There’s been speculation for some time now, but the wait is over. Today in Berlin, DJI made three major and exciting announcements about their line of drones. Specifically, they've introduced the new Mavic Pro Platinum, the new Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian, and an update to DJI Spark.
In 2013, a small quadcopter flew close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was attending an outdoor political meeting. A year later an inebriated federal agent crashed his Phantom in the White House perimeter. Fortunately, the drone did not damage Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden, but following this event DJI implemented the no-fly zone feature on its entry-level drones. However, this measure is not completely effective to prevent rogue flights and authorities are looking for solutions to counter drones from flying in restricted areas. Let’s review the current anti-drone solutions and challenges associated with neutralizing a small UAVs.
Colin Smith of PhotoshopCAFE teamed up with Adobe Principle Creative Director, Russell Brown, and the Canon USA team to photograph the solar eclipse in Casper, Wyoming. In the nearly 16-minute behind-the-scenes video, we get to see some of the equipment Canon Explorer of Light Ken Sklute was using to capture the eclipse with the rest of the Canon USA team.
After eight months of work I finally finished this project: an aerial tilt-shift hyperlapse of Miami. The idea was to produce something different. Time-lapse videos are very common these days and most drone operators can make a decent hyperlapse with their drones. In this video I wanted to replicate the out-of-focus look normally associated with macro photography to give a miniature effect of the city of Miami. Here is how I filmed this video and what I learned during the process.
About a year ago I was drinking in a bar in Leicester, England. I got chatting to a gentleman who I sort of recognized from various events I'd attended in the past. After a few drinks, I discovered he owned a helicopter. At this stage, I was a bit worse for wear and thought it would be a grand idea to ask if he'd like to fly me above our hometown to take a sunset cityscape. We agreed, in our inebriated state, that this seemed like an excellent idea. So, just a few days later we met again (without beer) in a field; Me with my camera and a sickness in the pit of my stomach and him with his helicopter. We were all set for our flight.
After the release of the new DJI Spark and its ability to fly without a remote, it is believed that DJI has the technology for anybody to fly. Steve Kampff and I decided to put this concept to the test comparing DJI's Intelligent Flight Modes to the Manual Capabilities of the user. In this video, we see that flying can be pretty challenging, but DJI definitely steps up to the plate allowing users to achieve more complex shots with little to no skill or experience.
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 rumor mill is going strong with the potential release of the Phantom 5. Forum experts and unverifiable sources estimate that DJI will announce the new version of its best seller drone sometime in September of this year. Due to the lack of official information, we can only speculate at this point. However, we can analyze DJI's past strategy and actual technological development to estimate the possible specifications and features that may end up in the Phantom 5.
After about two years of doing aerial photography, I have decided that I will share one of my little secrets for finding a location to shoot. A lot of people tell me that my aerials are really cool, but not too many ask how I find these places. It is funny to answer and say I use Google Maps, but honestly that is the truth and it's the one and only thing I really use when looking for something new to photograph with my drone.
In a bit of a surprise, a blog posted today from Lensrentals explains the different options of drone systems now available for rent, including a short list of rules and tips for flying for both recreational and commercial use. While I've seen many requests online from people asking where they could rent a drone for a one-time shoot, most companies have stayed away. So is this a good idea or a bad idea?
According to an internal memo published by sUAS News, the U.S. Army is asking to terminate the use of all DJI products, including cameras and software “due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products.” This unusual request leaves a lot of unanswered questions such as the nature of the threats and the reason behind of this global ban. What is really going on?
As a U.S. citizen, I have to abide by the laws of my country; As a drone operator, I have to abide by the rules of the FAA, just like anybody else. Yesterday I was at a wedding in New York when I found out President Trump was venturing to his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey for a 17 day vacation. Along the way, he brought an amazing Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that is stopping me and many other people from flying with in a 30 NM radius of his location.
Earlier this year, the Japanese Experiment Module (KIBO) on the International Space Station (ISS) installed Sony's a7S II mirrorless camera on its exterior. The a7S II is known for its gorgeous 4K video capabilities and wide dynamic range. Sony released video transmitted back from space as the module made its way up the east coast of the United States; The results are truly incredible.
The drone manufacturer DJI just launched a free photography contest via its official Facebook group. The theme of the competition is based around water. Post a picture related to the ocean, beach, river or lake to win the latest Spark drone and the Osmo mobile gimbal. Each contestant can only submit one picture. The contest is live until August 10th.
Flying a drone often enables the possibility of getting some really unique and arresting shots, but it also takes a fair amount of skill or even a second operator on a dedicated camera controller to pull them off. These five simple shots will give you similarly excellent results with minimal effort.