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You know for certain you want to buy a drone. You’ve seen them on the news, in the park, at a friend’s and even your neighbor’s kid is flying them. It is great to have so many choices, but which one should you buy? Like any other purchase, you need to come up with a list of what is important to you and with that, we can narrow down your choice.
A great way to start is by window shopping. As of today, July 1, 2016, Adorama.com has 236 variations of drones from which to choose ranging from $18.99 – $31,721.82. That is a crazy span of prices, but those prices mean everything when it comes to your mission. If your mission is to play in the house, annoy the cat, and blow papers off your wife’s desk, then you will most likely spend under $100 for tons of fun. If your mission is to fly your DSLR with a great lens 240 feet up because you have Spielberg on speed dial then you will be spending a great deal more. But if you are like most of us you will be somewhere in the $500 – $5000 range. Let’s start with some tried and true drones that are considered entry level and work up from there.
Click here for the in-depth article by Nils.
December 11, 2014
In a report that first appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week, Jack Nicas and Andy Pasztor unveiled the FAA’s proposed plans, which include some sensible regulations, such as limiting drone flight to daytime hours only, limiting altitude to 400 feet or less, and requiring that the UAV be in sight of the pilot at all times. However, the major blow to filmmakers — and anybody else looking to take advantage of the ubiquitous and inexpensive drone technology that has flooded the market of late — is that the FAA is likely going to require drone pilots to be licensed to fly manned aircraft, a process that requires dozens upon dozens of hours of training.
The main distinction to make here is between commercial and non-commercial uses. For hobbyists who have a drone and like to fly it around their backyard, these proposed regulations likely won’t have much impact. However, for filmmakers who make a living through drone videography, or at least leverage drone technology for commercial purposes in some way, these regulations could very well make their lives incredibly difficult, especially if they’re strictly enforced.
Another interesting distinction in the proposed FAA regulations comes with their weight classifications. The agency is said to be grouping all drones weighing less than 55 pounds into one category under which this set of regulations will apply. That means that the professional and high-end drones which carry larger payloads, and which therefore pose more of a threat to public safety, will be regulated the same as drones like the DJI Phantom II, which comes in at a weight of under 3 pounds.
It seems like we can all agree that some measure of professional and certifiable training is in order for people who fly drones professionally. Obviously public and personal safety can be threatened by these aerial drones without the proper precautions. But to require drone pilots to be licensed to pilot manned aircraft is perhaps one of the most laughable and arbitrary things that the FAA could have done. As Bryant Frazer over at Studio Daily so eloquently put it:
That’s a little like making a 16-year-old become licensed to operate an 18-wheeler before being allowed to tool around town in a Honda Civic.
At this point, these proposed regulations are just that: proposals. That means that, for the time being, you can still go fly your drone over a wedding and make a few bucks off of it without needing a pilot’s license. However, don’t expect that unbridled freedom to last long.
July 29, 2014
Video drones are awesome. From shooting incredible nature footage to superhero spoofs, drones can create some spectacular videos. So it’s no surprise that the market is flooded with new drone models coming out. As video drones get cheaper we can expect to see more and more flying through the skies.
However, concerns surrounding drone safety have begun to find their way into pop culture. For example, a runner at the Geraldton Endure Batavia triathlon in western Australia received injuries after allegedly being struck with a drone. In Ohio a man faces felony charges after refusing to down his drone so a medical helicopter could land. Even the name “drone” implies scary robot overlords or unmanned death planes. With all the negative press surrounding drones, it’s no surprise that there has been stricter regulations in regard to drone piloting.
As of June 21, 2014 national parks have been designated “no drone” zones along with airspace surrounding airports. 11 states have already passed drone regulatory legislation with many more to come, so figuring out where you can and cannot fly a drone can be really quite confusing.
Luckily for us the good people at The Verge have created an interactive showing us where drones are prohibited. This map only takes into account “no fly zones” surrounding national parks, military bases, and airports. Before you fly a drone for your next big project you need to make sure your state allows for commercial drone use.
Click here for the interactive map.
This map was created by The Verge. Thanks for sharing guys!
What are your thoughts on “no drone” zones? Should there be more or less regulation? Share in the comments below.
January 17, 2014
We’ve already seen some terrific aerials from RED’s EPIC DRAGON camera, and a new aerial video of Los Angeles from Axiom Images — not to be confused with the Apertus Axiom camera — really shows off the strengths of the new sensor. With its small size, 6K resolution, excellent dynamic range, and better low-light performance than the MX sensor, it may just be the perfect camera to take up into the sky. Check out the video below:
This is what CJ Roy from Axiom Images had to say about the new sensor:
As far as the noise goes, with the MX I felt that 1280ISO was getting sketchy and 1600ISO was pushing it. With Dragon, I feel very comfortable with 2000ISO. The noise didn’t scream at me like it normally does. I need to pull up some older aerials and compare the two side by side, but I won’t have a chance until I’m back from NY.
The most impressive parts are the night shots. While LA is pretty well-lit at night, compared to what we used to get with film, these new digital sensors are simply stunning. CJ and the team shot on with 18-85mm Fuji Premiere in 5K (since that lens didn’t cover the full 6K sensor all the way through). Here’s a photo showing their setup in the PictorVision Eclipse rig:
For more on the Eclipse rig, here’s a nifty product video:
Obviously these kinds of setups are not cheap rentals, but the results speak for themselves, and many of these kinds of clips are available from companies like Axiom to purchase. For more information on the rig and Axiom images, check out the links below.