The Cinematic Drone Revolution: This New Racing Drone Puts DJIs to Shame

Must-see footage has been released depicting the advancement, and likely future, of drone videos. Directly comparing the DJI Phantom 4 Drone with the new FPV drone, the latter is leagues above, providing cinematic footage, at high speeds, and with zero limits.

YouTuber Mathieu Stern had two different pilots navigate their drones around the same three settings, challenging them to record the best possible footage. The two first fly their drones through a field, before taking to forest, and later a river. The results are evident: the FPV drone takes things to the next level. The clips taken from the FPV are undeniably swift and sleek in comparison to the likes of the DJI Phantom 4. The speed at which the FPV operates and turns puts the DJI to shame. The video also features clips from the FPV of a moving vehicle for comparison.

One of the more impressive clips, featured at 5.21 and recorded by the FPV, swoops down on a flock of birds flying across the water.

Stern concludes that while it’s easy to learn how to fly DJI drones, they are expensive and limiting. Meanwhile, although FPV drones are harder to learn how to operate, they are significantly cheaper and have far fewer limits when it comes to capability.
As Stern puts it, it’s the cinematic drone revolution! Watch the footage and compare the results for yourself.

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Kawika Lopez's picture

I admit, the FPV is “cooler,” in comparison, but a lot comes down to shot choice and application.

Yes, there are some very cool applications for the FPV style, but the dynamics of the shot have to make sense in a larger piece of work. Just like any camera move, it shouldn’t be arbitrary.

Examples like the flock of birds get me excited about exploring FPV. The content of what you’re shooting has to drive your shot like it did in that scene.

On the other had, when it got to the cliffs, the content is completely arbitrary and it’s all about the pilot’s skills (which are incredible) and how quickly he can make your stomach turn. Of course that’s perfectly fine if it’s a video about a racing drone pilot.

I still think there has to be a place for what you might call “conservative” drone footage, where the content predominantly drives the shot rather than the pilot. When applied effectively though, it’s very clear that FPV can create some pretty awesome and dynamic footage.

bluerhino's picture

While I agree seeing the birds was cool, its still illegal to chase birds like that. Whether he intended to or not, which I'm guessing he did because you could hear them and then he changed elevation to go above and chase them further. Maybe its legal wherever they are at, not sure, but its highly illegal to even remotely disturb wildlife.

Here is a pic from a video I took with a Phantom 3. This bird was about to fly right by my drone and I instantly stopped moving... I only fly a Phantom 4 pro + now.

Leigh Smith's picture

You do know the audio was added in post right?

bluerhino's picture

GoPro records audio, dji doesn't. There is literally a GoPro sitting on top of the fpv. Besides that, it's still illegal to disturb wildlife whether the audio was manipulated or not. Obviously you people don't care about the legality of things when you are behind a cool "fast" drone.

That's why legal drone operators who take the time to get certified and learn the law can't stand people like that.

Micah Stouffer's picture

Your saying dji flyers obay the law any more? I have seen people flying dji countless times yet all of them was in illeagle spots for requeres more knolage than any dji

bluerhino's picture

Learn to read, I literally said legal drone operators and yes, I do follow the law to the letter. I also said its people that who are breaking the law that give legal operators a bad name. If you are going to respond to me, at least read and be able to comprehend what I wrote.

Leigh Smith's picture

I wasn't saying anything about the legality. Also, Just because the gopro has a mic doesn't mean it was used in the video. You really think you'd be able to hear birds but not the wind or motors on that crappy gopro mic? You're delusional.

bluerhino's picture

And you are illiterate just like the other person above. I never said it couldn't, I simply said it could as you trying to make it sound like it couldn't. My point stands, its illegal to chase the birds whether there is audio of it or not. The audio being faked has nothing to do with chasing birds, that is a non sequitur.

Leigh Smith's picture

Logged in to say the same thing. The FPV pilot is just a good pilot (camera man) of a fast drone. A good director or DP could put his skilz to good use. Cause the type of shots he's getting are pretty unusable for any application.

Scott Spellman's picture


Felix C's picture

Sorry, not impressed.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

The field and river were made for the FPV. Very cool. Plus that zoom effect with speed looked really nice.

Marc Fairorth's picture

Can you talk about what equipment is used for the FPV drone footage. Thanks! Very cool and inspirational footage.

Ian Maddox's picture

One of these requires hundreds of hours of practice to get half that good. The other is the smartest aircraft consumers can buy which can make a noob look like Spielberg. Both are awesome and not substitutes for each other.

Ray Sturgeon's picture

Wow definitely not a dji killer, let me just say everyone can fly a dji drone but not everyone can fly a racer drone.. DJI has no competition in drone photography.

bluerhino's picture

I have a phantom 4 plus and mine seems to take way better video than that. Not sure the settings that pilot was using but the dji can still go fast in Attitude mode. He appears to be flying with everything on. Obstacle avoidance and connected to satellite, the whole 9. I could tell that by the precision take off.

Yes, dji "can" be limited, it can also be given full range to do what you want if you are experienced enough to do it. The thing is with dji is they are following by the rules of the faa and their app is programmed to follow those laws.

Those laws were put in place because of people not being mature about flying them (chasing birds would be an example). My drone was expensive, but I love it and wouldn't trade it for a racing drone because I don't need one for that purpose.

In the end it's what you are going to use it for. I own both a dji 3 standard and my professional that I obtained my part 107 for.

Leigh Smith's picture

You're trying to convince me that the DJI app is programmed not to chase birds?

bluerhino's picture

What is your problem? You're reading things I never said for nothing other than to be confrontational. Get over yourself. If you want to fly the fpv and do illegal crap and lose your privilege to do so, go ahead. All that means is I don't have to deal with your kind breaking the law. I'm also in the process of becoming an airline pilot and idiots who chase birds are the same idiots who fly in controlled airspace while ramming into jetliners.

I said that the DJI has FAA codes programmed into their app. Point to the exact sentence where I said that DJI programmed the drone not to chase birds. Its not my fault you are illiterate. Maybe if you knew what you were talking about you'd know that DJI locates you and determines where you are at in reference to an airport. If you are too close to an airport or in controlled airspace the aircraft will not fly until you get clearance from ATC. It also warns you about the distance you are about to fly or are flying and the elevation. Obviously people like you would just ignore the warning and pretend like it said something it didn't.

Leigh Smith's picture

"The thing is with dji is they are following by the rules of the faa and their app is programmed to follow those laws."
Tell me how in this video the DJI wouldn't not have been able to chase the birds.
I don't know why you decided to be a DJI fan boy but what you can't seam to understand is that the brand of the drone has nothing to do with whether or not the "pilot" will chase birds.

bluerhino's picture

Never said that you illiterate twerp. Now go away.

Leigh Smith's picture

That is literally a copy and past quote.

Pete Whittaker's picture

What sort of regulations are there on FPV flying vs line-of-sight?

I'm in Australia and my (limited) understanding of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority SOP for remotely piloted aircraft is that you are required to maintain direct visual contact with your drone at all times. Flying while using FPV goggles wouldn't be acceptable outside of a controlled environment.

If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know if I'm wrong.

Obviously other countries have different regulations; I don't know if Australia is an outlier here or not.

bluerhino's picture

You'd be correct on your understanding. By law we are required to keep line of sight, even though my DJI 4 pro + will go 4 miles. I can see it around a mile out, but generally never allow my drone to get that far away. Also, in this video there it is showing the FPV chasing birds which is highly illegal. Let any Wildlife preserve find out about this and that guy is being prosecuted. I'd love to take my drone to wildlife areas to inspect hunting spots, but nope, highly illegal and I'd lose my license. Its not worth it. Some things they are allowed to do in a controlled environment, others, not so much.

Things like chasing birds give legal registered pilots a bad name and is the reason we have to be careful so people don't shoot our drones out of the sky due to people like that.

DJI also programmed the FAA codes into their app which notifies you when you are in certain types of airspace and will also limit your ability to fly if you are too close to an airport. All this was programmed into the new version of the app because of people violating FAA rules. Granted you can bypass it, but you also risk losing your license and more if you are caught flying in airspace you didn't get clearance for.

Jonathan Reid's picture

For cinematic, useful shots, the DJI wins hands down. The FPV creates cool shots, but they make the viewer say “wow, what a cool drone shot” instead of “that mountain/building/car looks amazing”. In other words, the coolness of the FPV shots actually detract from the subject.

Dik Fokker's picture

Dear young Jack, Some major conceptual misinterpretation of 'cinematic' in title and story. Cinematic doesn't mean fast moving or high speed. If you show that fpv footage full screen in a cinema people will vomit and fall out of their chairs.
Shame is a weird and wrong word as used.

Please don't rubbish the cinematic world this way. We are way different than the games world. Don't confuse us as you still got a long way learning. Succes.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

DJI looks like an outdated airliner, while that FPV like a hovering jet fighter. The maneuverability on that thing! The speed, the tilts, the turns, the barrel-rolls. Damn. Makes for more interesting cinematic footage because it has the best of both worlds.

Brett Benbow's picture

As an FPV pilot, I love seeing this video get some recognition from the video pros. It does show that with careful planning and the right shot, that an FPV quad can be useful. I wouldn't focus too much on the video quality, since its limited here to the best that an action camera can capture, but more about the style of shot and speed that a purpose build craft can achieve at the hands of a good pilot.
The craft being used here looks to be based on a Shendrones Squirt V2 frame, which is about $95. Fully built with the electronics and such, it might be $400 at most. The GoPro hero 7 strapped to it likely costs as much as the drone. If you were really trying to create this style of shot and wanted better quality video, you could spend closer to the cost of the DJI craft and have gimbal stabilized footage, along with a much faster drone. The Squirt is more of a "how small can we build a quad that carries a GoPro" experiment than an example of the best FPV can accomplish.

Neef Ana's picture

What a biased and silly article. As if most people could fly an fpv Drone like that, ever. No gimbal stabilization on fpv Drone for one thing. And it's not like the P4 can't go 45 mph with the gimbal off so you get some tilt in the shot if you want it. Only thing you can't do is bank and roll like that. Please... P4 is much preferred to most anyone. Especially with all the features it has. You guys are dreaming.

bluerhino's picture

I agree with most of what you said, but the P4 pro can in fact go 45 mph in sport mode, its just most of us don't even use it for that. It has the ability to go fast, but from my experience, no one buys a DJI for that.

main rulez's picture

No, of course.. we buy DJI only because they're more reliable at chasing birds... Now go away you illiterate twerp.

Jay Logger's picture

What makes them to announce ",better than DJI", when they are clearly meant for different purposes. While DJI is easy flying and high quality everyone's drone able to take good cinematic vid FPV is just opposite, meat for radical flying and speedy videos. That's make the industry interesting, not everyone making FPV drones just because its "cool" but having alternatives to ones who are into easy flying.
This type of marketing is ridiculous and childish. If I buy a drone I buy it based on my own preferences not because something is "better than something else". And then Im glad there are a whole variety of different choices.

Peter Petermann's picture

Quick Note to start with: I fly both DJI Drones, as well as FPV drones, and I've seen the article on FStoppers and found the title clickbaitish, and the article,
as well as the original video on youtube extremly biased and thus unfair.

here a quick look at some things that might not be obvious to someone reading the article or watching the video:

DJI Dronepilot
According to his youtube channel this pilot is flying a Phantom 4 Pro
- an outdated drone, released more than two and a half years ago, several successor versions have been released since
- pretty large and heavy drone, which makes it a good choice for stable shots like the pilot seems to mostly do
- there is other models from DJI that are much better suited for a comparison
- the Pilot is by far not using the potential of his drone, he is flying in one of the slower modes, and is not making serious use of his drones gimbal, as he is not doing any complex shots
- the pilot keeps much more distance to everything, which makes the flight feel even slower, which is a choice by the pilot, not a limitation of the drone
- the camera has a 84° fov, which makes a pretty nice clean image
- the drone in this configuration is not produced anymore, but can still be bought in some shops for around 1300 euros, used to be around 1600

FPV Pilot
is flying a custom build drone, designed by himself..
- much smaller, and lighter
- flies close proximity, which makes things look faster
- was asked to do the same shots as the first pilot, which makes it easy to 1up the first guy
- the pilot knows his drone extremly well (as he even designed the frame)
- he doesn't hold back on the speed potential of his drone
- the gopro has a much wider fov (in 16:9, without zoom: 118,2º), which makes the footage look even faster, but also causes the quite visible distortion on both sides of the image
- the drone itself might seem cheaper, but for a fair price comparison the required gear to fly needs to be compared, the DJI drone comes with all things needed in the box, while for the FPV drone there is quite a list of gear needed, taken this into consideration the FPV drone is similar to the price the phantom 4 pro used to be sold for, and today actually several hundred euros more expensive. (see below for a rough estimate on the price)

There is an obvious skill difference between the pilots (seeming as how much of the potential of their drones they are using), and the
editing enhances the effect making the FPV Drone look a lot better by the way it has been improved with sound effects.

lets talk about the price a bit. This is based on infos on his on channel / infos on the configuration hes advertising his frame with.
some of the prices come from a website in europe (france) the pilot is linking to, others come from some china sellers, thus are without taxes.
I've generally rounded up, and for some of the prices taking averages over several pages.
This might not be the exact drone hes flying, but the configuration seems about right, and even if there is differences, the prices will most likely be similar.

70 EUR Frame: Petit Soldat SX218
60 EUR ESC: Aikon AK32PIN 4in1 35A 6S
40 EUR FC: CL Racing TALL F7 Mini OR Raceflight Revolt OSD FW 1.2.2 and 222GANG (similar pricepoint)
100 EUR Motors (x4): T-Motor Blackbird Edition 2207 2725KV
40 EUR FPV CAM: Foxeer Falkor Mini
25 EUR VTX: TBS Unify Pro 5.8 GHZ HV - SMA
30 EUR RX: TBS Crossfire Nano
17 EUR Antenna: Lumenier Antenna AXII Stubby 5.8ghz
3 EUR Props: HQPROP DP5X4.3X3 V1S
413 EUR for the drone - seems a lot cheaper? but wait.. there is more:
275 EUR Cam: GoPro Hero 7 (it might be a 6, but the 7 is the last he had on his channel, so i went with one of the cheaper 7s I could find, which is a similar price range as the 6es used to be)
205 EUR TX: TBS Crossfire TX (there is cheaper versions out nowadays, but this is the one he links to)
350 EUR Fatshark Dominator HD V2 (those are outdated, thus a lot cheaper nowadays than they used to be - price is based on a edition thats still sold in some places)
50 EUR Receiver Module: Laforge v2, (while he seems to have only one antenna connected, this seems to be the diversity variant), also outdated, price based on what similar modules cost now (used to be more expensive)
30 EUR Antenna: IMMERSIONRC 5.8GHZ (he is sporting a custom one, but thats the price from the one hes linking to
1,548 EUR

EDIT: the fpv pilot is flyin different drones in different shots... i didn't notice before, thus hes using even more gear.. in the forrest he seems to fly an iflight megabee (i might be wrong) which would add about another 250 EUR

Luke Adams's picture

Flying fast and doing loop de loops does not equal cinematic. I preferred the tasteful footage from the DJI operator the majority of the time.