Filming and photography on campus
Any plan to capture video or photographic images on the campus must first be submitted to the media relations staff at the Communications Department, who will liaise with campus security and any other relevant parties at Université Laval.
General steps to follow to obtain a shooting permit
- Whether you're a student, an employee, a member of the media, an external organization, or someone else, you must receive written permission from the Communications Department to capture video or photographic images or to shoot a film or documentary on the Université Laval campus.
- Applications must be submitted at least five (5) business days before the shoot date using the online request form.
Specific considerations regarding image capture using drones on campus
There has been a big increase in requests to take aerial images of the university using drones, whether for promotional, artistic, or scientific purposes.
While drone photography is less expensive than traditional methods such as airplanes and helicopters, it too has a cost. It must be done safely, in accordance with Canadian aviation regulations and government regulations on the use of drones.
Here's what to do:
The first thing you have to do is submit your project to the media relations team in the Communications Department. They will liaise as needed with Security and Prevention Services (SSP) and other relevant parties on campus.
To request a permit or for more information, please contact:
Simon La Terreur-Picard
Next, you should know that any individual or organization that wants to take professional aerial photos or videos with drones for commercial purposes or in an urban area must comply with current Transport Canada regulations. Before beginning, it's important to read the information on this topic on the Transport Canada website.
There are currently three regulatory frameworks regarding drone use:
- Non-recreational use (e.g., commercial use): users must obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to fly their drone
- Recreational use: users must fly their drone in compliance with Transport Canada's Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft
- Recreational use by members of the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC): these users are exempt from the rules in the interim order
As you can see, for any non-recreational activity amateur filming is not allowed, for basic safety and security reasons. Any Université Laval employee who wishes to capture images with a drone on campus for work purposes must comply with the regulation and obtain a flight permit (an SFOC).
Once you have an SFOC for your drone-based video project, it is essential that you hire a company that takes safety and security seriously and meets all the regulatory requirements.
More and more service providers are trying their hand at aerial filming, but not all of them have the same video production expertise.
Taking high-quality, perfectly stable aerial images is a complex endeavour. It requires both an excellent understanding of the technical constraints in play (weather, wind, vibrations, light, ensuring no one on the ground is in the shooting area during flight, etc.) and video production expertise (photo direction, camera manoeuvring, team management, etc.).
Not just any provider with the necessary equipment can apply for an SFOC with Transport Canada. However, unless you choose a provider who holds a Standing SFOC, which is a permanent certification issued by Transport Canada, it can take weeks or even months to receive a Site-Specific SFOC for your project, depending on its nature and the backlog of applications at Transport Canada.
Note that there are currently only a handful of companies in Québec City who have a Standing SFOC. Other providers are based elsewhere in the province (Laval, Shefford, Montréal, etc.).
It should be noted that some companies specialize more in using drones to collect data. It's important to ask about their areas of expertise and the services they offer when choosing a provider.
Once you make your selection, the provider will work with the project lead to produce the following documents and submit them to Transport Canada:
- Written permission for a flight operation to take off and land, approved and signed by the owner of the property where the drone will be flying
- A detailed flight plan specifying the equipment to be used, the flight details (altitude, areas, GPS coordinates, etc.), the name and position of the people who will be present during the shoot, the specific timing of the flights, the permissions required, and other operational details
- A safety plan describing the measures taken by the provider to comply with Transport Canada's safety regulations and requirements
It is the provider's responsibility to walk the client through this process and to liaise between the client and Transport Canada.
In instances where the client has specific constraints surrounding safety on the shooting sites, for example in an industrial area, specific safety measures must be taken by the provider.
Note that at Université Laval, Security and Prevention Services must be informed of any filming plans and must receive the aforementioned documents.
If you would like to complete all of these steps without working with an approved provider, please read this memo (PDF, 114 KB, French only) to learn about Université Laval's insurance coverage for the use of drones.