A Nano-Drone Filmed a Beautiful Long Take in a Japanese High School

Nano-drones are usually designed as indoor toys but this short video shows how they can be used to create some very unique shots.

Thanks to their small sizes, they can fly in very tight spaces and create “impossible” sequences like flying through windows and below chairs. Katsu FPV, the creator of this video is part of the “Tiny Whoop Japan” team. The Tiny Whoop is the flagship model of the nano-quadcopter family.

The type of drone used to film the video.

The half an ounce RunCam Split Mini can record in HD and stream the video back to the pilot

Typically, this type of drone weights less than an ounce (28 grams) and offers very little flight stabilization. Therefore, making this kind of video requires solid piloting skills. Another problem is the poor battery life (2-3 minutes), limited stability and close to zero payload capacity. For instance, the smallest GoPro Session is much heavier than a nano-drone fitted with a battery and ready to fly. The solution is to opt for specialized cameras like the RunCam Split Mini that can film in 1080/60 and send the video signal back to the pilot. The file is recorded on a microSD card but unlike dedicated pilot cameras, an HD camera produces latency and the pilot must anticipate the trajectory and obstacle because the video signal sent back on the screen lags behind where the drone really is. The good news is that nano-drones propellers are armless and the frame is very crash resistant.

For those who like, here is another video I made with my friends racing in a hotel room.

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17 Comments

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

Knowing it was from Japan it had me constantly in fear it would become something really weird. Amazing flying skills though

Oliver Kmia's picture

Ahaha, yes I understand but this one is awesome. The pilot skills and choreography is really good. I'd like to know how many time they had to re-do it before getting the right take.

Chris Rogers's picture

woah cool!

John de la Bastide's picture

Really Cool !

Motti Bembaron's picture

Very nicely done!

Aaron Patton's picture

That was beautiful!

Chris Dikos's picture

pretty awesome!

looks like they took the best sample set of humanoid sex robots off fresh off the production line to show them off in some weird commercial wrapped up in the kind of poetic esoteric & clinical flavour only the Japanese master which here ads to the weirdness. Awfully dystopical.

I wonder where the pilot is located as the signal to the remote wont be very strong .That menas he has to be very close but cant figure out where he would be

Oliver Kmia's picture

Probably in the classroom between the main room and the stairs. This way, he was around the center of the action between the stairs, the main room and the outside opening shot. Overall, the distance is never more than 40 feet or so and the usual 10-25 mW transmitter on 5.8 GHz of these drones can punch through the walls at that distance (albeit, with a lot of statics on the video feed). |
The signal is weak but this is totally do-able if you use quality antennas and perhaps a good ground station with diversity setup (several antennas with different Dbi and the ground station switches automatically to the best signal).

Simon Patterson's picture

Fascinating! I enjoyed both videos but note that the iq was much higher on the Japanese video. Can that probably be completely attributed to the large amount of natural light in the school video compared to your night time shoot?

Oliver Kmia's picture

Thanks. Two reasons for the IQ difference. First as you noticed, the hotel video is inside a dark hotel room. But most importantly, the drone video from the hotel comes from the pilot's camera radio feed recorded on a DVR from the ground station (inside the pilot goggles). Basically a crappy 500 TVL analog signal whereas the Japanese video is recorded by the onboard HD camera (the Runcam that I show in the article).

Simon Patterson's picture

Ah, thank you, that makes a lot of sense. The IQ is surprisingly good for such a tiny rig.

Oliver Kmia's picture

I think they did a lot of work in post prod especially for stabilization. I would say they used ReelSteady.

Simon Patterson's picture

It did look surprisingly stable. The image quality is always going to be limited by the original footage that is captured, so I am impressed with what they achieved with the hardware, no matter what they ended up doing in post.