The Parrot Disco Is a Drone You Can Fly in First Person View for HD Video

Now admittedly, this particular device probably won't see much use in a commercial sense due to a few limiting factors. However, that being said, for those in need of fast moving aerial footage in the 1080p range, this may be worth checking out. The Parrot Disco is a fixed wing, single operator, first-person perspective flight drone that can record up to 32 GB of 1080p video on an internal storage system. It's able to reach speeds up to 80 km/h, a 2 kilometer range, and 45 minutes of flight time. This could be an interesting step forward in the direction of other high-speed aerial recording that won't require the use of full-size planes or helicopters.

Now I know from my experience with the use of drones so far, like the DJI Phantoms as well as the DJI Inspire 1, that those platforms in general are extremely stable, smooth, and good for even maneuvering in tight spaces should the need arise. Now this applies to more the DJI Inspire than the Phantoms, but the DJI Inspire is not what I would call a fast mover, which always presents an interesting challenge when trying to film moving cars or other fast moving subjects. So in that regard, as far as how it's advertised, the Parrot Disco definitely takes the medal on that. However, due to its identical nature of flight to that of a plane, air has to be moving over the wings in order for it to maintain altitude, which means maintaining a certain level of speed, which means less low speed maneuverability and larger flight paths to to return back to a starting position. Good thing the Disco does have that extended flight battery though, so you have plenty of flight time to get lined up back for another pass, which is one thing I will say the Disco has on the other DJI drones is flight time. With the Inspire 1 I use, I'm very lucky to get 15 to 18 minutes of flight time before I have to bring it back in safely. Granted, the amount of energy needed to hover far surpasses the amount of energy needed to be propelled forward through the air.

The Parrot Disco. Here you can see the fixed wings as well as the wide-angle camera lens embedded into the front of the fuselage.

The embedded front camera element on the Parrot Disco, with the designations of being 3-axis stabilized, 14 MP, and having what looks like an f-stop of f/2.3 on a wide-angle lens.

One of the big advantages I can see right now with the use of this device is that you will always be able to see exactly where you're going, whereas with other drones, especially on the DJI inspire where the camera can be operated completely independently from the body allowing much more dynamic and smooth filming, you don't always have that asset available to you. On the flip side, with the camera's current mounting position and housing, whatever you're filming has to without fail be almost directly in front of the lens. This means no side-facing strafe passes with the camera on your subject. This is one of the many limiting factors that I feel will limit this drone more to the hobbyist as opposed actual production work.

The included FPV goggles allows you to live the action from the perspective of your Parrot Disco.

With an easy-to-decipher control system as well as the ability to monitor flight data right on your smartphone, this small drone could be quite a useful tool in the right situations, or even just a fun little gimmick to keep around. Priced at $1,399 I do have to wonder though if you would be better off investing in one of the other more traditional drone platforms, but there's always that old adage of the "right tool for the right job."

What do you think? Is this something you would use for production work, or is it more of a fun toy to take out every once and a while just for kicks?

Ryan Pramik's picture

Fstoppers Staff Writer, Ryan Pramik is a professional photographer and videographer that specializes in automotive work but crosses the line into other genres for work or for personal projects. Has several publications under his belt for automotive work as well as event coverage for the automotive genre as well as others.

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