The California Film Commission (CFC) enhances California's status as the leader in motion picture, television and commercial production.


A one-stop office for filmmakers, the Commission supports productions of all sizes and budgets. In addition to managing the Film & Television Tax Credit program, services include an extensive digital location library, free online permitting, low cost use of state properties as shooting locations, and production assistance.


7080 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 900

Hollywood, CA 90028




[email protected] 


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California Film Commission




DATE: August 29, 2016

Update on the Use of UAS (Drones) For Filming Over State Property


Today, the FAA's permanent regulations for the commercial operation of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) in the National Airspace go into effect. These new regulations provide guidance for conducting sUAS operations in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 107.

Among other requirements, UAS operators flying drones under Part 107 must possess a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate. Due to the anticipated volume of applications, the process to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate may take several months (especially for those who don't already have a Part 61 pilot certificate). In addition, Part 107 requires a waiver to fly over people, and the process to obtain a waiver could take as long as 90 days.

Therefore, for the time being, the California Film Commission will issue film permits with drone activities over state property only to applicants using FAA 333-exempted operators.  Requests for drone activity over State Parks & Beaches and Caltrans properties will continue to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis

Until further notice, the guidelines listed on the CFC website are still in effect: Use of UAS on State Property

While the FAA controls U.S. airspace, individual jurisdictions (states, counties, cities) may regulate take-offs and landings within their jurisdictions. Additionally, the FAA does not regulate the use of UAS indoors (on a stage, in a building or other enclosed areas), and indoor drone activity will require other applicable approvals.

For Operators:

Those drone operators who have been working under FAA 333 exemptions may continue to do so, as a 333 exemption remains valid until it expires. Be aware however, that an exempted operator may not "mix and match" the conditions and limitations in a Section 333 exemption with the operating rules of Part 107.

In order to obtain a Part 107 Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, those (who do not already hold a Part 61 pilot certificate) must pass an initial aeronautical test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center and be vetted by the TSA. Those with a Part 61 pilot certificate must have successfully completed a flight review within the previous 24 months and complete a Part 107 on-line training course.

Additional Resources: 


For questions about the use of drones when filming on state property, contact CFC Deputy Director Eve Honthaner at 323-860-2960, ext. 136 or [email protected]

California Film Commission | 7080 Hollywood Boulevard | Suite 900 | Hollywood | CA | 90028