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Staying On The Right Side Of Drone Laws

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Carys Kaiser is a drone operator who has been in the TV industry for 12 years, and is a shooting PD and camera operator.

Drones have become an amazing visual story telling technique, but as a production company how do you stay on the right side of the law? What is your corporate responsibility when the law is complex and there so many drone operators offering services? How do you balance that with the shots you, as a director, want in your programme and stay on the right side of the drone laws?

The first step is to ask, 'Do you have CAA Permissions' and ask them to send a copy of that and their insurance to you once you have decided to book. You can also check the CAA register for their company name.

There are so many qualified and unqualified flying, but it is down to the production company to check. It is classed as your corporate responsibility. Sometimes extra planning or road closures may be required to achieve the shots needed; the person will have all the legal knowledge.

Chat about what is needed. The drone operator should also come from a filming background for technical camera knowledge, and also able to support you with the risk assessment. Often, I have to write an additional risk assessment for the production company and I am happy to to this.

Never be suspicious if the drone operator asks lots of questions about the location and talks of the complexity of the law. It is those that don't do the planning and can't share an additional risk assessment that should raise your concern. I am also always happy to give drone filming advice even if it doesn't lead to a booking.

This article is also available to read in the June edition of Broadcast Film & Video as part of our Aerial Filming feature.

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