TV News Drones

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, are becoming a promising new tool for news gathering as TV stations and networks around the world begin to experiment with these smaller, more compact and easier to maneuver devices equipped with cameras.

TV news drones are typically equipped with high definition video cameras and can be used to fly over the scenes of news stories, or simply to capture “beauty shots” for weather forecasts or use at various places throughout the newscast.

Drones are particularly useful in covering natural disasters, environmental and nature news, traffic news, weather news or stories that require showing wide areas of land, such as property or road development or construction, though their use is hardly limited to just these areas.

Drones have the advantage of being smaller and less expensive than news helicopters and also offer some safety advantages in that they are unmanned and, in the event of a crash or mechanical failure, no on-board crew in put in danger.

However, there have been reports of drones causing injury to people on the ground or damage to property such as buildings and vehicles.

Drones are also able to fly at lower heights than helicopters and also offer the advantage of being quieter. However, like helicopters, drones have limited use during certain weather conditions, particularly storms or high winds.

Because of the proximity to the ground drones maintain, they often may lack the advanced (and more expensive) cameras equipped with gyro stabilization, digital image stabilization or enhanced zoom technologies.

Like that captured by news helicopters, drone footage may be aired live via wireless transmission technologies or stored on media for editing and playback later.

The video captured by drone is often recognizable by its fluid movement that is possible from the smaller, more agile devices.

Despite their usefulness, there is still many regulatory issues surrounding the use of drones for commercial purposes in the United States in general.

The FAA has not established complete rules and regulations surrounding the use of drones for TV news coverage and is slowly issuing permits to a handful of companies on a semi-experimental basis.

Most TV stations contract with a third party company or individual who is covered under such a license.

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