Drone pilot licenses for youth in film industry

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission has officially launched a drone technology training programme which aims to up skill youth to obtain their drone pilot licenses now that the use of drones in film making is legal. This comes after film makers introduced drones as cheaper and safer alternatives for aerial footage, rather than helicopter shots, which […]

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The KZN film commission has announced that it will train drone pilots for the local film making industry / Image: pexels.com

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission has officially launched a drone technology training programme which aims to up skill youth to obtain their drone pilot licenses now that the use of drones in film making is legal.

This comes after film makers introduced drones as cheaper and safer alternatives for aerial footage, rather than helicopter shots, which are now been commonly used in the local industry since they were legalised for this use in 2014. The commission recently launched the initiative as part of its Human Capital Development programme.

Over the past five years drone technology has improved, and so has the imagination of the filmmakers who are using them. Better camera gimbals, more durable hardware, and more sophisticated software has enabled cinematographers to push the limits of aerial cinematography.

Drone pilot programme a first for the commission

KZN Film Commission CEO Carol Coetzee said the new programme was a first for the commission as part of its 2021 training programme.  

“This showcases how the KZN Film Commission is truly invested in youth development within our province and film space. The KZN Film Commission is an entity that strives to stay relevant, in tune with the relevant trends and technology within the film industry,” Coetzee said.

The applications criteria for the programme was targeted at students who have received official Qualifications in Cinematography Camera Operation through any accredited Higher Education Institution. Seven of the “crème dela crème’ were selected to participate in the programme. They will be trained in drone technology and at the end of the course they will receive their official Drone Pilot License. The programme is being run by the Accredited Starlight Aviation Academy at Viginia Airport in Durban.

The drone technology course involves three weeks of ground training at the training centre and two weeks of practical training that will take place at the flight centre in Ballito, Durban KwaZulu-Natal.

KZN to attract global film makers

The KZN Film Commission’s vision  is to be a catalyst for transformation, job creation and sustainability through funding human capital development initiatives and the promotion of KZN. It aims to promote the province globally as a prime destination for film production. 

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