I recently earned my Remote Pilot Certification, which allows me to fly a small UAS (drone) for paid photo and video work in the USA, under the FAA’s Part 107 rule. With no background in aviation, passing the test was no easy feat for me. If you’re considering taking the test yourself, read about my experiences to make sure you’re well prepared.
While there are many insurance companies that are out there for photographers and drone pilots, Verifly is the first drone liability insurance company that protects pilots and allows them to pay on demand. I recently interviewed Verifly CEO Jay Bregman to find out more about his new company and what they are doing to help drone pilots all around the country. One of the first things you will see about Verifly is that they cover up to $1,000,000 in liability within a flight radius of a quarter of a mile with any drone under 15 pounds. All operators have to do is select their area, after which they are instantly approved and provided with on-the-spot insurance to fly and proof of coverage to show to anyone who needs to see it.
Along with drone technology and the advancement of user-modified drones, another thing that has also been evolving is LED technology and the way people use it. In this four-minute video, you will see a good example of the combination of these two technologies, as Stratus Productions mounted a 1000-watt LED light to a Freefly Systems Alta 8 drone.
Affectionately known as the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland has become a widely popular photography hotspot. It seems like everywhere you turn, there are photographers and videographers talking, fantasizing, planning, and shooting all things Iceland. But what's with all the fuss? For those who have yet to pack their photo gear and travel to the island, the recently released short film, "Ice and Fire," shows what you are missing and continues to kindle Iceland's "photo rush."
I've been shooting real estate for about two years now. Today, I am shooting for my company, Simply Visual Productions, and another company, Jump Visual, which has been around for many years, and because of them, I have learned so much about working in this field. I have shot hundreds of homes and met many new people and worked with them to create photos that sell a home or space. I think it is funny that I do this because when someone thinks photography, I feel like real estate photography is the last thing they would think of. Aside from the photography aspect, I see aerial and video becoming more and more popular, which is one reason I have such an interest in it.
With the new reviews of the DJI Mavic Pro, there’s been one popular concern from many of us: the quality wasn’t quite 100 percent and looked a bit blurry, especially when compared with other drones. Then we shared the 4K comparison with the Phantom 4, and even though the camera specs are very close between the two, it was apparent that the Mavic quality was not quite there. The Phantom 4 was the clear winner here, but the size still made the Mavic a viable contender for many of us who would compromise portability over quality and sharpness.
DJI recently announced the new Mavic drone which appeared to be the greatest aerial product ever created. It's extremely portable with all of the incredible features of the Phantom 4. Today though my dreams have been shattered because the footage out of the Mavic looks pretty bad, especially when you compare it to the P4. Update: Wait! There is still hope!
In the past week or so we have seen a lot of big things happening in the drone industry. It seems that there is almost a battle for portability, where drones should be able to be used anywhere by anyone. That being said, GoPro came out with an awesome new system that packs into one slim bag and can be brought and flown just about anywhere. The GoPro Karma folds up and packs into one small bag fitting the drone with the props on, the batteries, the remote, and the camera attached to the gimbal. On top of their drone idea, they decided a consumer may not always want to fly, but might still want to film some stable footage. In this case, they made the gimbal on the Karma removable so it can also be hand held and steady.
GoPro has brilliantly teased us with its careful, controlled releases of Karma drone videos. Today, they've launched the new Karma alongside a pair of Hero5 cameras that are as wonderful to see as the Karma itself. Advanced stabilization looks impressive in the videos (see the mountain biking scene at 1:53), but something to note is how cinematic the image quality now looks. It won't be as easy to tell GoPro footage from other high-quality cameras. And about that Karma: does $799, remote, backpack case, and gimbal handgrip included get you excited?
If you’ve ever felt the need to take on a crazy project despite consequences, photographer Blair Bunting knows exactly how you feel. In an effort to recreate a scene from the classic movie “Top Gun,” Bunting put his guts where his mouth is and attempted to photograph a jet flying 500 feet off the ground while his own jet flew upside down above it only a short distance away. This video captures that remarkable feat, along with the preparation that came beforehand, and you have to check it out.
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.
A little while back, I wrote an article called, “The Power of Overshooting,” where I explained how it can never hurt to take more photos than you need to. Now this article got plenty of hate from all the people who love film out there, but the article wasn’t written to bash the people who put time and effort into shooting their photos.
Never underestimate the smartphone as a tool for video. That’s the lesson we learn from “Flying Into Dusk,” an impressive aerial short film completely shot using the iPhone 6s. With the use of a stabilizer and the Filmic Pro app, filmmakers Toby Harriman and Jaron Schneider have created a 4K high-quality video that rivals those filmed with far more expensive gear.