"Mesmerizing," "cool," "beautiful," say some of the people who have helped push the online views of the video recording past 60,000.
Illegal, too, in the view of the
The agency is still issuing
In this vacuum, lawyers are advising clients to keep filming, a new
"I'm not breaking the law," Bradley said. "I follow all the rules."
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Bradley strapped a digital video camera weighing less than a pound to a 2-pound remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle to make the video "Tampa Aerial Drones." He put the 2-minute, 45-second montage to music with "Love Letters" by Paper Route. It is posted at www.righthandfilms.com.
He never flew any higher, he said, than 300 feet -- well below the 400-foot limit the
His main use of the drone, Bradley said, is recording homes from above for real estate agents to give potential buyers and renters a unique view.
Modern drones first gained public attention with the fixed-wing variety used by the military. Those used for commercial purposes, like Bradley's, are much smaller and resemble mini-helicopters with multiple rotors. In filmmaking, the more rotors, the steadier and safer the camera will be.
"Unless you are
"And most productions, even
Still, the 400-foot rule hurts the
The federal agency is charged with keeping aerial travel safe and simply lacks jurisdiction below 400 feet, he said.
"If you put a drone up to 2,000 feet, sure, there has to be regulation because you are endangering the public by being at the same altitude a plane can fly at," Haggard said. "The minimum altitude an airplane can fly over a sparsely populated area is 500 feet and over a populated area is 1,000 feet."
Levy said it is unclear why the
"I'd guess it's because if someone was to get hurt,
The Tribune asked the
Industries of all kinds are finding uses for drones.
Farmers can water crops with them or check distant fields. Search-and-rescue teams can scan wide areas quickly. Amazon even has plans to deliver packages by drone.
All of these, according to the
For film and video producers, drones have opened a whole dimension of cost-effective possibilities.
"It's a quick way to get aerial shots I couldn't afford to get previously," said
Wolding has flown drones for personal use but is still weighing the risk of a fine for commercial use.
This year, Disney canceled a drone shoot Levy was hired to oversee, he said. The company was suspending all drone shoots until the
"At this time, due to the lack of
This is significant for production companies because they must apply to the film commission for permits when shooting in a public place and submit a detailed list of equipment to be used.
If a drone is listed, a permit will not be issued.
Without a permit, local authorities can shut down a production.
If a drone hurts someone or damages property, a production company's insurer might not cover the claim unless the company has obtained the local permit.
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Fly Habana is hoping to become the first in
In its guidelines for seeking exemptions, the
Levy said he has an
"We are not hobbyists but professionally trained," he said. "We do not need the exemption to use the drones, but I think that if the
Haggard, the lawyer, said he would be surprised if a production company received an exemption.
Via email, the
"I think it is because they are understaffed," Levy said. "And we had to write a letter, but there was no standard way to apply. I think it would be helpful for everyone if the
The agency is likely to take the approach of licensing companies to use drones, then leaving local jurisdictions to grant use permits on a case-by-case basis, Levy said.
In anticipation of that day, Levy is working closely with Gordon of the film commission to draft
They might include provisions such as safeguards against public liability for lawsuits claiming invasion of privacy, Gordon said.
If a drone flies by a condo tower downtown, for example, tenants may subject to being recorded. A property manager might have to OK a flyby even if the building isn't recorded.
Gordon would also want drone operators to provide a
"I see this as being an annual update on the federal and local level," Gordon said.
"The problem has been that our technology is advancing quicker than our regulations can handle. It's an exciting and difficult issue but one I know we'll get a handle on and that will benefit the industry."
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