Drone Comparison: New Parrot Anafi vs. DJI Mavic Air

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Drone Comparison: New Parrot Anafi vs. DJI Mavic Air
Jun 072018
 

Parrot just announced a new drone that may be able to challenge DJI’s domination in the hobby market. Let’s take a look at the specifications and check if the French manufacturer can take on the Chinese leader.

Size, Weight and Speed

The two drones are fighting in the similar lightweight category but the Anafi is lighter than the Mavic air at 374 grams versus 430 grams. It can be a curse or a blessing. Lighter drones tend to sustain less damage in case of crash but more weight also helps to stabilize the frame.

The Mavic Air wins the top speed category (42mph) but the Anafi is not too far behind (33mph). The key factor is to determine the maximum usable speed because the sport mode on DJI drones is not very good to record video (propellors in the field of view, limited stabilization) but it can help to fly back against strong winds.

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DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro Footage Comparison

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro Footage Comparison
May 282018
 

After our hands-on with the Mavic Air in Monaco earlier this year, it was time to put the Mavic Air up against its older brother, the Mavic Pro, and compare the footage. Which footage holds up better?

Does the Mavic Air Make Superior Images?

The irony about new technology is often that newer generations are simply better, even in a model that sits in a lower price bracket than a predecessor that is still in the market. And this is exactly what we are seeing with the new Mavic Air, which I took for a hands-on spin at their press event in Monaco earlier this year (watch the video here). The Mavic Air is a classic example for this conundrum that many manufacturers face, unless they want to artificially strip newer technology off of some of the features of older, but “higher end” version of their products (C200, cough-cough!).

Transform Your DJI Drone in a Handheld Gimbal With This Accessory by PolarPro

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Transform Your DJI Drone in a Handheld Gimbal With This Accessory by PolarPro
Apr 122018
 

Everyone I know who shoots video dreams to own a gimbal if they don’t already. But did you know that if you have a drone, you actually already own a gimbal that you can use to shoot anything?

The role of the gimbal is to keep something horizontal no matter what. When flying a drone, it’s quite essential to maintain the camera stable and avoid any movement due to external elements or when flying it aggressively. However, a drone can also record videos and take pictures while on the ground. This means you can use it as a camera and take advantage of its gimbal to make super steady shots even if you don’t own a stabilizer for your bigger DSLR.

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Fstoppers’ First Hands-On Look at the DJI Mavic Air

 Gear  Comments Off on Fstoppers’ First Hands-On Look at the DJI Mavic Air
Jan 232018
 

Today, Fstoppers was at the DJI Event in NYC where they announced the Mavic Air. After learning about this drone and seeing examples of photo and video it had produced, I knew that I had to get my hands on one of them to try out. As a current owner of a Mavic Pro, there is no doubt that I questioned whether or not I should get one of these drones. So I went and flew them around a bit and got a little taste of what’s to come.

Design/Feel

Like most DJI products, this drone has a really sturdy build. I have to say that it actually feels a bit more durable than the Mavic Pro, especially when it comes to the folding parts on the drone. To me, everything just felt more intact and sturdier when I went to fold the legs in and out. I was shocked to see that they got rid of the foldable props, but I also think that in some way it is better for flying overall. I have never had an issue with the folding props on the Mavic Pro, but if I had to be honest, they do get annoying when I go to pack the drone up and put it back into its case.

The controller was also felt better than I thought and more well built than previous controllers from DJI. It is more like the Spark’s controller; it does not have a screen on it, but it gets hooked up directly to your phone just like the Mavic Pro. The coolest feature about the remote is that the joysticks can be removed and stored in the controller. Whenever you want to spark up a conversation about portability, don’t hesitate to bring up this sleek new controller!

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Freefly Movi is a Cinematic Gimbal for Your Smartphone

 Gear  Comments Off on Freefly Movi is a Cinematic Gimbal for Your Smartphone
Dec 072017
 

 

Freefly creates professional drone and gimbal solutions for the cinema industry, and today it released a specialized gimbal for smartphones: the Freefly Movi.

“Movi’s incredible stabilization technology is the same found in our professional rigs,” says Freefly. “Freefly Gimbals are first-in-class stabilizers used in multimillion-dollar films.”

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DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne
Oct 262017
 

DJI has unveiled a new tool designed to increase safety and security in a world of crowded air space. AeroScope can identify and track any DJI drone by using the existing link between the drone itself and the controller on the ground. A bold move, you might think. Certainly, but also a necessary one!

Security is always an issue, and it’s always about keeping a balance. Surveillance, incapacitation and big brother authorities on the one hand, privacy and freedom on the other.

Photograph credit: Bertrand Bouchez | unsplash.com

We need regulation for the increasing air traffic caused by affordable drones, sure. But we also need to avoid a surveillance state in order to enforce these regulations. In comes DJI AeroScope, a tool which tries to satisfy both sides.

DJI AeroScope

This upcoming technology won’t be available for everybody. It’s designed to be used by authorized parties like police or aviation authorities only. AeroScope has been installed at two international airports since April, and DJI is continuing to test the system in other environments.

Basically AeroScope is a receiver that can detect any drones within its range once that drone is powered on. Before it’s even airborne, AeroScope can already know its location and its unique registration number, which relates it directly to its registered owner.

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How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction

 Gear  Comments Off on How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction
Aug 172017
 

Amongst the drones available on the market in 2017, the DJI Spark is surely not amongst the top ones in terms of files quality. The sequences it creates are quite difficult to color grade in postproduction and thus it makes it hard for videographers to mix the clips with footage from another camera. However, there are ways to improve what you can get out of Spark’s videos. Casey Faris gives us one of the tricks he uses to maximize the dynamic range of the images.

The DJI Spark is without a doubt an incredibly attractive product to get into aerial photography and videography. But its price comes at the cost of more advanced features found on the Phantom and Mavic, such as log footage. The sequences produced by the Spark are very contrasty, sharp, and quite saturated. It’s not a bad thing for average users, but it’s far from ideal for those who want to color grade their footage.

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DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?
Aug 012017
 

As a professional filmmaker and DJI Mavic shooter, Tamás Kiss wanted to test the capabilities of the tiny new DJI Spark drone, so he took it to the challenging Icelandic climate to put it through its paces. Here’s his DJI Spark Review, that confirms a lot of the observations I made during my hands-on session with the tiny new drone. – Introduction by Sebastian Wöber.

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DDJI Spark, Mavic, Phantom, or Inspire – Which Drone Should You Buy? by Oliver Kmia

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on DDJI Spark, Mavic, Phantom, or Inspire – Which Drone Should You Buy? by Oliver Kmia
Jul 162017
 

DJI has released many drones over the past few years. The different models may seem similar to a newcomer, but each one actually addresses a different need. In the end, it all boils down to size and portability versus image quality and performance. Here we’ll analyze the main differences between the DJI drones to help you determine which one is the right fit for you.

Criteria

Price: The price point is an obvious criteria, but one must not forget all the associated costs of ownership, especially spare batteries which can run up to $169 each.

Portability: The drone size and weight will often dictate which model to buy. While the DJI Mavic won’t take more space than a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in your bag, the mighty DJI Inspire requires a dedicated case for transportation. If you travel frequently, you may prefer a smaller model that fits in the plane’s carry-on compartment. The size also plays a role in public perception. Larger drones look more intimidating to the public and attract more attention (visibility and noise). Also, in some countries the applicable regulation on drones is based on weight threshold. The heavier it gets, the more constraints you will face (registration, mandatory parachute, and flight restrictions to name a few).

Image quality: Larger drones tend to carry better sensors and lenses. Entry-level models can only film in 1080p while the Inspire 2 can shoot up to 5.2K raw video. The Inspire 2 is also the only one to offer an interchangeable lens system while other models come with fixed focal length.

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This Photographer Uses a Flash Drone to Light Difficult Portraits, by Michael Zhang

 Gear  Comments Off on This Photographer Uses a Flash Drone to Light Difficult Portraits, by Michael Zhang
Jun 152017
 

Want to place an off-camera flash where stands and assistants can’t go? Try mounting it to a drone. That’s what Chinese photographer Fuyan Liu does to light difficult portraits in extreme situations.

WeTalkUAV reports that Liu attached a flash to a DJI Inspire 2 drone for a recent fashion photo shoot on top of a tall building.

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DJI announces the M600 Pro drone for payloads up to 6kg

 Action cams, Gear  Comments Off on DJI announces the M600 Pro drone for payloads up to 6kg
Nov 162016
 

DJI has announced yet another drone, but this time it is a lot larger than the Mavic Pro. The Matrice 600 Pro inherits everything from the M600 with the addition of improved flight performance and better loading capacity. The M600 now comes with pre-installed arms and antennas to help reduce the setup time. This is perhaps the biggest improvement over the older M600.

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The airframe is equipped with the A3 Pro flight controller, Lightbridge 2 HD transmission system, intelligent batteries and battery management system. All Zenmuse cameras and gimbals are natively compatible and there is full integration with third party software and hardware.

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GoPro Karma: Foldable, Removable Stabilizer, ‘More than a Drone’

 Action cams, Gear  Comments Off on GoPro Karma: Foldable, Removable Stabilizer, ‘More than a Drone’
Sep 212016
 

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GoPro finally revealed their Karma Drone, but in CEO Nick Woodman’s words: It’s so much more than a drone. Foldable, easy-to-use, and equipped with a removable stabilizer that you can use hand-held or mounted to something else, this is an incredibly impressive all-around machine.

Announced during this morning’s live stream, Karma is a big deal for GoPro. Not only does it let you take your Hero 5 Black, Hero 4 Black, or Hero 5 Session to the skies, the attached stabilization system can be removed and inserted into the included “Karma Grip” that lets you use it handheld or mount it to your helmet, bike, car, or self.

Combine that with GoPro’s built in digital stabilization and the stabilizer allows users to create buttery smooth footage never before possible with any action cam.

The included "Karma Grip" lets you take the stabilizer off your drone and into the world.

When it's folded, the Karma drone fits snugly into the included backpack case, alongside the Karma Grip and the Karma Remote.

When it’s folded, the Karma drone fits snugly into the included backpack case, alongside the Karma Grip and the Karma Remote.

Details like controller range, flight time, and other details that you would expect GoPro to mention right away were left out of the announcement.

Woodman, and by extension GoPro, instead focused on the experience of the thing. Like how easy it is to fly using the “game-style flight and camera control, how portable it is all folded up and packed in the Karma Case, and how cool it is that the stabilizer is removable.

Not to mention the The GoPro Passenger App, that lets a friend control your camera and see what you’re capturing using an iPad or iPhone while you pilot the drone itself.

passengerapp

If you dig into the landing page, you’ll find some details though. For instance, you’ll find out that that the Karma drone features built-in “No-Fly Zones” to keep you out of trouble, and a simple land button that brings the Karma drone back to you or the launch location, no matter where you’ve flown it to.

Battery wise, Karma will run for 20 minutes on a 1-hour charge, and GoPro has gone out of its way to make the drone easy to repair. Not just the “efficient” and “quiet” propellers that allegedly generate more lift with less noise, but the arms themselves can be replaced, and replacement arms come with all the tools you’ll need to do it yourself.

Here are some video intros to the Karma Drone, Karma Grip, and Karma Controller, along with product shots of the drone from all angles:

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New DJI Phantom 4 with sonar and A.I. can track moving objects, fly automatically

 Action cams, Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on New DJI Phantom 4 with sonar and A.I. can track moving objects, fly automatically
Mar 132016
 

DJI have updated their consumer Phantom drone today, which will be priced at $1400.

It contains some serious AI.

The DJI Phantom 4 features sonar with collision detection.

TapFly now allows the drone to fly itself via waypoints tapped in via an iPhone app – in realtime whilst the drone is in flight.

ActiveTrack allows a rectangular box to be drawn around a target (human or otherwise), then the drone will follow and shoot them. Hang on that sounds a little sinister, how about “film them”.

Flight time on one charge has been increased to 28 minutes and the 4K camera has also had an upgrade.

Although it is the same 4K Sony sensor as before (also seen on the DJI OSMO) slow-motion has been given a boost to full 1080/120fps.

The lens is improved and so is the stabilisation offered by the re-designed gimbal. Of course the camera is bundled with the drone and doesn’t cost extra.

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Jan 082016
 

Ever wanted to really fly your own drone, well Chinese company Ehang have shown the Ehang 184 AAV, a low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle, designed to be a medium to short distance transportation solution. The 184 can carry a single passenger, and has a flight time of 23 minutes at a speed of up to 60MPH. This would theoretically give the 184 a flying range of around 25 miles. It can fly at heights of up to 300 meters (984ft). The AAV weighs in at 440lb (200kg) and can carry a payload of up to 100kg (including the passenger).

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newsshooter.com

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Dec 092015
 

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The PD-100 Black Hornet 2 is a high-tech camera drone that’s currently being tested by the US military. Unlike consumer drones used by photographers, such as the DJI Phantom or Inspire, the PD-100 is designed to be extremely stealthy: it fits in the palm of your hand, and weighs just 18 grams — about the same as 3 to 4 sheets of ordinary printer paper.

Oh, and they cost $40,000 each.

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Developed by the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics, the tiny drone looks like a small buzzing insect while it’s in use. It can fly for up to 25 minutes with a range of 2 miles, and it packs both ordinary and thermal cameras for still photos and live video.

“The Black Hornet’s small size and electric motors makes it virtually inaudible and invisible beyond short distances,” Prox Dynamics says.

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Oct 142015
 

Sebastian Wöber at Cinema5D has created a terrific tutorial that will be of great interest to those aspiring to film great drone footage:

“Drones. An intriguing new technology for cinematographers! But how do you shoot aerial video with professional aesthetics on a low cost drone? This was the question I asked myself and spent a week attempting to capture cinematic drone footage with a DJI Inspire 1.”“I learned a lot in the process and decided to share some valuable tips. Here’s the first part of my 3-part video tutorial series on mastering drone footage.”Part II – Working with Drone Footage – will be released Wednesday, Oct. 14thPart III – Grading Drone Footage – will be released on Friday, Oct. 16th

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Sep 112015
 

DJI have announced two replacement cameras for their Inspire 1 UAV. The ZenMuse X5 and X5R replace the stock Zenmuse X3 camera with a Micro Four Thirds 4K camera, fully controllable from the ground via DJI’s GO app. The system uses standard interchangeable MFT lenses and can take 16MP stills or video. Updateable colour profiles will also offer the ability to shoot flat images to maximise the benefit of a claimed 13 stops of dynamic range. A complete Inspire 1 and X5 system will cost $4,499US; a camera-only upgrade for existing owners is also planned for $2,199US. The X5R, a Cinema DNG RAW capable version of the camera, will be available as a complete package for $7,999. Thanks to Matt at Newsshooter.com.

 

Jul 192015
 

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The new Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter looks largely the same as its predecessors, aside from some new gold trim intended to make it stand out from the lower-end model. But the star of the show on the drone itself is the all-new 4K video camera, capable of capturing super smooth, ultra-high resolution video footage from the skies.

The 4K camera is attached to the same style of gimbal found on the previous-generation Phantom 2 Vision+. But the lens on the new camera is larger, though the camera unit itself remains relatively small.

The rest of the upgrades to the drone itself are internal. The device has an improved 23 minutes of flying time, it’s faster, and it also includes a vision sensor for indoor flight.

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Jun 302015
 

Filmmaker Sebastian Solberg has compiled 10 important drone filmmaking tips for anyone new to the increasingly popular method. Watch his video above and read his tips below to learn more about drone safety and how to use drones to their full potential.

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