Did The FAA Just Make Drone Shots Illegal?

Posted by Doug Klinger on June 26, 2014 in News

Staff Post


You guys know those sweet aerial drone shots that have been popping up lately in music videos? The type of shots that you used to have to rent a helicopter to get have recently been achieved by attaching a camera to a model aircraft and flying that baby through the air. According to a document released today by the Federal Aviation Administration?, those shots are now illegal if someone got paid to shoot them. In the document, it basically says that any commercial operation of a model aircraft is totally not cool, you guys. It even goes as far as to break down the difference between what is commercial operation and what isn't.


There are a lot of people who are probably bummed out about this, including realtors who fly drones to shoot listing photos, companies who hoped to use drones to deliver products, and possibly music video camera operators who could afford to buy a Quadcopter but haven't been certified as commercial operators by the FAA. Pretty much anyone who wants to take photos or videos of things from high up in the air for money but doesn't own a helicopter has the right to be a little upset.

Drones have proven to be an extremely inexpensive and easily accessible answer to helicopter shots, and for a while it looked like like they were going to be the new standard for aerial shots in music videos. However with this new document banning all commercial use of them, it's hard to see that being the case anymore, which is unfortunate because the quality of footage produced by drones really seemed to open up a lot new possibilities to even smaller budget projects. 

If it really is RIP drone shots, we're pretty sad, but at least we'll always have this Instragm video of one being used by BRTHR on set of "Coming Of Age" by Foster The People. They can't take that away from us.

Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.



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