High School Football Drone Video

‘High school football drone video and sharper sideline action is what teams want more than any other coverage’

Nada Khalaf-Jones

High School Football Drone Video started out as an idea behind those ridiculously tall telescoping cameras! And the rubbish quality of what teams get with HUDL.


Well those are here to stay until people agree it would be better to have drones. And until the Athletics Director, Athletics Boosters, Florida Department Of Education & FAA also agree that flying a drone stationary over a football field for the duration of a game is a smart thing to do.

“There is just so much distance between the reality of drone cameras over high school football games and where we are presently with athletics director, school board, FAA and parents of players.”



Coral Shores Football Season

MOST drones made now can fly using gps positioning and will stay right where you put them using ‘tripod mode’

NEW TECH DRONES the newer DJI MAVIC 3 PRO CINE (which weighs much more than the MINI3) will give you 40 minutes. Wind, weather, distance travelled dependent.


According to DJI & FAA the weight of a drone has to be under 250g to be considered a Category 1 ‘acceptable’ risk when flown over people.


The injury resulting from a drone of this size going at speed. I don’t like the visual that gives. But face it we must!

And we are talking about a crowd of people who are ‘PARTICIPANTS’ with no head coverings. Possibly not under a structure of any kind.

  1. the small unmanned aircraft does not operate over non-participants who are not under a covered structure or in a stationary covered vehicle; 
  2. the small unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any reason (§ 107.19); and 
  3. the small UAS is not operated in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another (§ 107.23). 

Football players all wear helmets! So of course you have to alert them to it’s presence – and yes there is a risk of getting hit by a ‘falling drone’ if it craps out. But hovering overhead at 100 ft should be acceptable.

IF. If the operator knows exactly what they are doing and how much of a safety buffer there needs to be before it runs out of battery. And how to handle a ‘fly away’ or a ‘bird strike’ or even a student private pilot deciding to ‘buzz the game’ on Friday evening! Not to forget the helicopters around here that LOVE to get low enough they could trim the trees! All these risks must be addressed and mitigation in place!

What are the operations over people categories?

The ability to fly over people varies depending on the level of risk that a small UAS operation presents to people on the ground. Operations over people are permitted subject to the following requirements:

  • Category 1 small unmanned aircraft are permitted to operate over people, provided the small unmanned aircraft:
    • Weigh 0.55 pounds (249.476g) or less, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft at the time of takeoff and throughout the duration of each operation.
    • Contain no exposed rotating parts that would cause lacerations.

In addition, for Category 1 operations, no remote pilot in command may operate a small unmanned aircraft in sustained flight over open-air assemblies unless the operation is compliant with Remote ID.

Assuming Nada Jones has the skills and knows the risks and has mitigated them all and won’t make mistakes? No pressure or anything just to get the best angles for the players so they can see the way it looks from above! But what about angles?? Hmmm?


The DJI MAVIC 3 PRO MINI weighs in at 249g – yes they made it that way on purpose!!! It is light enough will run for up to 30 minutes. So Nada Jones can run it over the crowds too right?

But is it wise and are the rewards worth the risk? Or should we stay w the crappy low resolution sometimes wonky and often poorly focused camera at the top of the stands? When they don’t turn up?HUDL seems to like their product!!!! Coaches are not so impressed. But what choices do they have?

PLAYERS say they love the close up sideline video I was producing for them this season with the Sony Alpha’s. All of them loved the grass roots angles and fantastic 4K sharp low light quality you get from a Sony Cinema Line FX3

‘The boys love seeing themselves close up like this, they really enjoy seeing the plays this clearly, it is so intense’ Mel Serrano, Football Booster Board.

It is always good to see the play from the side and elevated a little. Which could, if we used a drone,

on our field, put it directly over the crowd. And in the case of the MAVIC 3 MINI this is still considered acceptable. Even though there are bare heads below!!


If you want to put a drone further away in a ‘safe zone’ which is my preference, that’s gonna be a larger drone with a massively better digital and optical zoom. Delivering better quality than the nasty HUDLY camera ! Easily. We are talking 5K Resolution Video and 48MP RAW Still Photos on the DJI MAVIC PRO 3 CINE. You can get 2 X to 25 X closer using the Hasselblad Camera! It’ll run for 40 mins or so.

At the start of the season on 2022 the Coral Shores High School boosters asked me to show them ‘what you got’ and ‘impress me’ so I did.

I went to their ‘full uniform’ photo day and made a complete nuisance of myself. Coming up with angles and a ‘video story’ all on the spot! Drone plus Sony Alpha!

Then the ‘athletics board’ watched and loved it so much they offered me the ‘sponsorship’ which is always a bitter sweet pill! Because the season cost me $25,000 in time and editing and batteries.

But my banner ‘Nada Khalaf-Drones Photo Video Drone’ with the website and phone.. are up on the field in two GREAT locations. – Still have only seen the one booking from those sources!

So thanks to my girl friends – I got to BE the videographer and drone video creator for the entire 2022 Coral Shores High School Football season. @nadajonesphotography I even got an award!

Fast forward. It’s SIGNING DAY.

Going to share that film here soon!

Categories Florida Keys Aerial PhotographyTags , ,

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