Ryan French

What to know before hiring a drone operator

Your drone operator must be licensed if operating commercially

All drone operators flying for a commercial venture must be licensed by the Federal Administration Administration.

The licensing process involves a background check, paying the appropriate fee, and completing an airman knowledge test at a FAA approved testing center. Operators who complete the process will receive a temporary paper certificate and then a card in the mail weeks later.

If a drone operator is flying to further any business (with or without compensation) it is considered a flying for a commercial venture. Drone pilots who are operating recreationally (for fun) do not need to be licensed. Any other activity may be considered flying commercially and a license is required.

Knowingly hiring an unlicensed drone operator is a crime. When hiring a drone operator, always make sure to physically see their license license. Many assume that the legal ramifications of an unlawful operation will only fall on the operator. However, the FAA has ruled that those hiring unlicensed operators are also liable.

Tampa Bay Video Service’s Ryan French is licensed to operate a drone by the FAA. Also any pilot we may hire to help out with a job will also be licensed.


Your drone operator may need to have the drone registered

It’s the law! All drones weighing over approximently a half pound (.55 lbs) and up to 55 pounds must be registered via the FAA’s drone zone web portal. Drones weighing more than 55 pounds undergo a licensing process similar to typical manned aircraft. When hiring a drone operator ask to see a copy of the registration. 


Your drone operator may require authorization to operate near airports

All commercial drone operators must have authorization from the FAA to operate within 5 miles from certain airports. 

Without authorization, no commercial drone operator can fly within 5 miles of a towered airport that is within Class B thru Class E airspace. A general “blanket” authorization can be obtained via the FAA’s official web portal. Blanket authorizations are usually requested for a large portion of the airspace and a broad timeframe.

Tampa Bay Video Service has valid authorizations for all of the area airports including Tampa Internatal,

Even with a blanket authorization, certain locations directly in front of departure or arrival corridors may be restricted in altitude or may require a more specific authorization which includes a specific date, time, radius, and altitude. The drone operator should provide the customer a copy of the authorization which will include a map of the airspace and any applicable restrictions.

Flying unlawfully in the airspace is a crime because doing so can result in damage to aircraft, injury, and death!


Your drone operator be operating lawfully

With a license alone, drone operators may not do the following: fly at night, fly over people, fly beyond line of sight, fly higher than 400 feet, fly from a moving aircraft or vehicle, or a single pilot flying multiple drones. A drone operator must have a written waiver from the FAA to do any of these. Ask to see copy of their waiver to insure the operation is safe.


Your drone operator should have insurance

Despite the best intentions, pilot error, malfunctions, interference, or acts of God could result in damage to property or injury to persons on the ground. It is likely that such incidents may result in a civil claim in which the drone operator and the hiring entity will be listed as the defendant. 

It is our policy at Tampa Bay Video Service to take out a specific policy on every drone job we take on and include the client as additional insured party. This is to protect not only our interests but yours. Insist that your drone operator be insured and ask to see a copy of the policy before they take off.

Why we don’t use “popular” music in our productions

Customers often request their videographer or editor to include popular music in their video. In the case of a wedding video, a customer would want the song they used for their first dance in the video. The source of audio could either be from the ambient audio captured in the video or even synchronizing a clean cut of the music over the wedding video.

We don’t do this and there’s a very good reason for it…

When you buy a song from iTunes, Amazon, or any other service, you’re buying the right to listen privately such as on your smartphone or MP3 player. Owning a copy of a song does not give you a blanket right to copy, redistribute, broadcast, or utilize the cut of music in any form without consent or a license from the copyright holder(s).

The copyright holder of a song usually includes the artist or band but often gives rights to a record or publishing company who’s experienced with managing the rights to music. Videographers that use copyrighted music illegally may have their videos deleted from video sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. Repeat offenders may have their accounts closed. Even worse, videographers may be served with a significant lawsuit. 

A well-known videographer, Joe Simon, was served with a demand of $150,000 for a single song used in a wedding video he produced. Although he was able to settle for a undisclosed five figure amount, such a hit could be catastrophic for any small business. Although the Simon lawsuit was the most notable, such lawsuits and demands are served every single day.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception that music captured “incidentally” while recording video is fair game. Simply stated, it is not. There is also a misconception that “fair use” may be a defense in such cases. Fair use is usually a defense to using copyrighted material for private, educational, and production related to journalism. Wedding videos are a commercial venture and would not fit under the “fair use” doctrine.

So, how much would it cost to license a popular cut of music?

Licensing a popular song in a wedding video usually is roughly within the lower five figures. The fees are outrageous but let’s face it, artists and publishing companies are in the business to make a living. If there licensing fees were normally $100, it would be much more difficult to bring a much larger lawsuit against someone who uses their material without permission or a license.

Videographers have been able to get away with using copyrighted music because such videos were usually delivered on a tape or DVD and are never usually shown beyond the living room. Now in the digital age, such files can be posted and shared everywhere on the internet without thought to the legal implications and without any control of the videographer.

Sharing a video with copyright music may cause you to get involved in a legal case as well. Although you may not have produced the video, broadcasting it may make you the initial recipient of letters from lawyers. And let’s face it, no one wants to have to deal with a lawyer that isn’t theirs. Don’t work with a videographer who doesn’t have your best interest in mind!

So that is why we have our policy not to include popular music in wedding videos (unless you’re willing to pay the licensing fee). This also includes any other media included in a video not produced by us such as video from a guest or some photos shot by your still photographer. We must always receive permission or pay a licensing fee for using copyrighted media.

This policy protects not only us but you as our valued customer!

Tampa Bay Video Service has access to thousands of high quality music that can be used in your video production as an alternative to copyrighted audio. The licensing fees for including such music is less than $100 and is often included in the package price. If you ever receive an inquiry on the reality of using a cut of music in your video, you can be assured we can provide documentation to squash any legal claims.

No matter who you hire to do your next video production, make sure they always have the proper permission or license for copyrighted music!

Andrew Wood’s Book Sales Master Class

Tampa Bay Video Service recently finished another project for Andrew Wood of Legendary Marketing. His Book Sales Master Class teaches authors how to boost their book marketing tactics and most importantly, sales.

In addition to the hour long video course, TBVS produced a 7-minute teaser version as well as a 1-minute teaser which you can watch below. For more information please visit www.BookSalesMasterClass.com.

A Plus Soft Wash Promo Video

Recently Tampa Bay Video Service was hired to shoot and edit a promotional video for A Plus Soft Wash, a pressure washing service in Clearwater, FL.

The client requested us to shoot a short video highlighting one of their recent jobs. We were able to produce a simple video that worked well within their budget. Take a look!

More in-depth video productions for this client are in progress.

Visit A Plus Soft Wash at www.aplussoftwash.com.

Andrew Wood’s Million Dollar Laptop

Since February of 2017 Tampa Bay Video Service has been producing videos for the Million Dollar Laptop program.

Marketing legend Andrew Wood takes you through his experience in the information marketing business. Whether your looking ways to improve your existing business, or your business IS information marketing, this program is for you.

The program goes over topics such as how to create information products, compile an E-mail database, foster social media engagement, how to test prices, building your credibility in your industry, and more.

The course includes online access, DVD’s, manuals, as of course, 14 professionally produced videos on every topic in the course.  The Million Dollar Laptop program is scheduled for release in early 2018.