What is a drone?
A drone, otherwise known as a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) is a remotely controlled aircraft, usually piloted by someone on the ground. There are two main types of consumer drones, fixed wing drones and rotary drones. We're going to be focusing on rotary drones in this lesson, however for anymore information on fixed wing drones, check out this article: http://droneriot.com/best-fixed-wing-drones/
Fixed wing drones tend to have longer flight times and range than rotary drones and also allow for heavier payloads to be carried.
Rotary drones are popular because they tend to be smaller and easier to transport. Similarly, they require much less room take off, as they are able to do this vertically. As opposed to a fixed wing drone, that would require some form of runway. Give this article a read for any more information on the differences between fixed wing and rotary drones: https://www.questuav.com/media/case-study/fixed-wing-versus-rotary-wing-for-uav-mapping-applications/
What are drones used for?
From research carried out on the drone industry, it is estimated that 42% of all consumer drones sold are for aerial imagery.
Some other popular uses is the agriculture, real estate and believe it or not insurance, who take up 8% of the market.
With these number is mind, we’re going to be taking a look at camera drones; what to look for in a drone, how to fly a drone and look at some example drones that are currently very popular.
What To Look For In a Camera Drone?
There are a number of aspects that should be considered when looking to buy a camera drone.
Firstly and most obviously, is the drones’ camera. If you’re looking to shoot some aerial videos, you’ll want a drone that has a camera that can shoot in a minimum of 1080p and is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal. If you can, try and get a camera that is able to shoot in 4k, as this will allow you to do more effects in postproduction. Being able to shoot in high frames per second is also good, ideally 60fps as this will allow you to slow your footage down by 50%.
Next is your drones’ flight time. Anything above 20-minutes is considered good and I would suggest be the minimum you get. This is because anything less than this will require changing batteries too frequently, which is just annoying.
Another thing that should be taken into consideration is the drones’ maximum control range. With this, the longer the better. Anything above 1.5km is great and will be more than enough room considering you can’t fly the drone out of line of site.
Other nice additions are obstacle avoidance sensors, intelligent flight modes and automatic take off and landings. These aren’t a must be sure as hell make flying the drone both easier and safer.
How To Fly A Drone?
Ok so you’ve got your drone, now what? Time to learn to fly the bloody thing!
To start off, practice taking off and hovering for a moment, then moving left and right and landing. Make sure you are comfortable landing the drone yourself if you ever can’t use the automatic landing function.
Next practice flying in a complete circle, this shouldn’t take too long to master as the controls are fairly simple. Next, move onto moving in a figure of 8. Once you’ve got that down you can then start playing with the altitude and getting used to the feeling of piloting a drone.
Start off slow and don’t try anything advanced early on, get the basics nailed down and progress from there.
The Best Camera Drones
DJI Mavic Pro
This is by far one of the best camera drones on the market and is extremely popular amongst filmmakers and photographers.
The Mavic Pro comes installed with a number of intelligent flight modes, which are when the drone is able to automatically perform cinematic manoeuvres. For example, the drones’ point of interest mode; where the drone circles an object whilst keeping the camera aimed at the middle of the circle. Some other examples include follow me, way points and tap to fly.
With a 4k camera, the Mavic Pro is a great option for filmmakers who are travelling with their drones. The camera can shoot 4k at 60 frames per second and 1080p at 120 fps as well as take 12MP photographs. The drone also has a 3-axis gimbal to make the shots look extra smooth.
The Mavic Pro also has a 27-miute flight time and a control range of 7km, which is just incredible. The whole design of the Mavic Pro is nothing short of amazing and is one of the best drones ever made.
Yuneec Typhoon H
Although a fantastic drone, the Yuneec Typhoon H couldn’t be more different to the Mavic. The drone itself is extremely large and features 6 propellers, as opposed to the Mavic’s 4.
The 2 extra propellers make the Typhoon H incredibly stable in the air and if one were to fail, the drone would be able to remain in the air.
Yuneec have implemented a very innovative camera that is able to rotate a full 360-degrees. The landing skids lift up during flight so that they do not get in the cameras way.
The camera itself can shoot 4k at 60fps and 1080p at 120fps as well as take 12 megapixel photographs.
With a maximum range of 1.8km and a flight time of 25 minutes, the Typhoon H boasts some fantastic specifications. It has the features to match with as series of high quality intelligent flight modes that capture amazing aerial footage at the push of a button.
Well, I think we’ve covered all the basics of drones. Hopefully, if you were considering buying a drone we’ve managed to clear things up a bit for you!