By Matthew Givens
Twelve different sightings of drones over Paris were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday, and they may be part of some coordinated effort. Unauthorized flying of machines is strictly prohibited in France, the offense carrying upwards of an $85,000 fine. The French people are uneasy because of the recent terrorist attacks in the city. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also announced that to date over sixty drones have been spotted near French nuclear power plants.
In the UK, the House of Lords issued a report recommending that all civilian drones be regulated and registered, in turn giving more power to law enforcement. This policy aligns with the European Commission’s previous proposals concerning recreational drone use. Current rules for drones in the UK state that drones cannot be flown within 50 meters of a building, within 150 meters of a “built up area,” or above 400 feet in altitude. The pilot may not be more than 500 meters from the drone and it must be within line-of-sight. Also recommended in the report is a system for tracking all registered drones in order to better identify law-breakers and better monitor restricted airspace. In the US, NASA has a similar system in development.
The use of drone technology has perhaps not been more visibly evident than in the realm of videography. It has become increasingly feasible for small-time movie makers to get amazing aerial shots with the use of drones. Even large film studios have gotten into the action. Movies like Harry Potter, Man of Steel, and Skyfall had shots filmed with drones, although they were mostly shot out of the United States because of more lenient drone policies abroad. Now, the New York City Drone Film Festival has been created that will showcase films that feature the technology, awarding films for technical achievement as well as for more traditional aspects like narrative quality.