Aerial shots have always been a challenge for filmmakers to capture. For decades, only films with big budgets had the ability to rent helicopters for aerial shots. Low-budget filmmakers had to rely on cranes to get a semblance of an aerial view but now things are changing. Now, aerial shots are becoming accessible to all filmmakers at a price much lower than renting a helicopter. Cranes are becoming less of a necessity and more of another option available for filmmakers to reach their vision. This is all because of Drones.
DJI has led the charge for drones to be used in video. The Mavic and Phantom series were widely popular. DJI even shot a short film entirely on their Inspire 2 Drone to showcase its cinematic capabilities.
DJI recently released a new type of drone that is sure to make waves within the video and filmmaking community. The DJI FPV. It’s DJI’s first-ever FPV drone made to capture video.
FPV stands for First Person View. FPV Drones come with a headset that users can use to see what the drone camera sees ー similar to a Virtual Reality headset. Traditionally, FPV drones are used in racing and aerial photography but DJI hopes to in their words “Redefine Flying” by adapting the FPV technology for video.
The headset allows you to completely immerse yourself in the drone you’re controlling. You get to see firsthand what it’s like to fly through the skies. You can even fly it 6-10km away from you without losing a video signal.
FPV drones are usually complicated to control and by no means entry-level but DJI has made their FPV drone simple for anyone to use. DJI’s FPV Drone comes with 3 modes.
DJI’s FPV comes with goggles, a remote control, and the drone itself. The goggles work similarly to a VR headset, receiving low-latency video for users to view in real-time. The controller is built to be simple for anyone to understand. DJI also offers a virtual flight app where you can practice using the controller through a virtual app. The drone itself comes already assembled (save for the propellers and the battery), unlike most other FPV units.
One of the key differences between FPV drones and regular drones is that FPV drones are made to be fast. DJI’s FPV can get close to 100kph. So naturally, DJI expected their drone to take a few hits. That’s why they created this drone to be incredibly durable. They also made each part of the drone replaceable for increased long-term value.
The camera records in 4K at 50 or 60fps and Full HD at 50, 60, 100, and 120fps. It shoots ultra-wide and has a distortion correction feature to combat the fisheye effect that warps the edges of the frame. The camera is mounted on a 1 axis gimbal. The FPV drone also comes with an image stabilization feature to ensure smooth footage.
There is an emergency brake button that can be used during any mode at any time. It automatically causes the drone to brake and hover stably. The drone also has a built-in Return To Home function that causes the drone to return to the pilot whenever there is a lost connection or low battery. Lastly, there are forward and downward sensors that prevent the drone from running into obstacles.
The creative possibilities only grow as technology advances. Like most technology being integrated into the film industry, we have only begun to see the potential for drones. Drones give filmmakers an eye in the sky but they also give filmmakers the ability to capture shots they never could before. Of course, drones require skill and practice to be used safely and effectively. FPV drones are even harder to control because of their speed but when used correctly, the results can be astonishing.
Check out the remarkable video below which was created by an FPV drone. The video left filmmakers like James Gunn, and Lee Unkrich stunned.