Let me point out immediately, I don’t own a UAV, but I have flown one before (poorly).
There is a seemingly sudden fear mongering about privacy due to “drones” which is nothing more than that, and seems to have appeared from out of nowhere. Original laws were implemented to control airspace in and around airports, or flight paths, these were wise, even if a little too late to come into law. It appeared there were no preemptive strikes to implement laws but a sudden scramble to get laws in place as UAV’s became increasingly impressive exceeding expected heights distances and abilities. Removing the right to fly these devices due to breaching newly forming laws specifically being created to disallow the use of UAV’s seemed like a bit of a catch 22 (and sounds like it too), and in some Countries rather draconian or totalitarian.
Other than the obvious accessibility for filming, my concern is that the word drone is bandied about and has some seriously negative connotations, for the most part an affordable flying apparatus (which can support a camera), is in fact a Quadcopter or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). Quadcopters offer the stability required to both film and photograph from an aerial perspective. Drones offer governmental spying and the ability to facilitate the delivery of an explosive payload. So, as I said, Drone implies negative connotations.
In New Zealand laws now exist or are being implemented, but are seemingly far more lenient than those in the US and especially the UK.
For information on the laws, perspective laws and news articles – view the following:
The Drone Law Journal (International/US)
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (NZ Laws)
Drones to get new set of Rules (New Zealand Herald)
Federal Aviation Administration (US)
Drone Flight – Summary of UK legal requirements (UK)
RPATraining information (Australia)
The art of aerial shots on a low or no budget are, for the time being, still possible. Average to good Quadcopters like the Blades are still readily available, affordable and have GoPro mounting included. Some have an on board camera, although some are not so great quality wise. Some copters even have safety features where they will hover at a particular height, which makes Bird’s eye or God’s eye view possible and affordable, or alternatively make jib arm shots possible without the need for a cumbersome jib arm rig. In fact, with the exception of the noise many of them make, most shots would be usable without a little ADR and Foley.
How easy are they to fly? To be honest, not very, unless you get a model which has a safety mode or various flight modes (which keep the unit upright and stable so even a child can fly), it’s advised you practise for a decent amount of time before arming a Quadcopter with a camera and trying to get those perfect shots, last thing you want is a damaged Quadcopter AND camera.
I found these 10 tips and pointers on Chris Jones Blog which may be of help to get you started.
Shooting With Drones: Ten tips for filming astounding footage on a shoestring