Are Filmmakers Using Drones Illegally? Looks Like It

It is illegal in the U.S. to operate a drone for cash. That’s the position of the Federal Aviation Administration — which is in charge of protecting air space. But at least one industry has decided that it doesn’t care and it’s going to put drones to work anyway: the film industry.

Drone Startups Hit Hollywood

It’s 4:45 a.m. in Southern California, but Jeff Blank is used to starting this early. “Directors are chasing the sunrise shot,” he says, “and the winds are pretty calm this time of day.”

Blank and his cousin Andrew Petersen run a family business called Drone Dudes, based in Los Angeles. Companies pay them to fly drones with video cameras into the air, to get footage for movies and commercials. It’s a hot new service in the world of aerial cinematography.

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