of being sued.