Parachutes have their own set of issues, but the latest APM controller does support them.
Most modern quadcopters (they ain't drones however times the press keep calling them drones*) have a failsafe mode. Typically it will autoland, or fly home and land the aircraft if the failsafe is triggered due to tx reception failure.
In the case of a mechanical failure in a quad - it's coming down anyway as it can't fly with 3 props. hex and up can fly with one dead prop, and will indeed enter a fail safe mode in this situation.
For most situations, this is safer and preferably to an attempted parachute deployment.
In fact mine did this very thing last week - due to pilot error, I had reveresed the controls, shooting it off at 40mph away from me rather than towards me. By the time I realised, it had reached the edge of tx reception (don't ask - had changed some things around... should have tested more, etc). The end result was that at around 2km, the quadcopter slowed down and entered a hover, waited to see if tx reception was returned. when it was not, if flew itself home and landed at my feet.
Quad/Hex/Octo footage is used very regularly in UK, on UK tv and films (where a licence called BNUC can be obtained). For example, top gear makes use of loads of aerial footage. So this is nothing new - it's simply that the USA will soon allow film companies to do it too.
*DRONE: flies itself autonomously. With the exception of a few waypoint modes on a handful of controllers, multi-rotor RC aircraft are simply computer assisted RC aircraft. And in fact, any controller which DOES have an autonomous capability (e.g. APM) is also compatible with fixed wing aircraft... and yet for some reason 'drone' = multirotor thanks to the press.....