Contact the Production Safety Consultant and Risk Management as soon as you plan to use a drone. Specific safety and insurance guidance will be provided. All drone operators should have a current Motion Picture and Television Operations Manual (MPTOM) which should be provided to the production prior to engagement. All drone operators should also plan on utilizing a visual observer during drone operations.
Prior to engaging a vendor for drone operations, a contract should be in place. During the contract process, your drone vendor should advise the production of their permitted operating requirements and limitations. This information should be shared with, and be understood by, all involved in the planning process so that the vendor can prepare any necessary written plans or notifications such as Plan of Activities to the local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Once submitted, the vendor may have limited ability to alter the plans or notifications when filming commences.
Production should work with the vendor to ensure that all non-FAA required permits and notifications are obtained/made. There may be several Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for the chosen filming location (e.g., Film Commission, Fire Department, Film Permit Office, etc.) The vendor and Location Manager should ensure that all requirements are met and in place prior to the day's activities.
All drone operations should be directed by the RPIC and VO. Both of these individuals should be supplied by the vendor. They are in overall command of drone operations.