Studios can now film with drones after reported FAA approval

When the producers of “The Amazing Race” made a version of the reality show in Canada, they used drones to record some of the action. In the U.S., this type of filming is off limits due to a blanket ban by the Federal Aviation Administration on commercial drone use — a ban that has long chafed the TV and movie industry.

Now, the rules are finally set to change as the [company]FAA[/company] prepares to let the industry operate drones on set, albeit with heavy restrictions. According to an AP report:

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to announce Thursday that it is granting permits to seven movie and television production companies to fly drones …. the permits are expected to come with limitations, including that the unmanned aircraft be used only on closed sets and that they be operated by a three-person team, including a trained drone operator.

These reported restrictions, especially the ones limiting the drones to indoor use, appear heavy-handed given that consumer drones, many of which weigh less than five pounds, are becoming a common piece of technology.

Drone lawyer Brendan Schulman, who is representing various groups suing the FAA, told the AP that the hassle of complying with the regulations may outweigh the benefits for the film industry.

More broadly, the FAA is maintaining its nationwide ban on commercial drone use as it plods toward new rules for unmanned aircraft. Meanwhile, the drone industry is taking off in Canada and other countries where hundreds of companies are using the technology in industries like farming, filming and real estate.

And in other drone-related news this week, a tourist who crashed his drone into an iconic Yellowstone hot spring has been banned from the National Park for a year and ordered to pay a fine.