The entertainment industry was one of the first to use drones and take advantage of their “better, faster, cheaper” benefits for filming. While the advanced technology can contribute to a more efficient and cost-effective production, hiring a competent drone services operator to film on set is not without its potential pitfalls.
Transport Canada took a clear step towards “professionalizing” the drone piloting industry through its regulatory amendments to Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (the “CARs”), requiring drone pilots to meet specific knowledge criteria in order to be licensed to fly. However, flying skill and knowledge of air rules is not all that make a competent drone services operator; they must be attuned to the specific challenges risks associated with filming on set.
Keep in mind the following points before hiring an operator:
- Consider whether they have the right drone for the job. There’s no “one-size-fits-all drone” and some are better suited than others for filming in specific conditions you may require.
- Look for someone who has standard operating and emergency procedures. A competent drone pilot should “expect the unexpected” and have plan in place to keep the crew, actors, production equipment and any bystanders safe from harm.
- Ensure the operator holds insurance. Protect your production from potential litigation in the event of an accident and seek to have your company added as an additional insured to the policy.
- Agree to the terms in writing. Specify that the operator is responsible for complying with all applicable laws (including the CARs, the Aeronautics Act, municipal bylaws, and provincial trespass to property acts), and detail the scope, copyright provisions, and data collection and protection process provisions.
To learn more about these legal considerations, read the full insight on Entertainment & Media Law Signal. If you wish to discuss this post or its possible implications for your business, please contact Kathryn McCulloch.