Game of drones - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and filming in public space

Published: 16 September 2015
Filed under: Screen Auckland

The rapid growth of filming using drones is a major screen trend, and ATEED is leading moves to help the industry understand the fast-evolving regulatory environment.

Almost 80 people attended a Screen Auckland-led ‘Game of Drones’ seminar in July on the use of drones in the screen industry, showing the high level of interest in the developing technology.

Screen industry professionals, drone operators, Auckland Council staff and other stakeholders heard the latest on new aviation legislation covering the use of drones, and discussed best practise guidelines.

Once used solely as military devices, drones – or un-manned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – have evolved rapidly in recent years, and become widely used consumer gadgets. Their filming capability is set to have a huge impact on the screen industry.

ATEED Film Facilitator Barry Smith leads Screen Auckland’s initiatives around drone use, and organised the seminar. He says the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) introduced new rules on 1 August to address the use of drones.

“It’s crucial for all would-be drone users to be aware of what is or isn’t okay, and our role is to help educate our thriving industry. The main change is that in certain circumstances drone operators now need an exemption for anything that goes beyond an everyday user going down to a park to fly a drone.

“For example, drone users will need an exemption to fly one over yachts moored at Westhaven Marina,” says Barry.

Experts from the CAA, Callaghan Innovation, and Model Flying New Zealand spoke at the seminar. The relevant bylaws that affect drone use were explained – such as those for Events in Public Places, and Public Safety and Nuisance.

“It’s crucial that anyone who wants to use a drone for any commercial filming, even if the filming involves a single operator, rather than an entire crew, contacts Screen Auckland in the first instance.”

Screen Auckland facilitates and permit filming and commercial photo shoots activity on public open space across the region, and can arrange for exemptions which meet the requirements. 

Many shoots with drones were permitted to take place prior to the new legislation, and new requests are received almost daily.

“We are able to explain what is now required, and ensure the screen industry doesn’t fall foul of the new regulations,” says Barry.


For more information on CAA regulations visit the air share website for information on flying drones in public space please contact 301-0101 and ask to speak with a Screen Auckland Film Facilitator.