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Old Oct 09, 2012, 02:15 PM
SamBones's Avatar
United States, CA, Irvine
Joined May 2008
406 Posts
Aerial Filming of Crowded Holiday Parade

Hi All,

I've been contacted by a friend of mine who is one of the organizers of a large holiday parade that takes place in Orange County, California every year in early December. The parade committee apparently had the idea of putting up an RC helicopter or plane to take aerial photographs or movies of the parade. The parade is very well attended with many thousands of people lining the streets. This sounds both dangerous and possibly illegal.

What are the safety and legal issues on something like this. Does anyone have any comments or links I could forward to my friend?
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 02:31 PM
Ocala, Florida
Joined Jun 2007
499 Posts
I see your concerns, would they consider shooting from a mast? A video shot from say 50 feet up would probably be very effective and much safer given the crowd situation.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 02:41 PM
LoS sUAS AP/V is not a crime
United States, CA, Grass Valley
Joined Mar 2012
157 Posts
Or you could contract with the building owners along the route for window, balcony or roof access. Much safer.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 03:06 PM
Registered User
Joined Aug 2012
56 Posts
I'm most certainly no expert, but I'm pretty sure that if they wanted to do the flying themselves they'd need one of those waivers from the FAA (probably not going ot happen). They MIGHT be able to have a "hobbyist" do the flying then donate the film to them (meaning NO compensation AT ALL). Of course there's the question of what type of video quality they want. Are they willing to settle for unstabilized GoPro or keychain cam footage, or would they need to find one of the more serious AP flyers with a better camera rig? Also is this just for a quick top-down view to show the extent of the parade (which would require a short flight, possibly conducted near but not over the actual route) or do they want to cover the entire parade (which could require several hours of flight time)?

It would probably be safer (and produce better video) to use roof / balcony access or a crane as others have said. Think of the big televised parades (new year's / thanksgiving) - there's the Goodyear blimp that's used for quick aeiral views, but the vast majority of footage comes from cranes or other camera placements along the route. That's the nature of parades, they move past the spectators, so you can have 1 stationary camera on the ground and still see all the floats with good detail. A crane can get a lot closer to floats/groups for detail shots than many would be comfortable seeing an RC aircraft getting.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 07:20 PM
Registered User
Denver, CO
Joined Dec 2005
6,695 Posts
Some proven means in a crowd are blimps, balloons, cables (zip line), and mast or booms. I would forget about RC helicopters, multi's or airplanes in a crowd.
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