Agreed on the irrelevant part. You do not need a pilot certificate in order to get an exemption. It will certainly be required in order to fly commercially though.
I LITERALLY just joined this site - mostly to reply to this thread as it pertains to exactly the kind of questions I've been having. I've been in video production for 17 years now. I just recently purchased my very first drone, the Phantom 2 with the Zenmuse gimbal for the GoPro H3 and an FPV setup. I originally found this post because I was curious about what to charge (and I still am, by the way) but based on the most recent parts of this conversation, I had to jump in with some questions of my own.
Right off the bat, I have to say, I LOVE THIS FREAKING THING! I am as excited about this as I was the when I had just finished editing my first ever tv show. I just purchased my Phantom about two weeks ago and I already have THREE brand new clients who want me to film for them, and another two on the fence. Mostly they are Architects & Commercial Real Estate Brokers/Property Managers. This is potentially a HUGE moneymaker for me.
Secondly, to MSINGER, I specifically wanted to talk with you. I am having the hardest time understanding the Section 333 guidelines for flying commercially. I think it would be absolutely invaluable for anyone wanting to make a living in video to get this certification/exemption and here's why...
I have been around long enough, especially in video production, to know that if it takes a certain certification to fly LEGALLY and SAFELY, you should do it regardless of the cost or the time or the effort. Because later, you won't feel like a sneaky drug dealer, constantly looking over your shoulder for the FUZZ while trying to get work done for your clients. That type of (let's just say it) lazy mentality removes the fun of the job and distracts you from doing your best
When you have this certification/exemption, if anyone tries to bother you, you just say "I have my Section 333 exemption, thank you!" or "I have my government license or my permit"....whatever. Let me tell you, the comfort level between the two is LIGHT YEARS apart.
So long story short (too late!) what I would really like is to get with you, MSINGER, and go through the steps of getting the exemption. Because the other thing I understand is (and this goes back to the lazy mentality thing) the harder it is to actually get the exemption, the fewer people that will be doing it, and that makes it even more valuable to me. If I'm one of only three local people who have this certification, I won't have to struggle so hard to get work. Work will come to ME! And job security is the BEST feeling in the world when you own your own business as I do.
Sorry for the long post, guys. Really.