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Our Drone Fleet and why it’s Awesome

With cinematography, you always want to pick the right tool for the job. Often, due to timing and budget, the right tool for the job is the one that you own. It’s helpful to have some base level of equipment that you can offer at a moments notice. Here’s what we have in house.

For many drone shots, a GoPro is going to work just fine. The jump to the next level of aerial camera technologies can be more costly than it is worth. Even big movies and TV shows use GoPro’s when needed like: The Martian, Furious 7, The Magicians. I regularly recognize their use on screen.

When used correctly, gopro footage can look amazing.

What we have

  • 2 x 3DR Solo
    • Quadcopter which carries Hero 3/4
    • I have a primary one and a backup just in case
    • This is feature-wise almost comparable to the latest DJI Phantom, but at half the cost. The reason being that 3DR has shifted from the consumer drone market to the business/surveying market. They’re still maintaining these drones but they’re not going to release one every year like DJI.
    • I love having the ability to choose what camera i fly on my drone, unlike the latest DJI offerings.
  • 2 x GoPro Hero4 Black
    • One for each drone. The image of the 4 and the 5 are identical so we’ll stick with these for a while since the drone’s gimbal will work with them.
  • 20 x 3DR Solo Battery
    • I want to be able to fly all day. In order to do this you have to have a buttload of batteries.
  • 5 x 3DR Solo Battery Charger
    • The only way to last a day even with 20 batteries. You get about 15 minutes flight time (down to 25%) x 20 batteries = 300 minutes / 60 min = 5 hrs. To get the other 5 hours you have to be constantly charging. Thankfully, due to location changes and other time delays 5 chargers are enough to keep 20 batteries running all day.

Extras

  • 1 x GoPro Hero5 Black
    • For locations when we need handheld gopro stabilization we use a Hero5 with the DJI gimbal.
  • 1 x GoPro Karma Grip
    • This stabilizer is awesome! Great control, battery life, and stabilization.
    • If I ever decide to get the Karma Drone then I can use the grip as the gimbal.

What we’ve retired

More like ‘malfunctioned over water and lost at sea’.

In my main backpack I also keep my FAA paperwork as well as the aerial chart for the location that I’m flying at. It’s helpful to be prepared especially if the cops show up.

With this equipment we’re able to get amazing footage and have the reliability of a larger crew. What gear do you fly with?