The State of Georgia ranks third worldwide in film production. This fact won’t surprise anyone who regularly watches the credits of their favorite shows and movies. Viewers of Georgia-based productions like The Walking Dead, Archer, and Captain America: Civil War will have undoubtedly recognized the stylized Georgia peach that appears at the tail-end of those works.
What may surprise some is Georgia’s emergence as a leader in the commercial unmanned aircraft systems industry, or what most people colloquially refer to as drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have already had an impact in the film industry, being a cost effective method of securing aerial footage. As Georgia’s already robust aerospace industry grows into this new frontier of aerospace innovation, those in both the film and UAV industries are seeking ways in which the two can more effectively work together.
To further this effort, representatives from both Georgia’s film and aerospace industries came together in August for a Film and UAV Working Group meeting to discuss the ways in which the two can more effectively work together to grow this business in the state.
Hosted by the Department’s Center of Innovation for Aerospace and Film Division, the Working Group began the morning with an update on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations from the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Program Manager, Mike Wilson, who outlined a number of new rules for small UAS including the rules that took effect on August, 29th, 2016. These new rules make it easier for businesses to use this technology for commercial purposes which will result in the potential growth of this industry in Georgia.
Attendees also heard an update on Georgia’s film industry from Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Lee Thomas, which was immediately followed by film producer Mike Heard. Mr. Heard updated the crowd on the use of drones in film, speaking from personal experience with his independent production company who has worked extensively with KSI Data Sciences to launch a cutting edge software platform for use with drones. According to Mr. Heard, UAVs offer a distinct advantage from a producer’s standpoint to using cranes or helicopters for aerial shots both for their versatility and cost-effectiveness.
The final presentation of the day came from attorney Lydia Hilton. Ms. Hilton focused on the liabilities of drone operation for film, and responding to a question asked earlier of Mike Wilson, reminded all attendees that as a lawyer she would advise that everyone “get everything in writing.”
As UAV technology continues to improve and become more ubiquitous, and the film industry in Georgia continues to flourish. The Center of Innovation for Aerospace and the Film Division will continue to seek ways to connect players in both industries to ensure that Georgia will continue to grow and compete in these thriving industries.
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