Leading drone manufacturer DJI just pushed the aerial market to the next level once again. The new DJI Mavic Pro is their first compact drone that folds away to fit inside a standard-sized backpack, and it looks amazing. Just last week GoPro announced what seemed like their greatest achievement in product design yet: Their GoPro Karma drone is foldable, compact and incorporates their new GoPro HERO 5 camera. But today, the Karma already looks a little obsolete as the DJI Mavic Pro rises to the challenge. Read all about the new DJI Mavic here. Be among the first to try the DJI Mavic. It is available for pre-order now. EU Pre-Order at CVP: LINK DJI Mavic Pro – Small Size, Foldable Design DJI Mavic Pro Drone folded to become ultra compact There had been rumours about a new compact drone by DJI for a while, but now the DJI Mavic Pro is real. In short, DJI put their experience and technology with unmanned aerial vehicles into a sleek, foldable package that opens up new possibilities for videographers and drone enthusiasts wherever they go. At a first glance, the strength of the DJI Mavic Pro is already apparent: this drone features an impressive design that takes “folding away” to the next level. The package has the size of a water bottle, with four folding arms and propellers tucked snugly against its body. In fact, all elements of the drone are protected, as even the camera and gimbal are surrounded by a transparent cone, so it can certainly be tossed into a bag to be launched quickly whenever the time and place are right. DJI has spent a decade making it easier for anyone to fly, and by rethinking everything about how a drone looks, we have created an entirely new type of aerial platform for anyone to explore their creativity,” – Frank Wang, CEO and founder of DJI In comparison to the GoPro Karma, the DJI Mavic Pro is a lot more compact and doesn’t need a special case like its competitor: DJI Mavic vs GoPro Karma comparison in folded away state (the size differences are not accurate) The DJI Mavic Pro Controller The DJI Mavic Drone can be controlled from a smartphone, or from the dedicated new remote controller. According to DJI, it can be set up and ready to fly in less than a minute after calibration. The controller features control sticks that provide tactile feedback to warn the user about obstacles. The Mavic remote controller has its own screen, but can also be mounted together with a smartphone to provide a better viewing experience. The controller is compact and unfolds just like the drone itself. Full of Sensors and Aware of its Surroundings With the introduction of the DJI Phantom 4 in March of this year, DJI also introduced spacial awareness into their drones for the first time. The same technology is also packed into the small DJI Mavic Pro. It features obstacle avoidance and a new Flight Autonomy guidance system, which combines dual-band satellite navigation, redundant sensors, ultrasonic range finders, five vision-positioning cameras and deep learning processors for intelligent flying modes. DJI’s Active Track recognizes common subjects such as people, cars, bicyclists, boats or animals, and then sends Mavic Pro to follow behind, lead in front, track alongside or even circle the subject. You can also keep the camera focused on the subject while controlling Mavic Pro’s movements. There is also a new Terrain Follow mode to race up a slope behind a subject while remaining at a constant height between 1 ft (0.3 m) to 33 ft (10 m). It also uses downward-facing sensors and barometric readings to detect a rising slope on the ground beneath the drone and automatically move it to a safer height. 3-Axis Gimbal and Camera System Of course, the DJI Mavic Pro also includes a three-axis gimbal for shake-free video and aerial photography. This system is the smallest DJI has built so far, and features a camera that shoots 4K video at 30 fps and 1080p HD video at 96 fps, with a minimum focusing distance of just 19 in (0.5 m). The new minimum focus distance is great, as this has been a problem with previous DJI drones and especially the DJI Osmo. The 12-megapixel camera shoots photos in the Adobe DNG RAW and can be flipped 90 degrees to a new portrait mode to shoot vertical photos. [UPDATE:] According to early user reports, the 4K camera found on the DJI Mavic offers a little less resolution than the DJI Phantom 4. Considering the new drone has half price, weight and size of the Phantom 4, the mediocre image quality will probably be an acceptable downside for most consumers, but might be a less positive aspect for those looking for a more professional look. DJI is also introducing a new OcuSync encrypted transmission system that has a range up to 4.3 miles (7 km) and can reach 1080p video resolution for live streaming to Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube through the DJI GO app. The drone can fly up to 27 minutes on one Intelligent Flight Battery, which is similar to the flying time of the DJI Phantom 4, but 7 minutes longer than the GoPro Karma. Other Features of the DJI Mavic Pro Mavic Pro’s Sport Mode allows speeds of up to 40 mph (64.8 km/h). There is also a new Tripod Mode that drops Mavic Pro’s maximum speed to just 2.2 mph (3.6 km/h) and reduces the sensitivity of the control inputs, to allow precision positioning for photography as well as to make it easier to fly indoors or in other confined spaces. The DJI Mavic Pro also pairs with new DJI Goggles, displaying a 90-degree view from the drone in 1080p for a true bird’s-eye view. The goggles use OcuSync to display video directly from Mavic Pro, not the controller, reducing lag to 120 milliseconds. You can direct Mavic Pro through the sky while wearing the goggles – looking down will tilt the camera down, while looking left or right will change the direction of flight. Mavic Pro is available for pre-order now for $1199. It will begin shipping in mid-October.Read more
by Thomas Foster | 17th December 2015
This is a guest post by Thomas Foster who runs the website bestquadwithcamera.com – NL Recently the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration in USA) has announced that all drones and quadcopters which weigh more than 0.55 pounds (250grams) must be registered. The registration can be done on internet through a web form. This move was expected. They were trying to enforce drone registration and education for years. The reason for that is that there are a lot safety and privacy concerns from the FAA. Safety concerns There are more safety concerns. One is that drone airspace would interfere with the airspace of other aircrafts. Because of that, the FAA declared that drones are forbidden in the area 5 miles around airports and national parks. Besides that they also excluded them from certain areas for which they considered that flying drones there can pose a threat to security. All zones where you can or cannot fly are marked here. Furthermore, you are forbidden to fly a drone above the height of 400 feet and without the sight of operator. Other safety concerns are that you can attach literally everything on the drone. People were attaching guns and flamethrowers there. With registration it is easier to recognize the infringements. Privacy concerns Privacy concerns go mainly to smaller lawsuits of people who found themselves on internet and who did not like being recorded by drones. There are also some commercial videos which had been shooting at restricted territory. And finally, some newspapers use drones that make photos and videos of celebrities. All those concerns led to the change of rules. Penalties Everybody who owns a drone which has more than 0.55 pounds must register it. That means that even if you have owned a drone for a long time, you must still register it. The penalties can go up to $27,500 in civil fines and up to $250,000 and three years in prison for criminal penalties. Although those penalties are harsh, FAA said that it is trying to avoid punishing and just trying to make people register the drones. Filming – what can you do? At the moment, aerial filming and usage of drones and quadcopters with camera are both completely legal. All you need to do is to have your drone registered. Drones with camera in general weigh more than 0.55 pounds. The things that you need to take into account are fairly standard; No flying above 400 feet Fly away from pedestrians and from the people that might feel irritated by your drone Keep the aircraft in sight Do not fly on restricted zones Stay clear in the air and do not interfere with another aircraft’s operations Make sure you fly safely In case you want to use your videos or pictures commercially, you need to get a permit from the owners of the property for usage. If you do not use it commercially, you can share it (via youtube and other platforms for example) freely. This is currently allowed, but the drone legislation is changing, so it might not always stay like that. So for that, it is best to keep yourself updated with the news. Other countries around the world The important question that arises is, how is with other countries in the world? As USA is enforcing new rules, this will eventually become a new guideline for most law enforcers around the world. Some countries already have their own legislation which is different from the one in USA. It is best to check their own legislation when you plan to make a shooting in the country of your choosing. Below I will briefly describe the legislation of some of the countries. European Union European Union made some attempts to make a common legislation among all of its members. Unfortunately it did not work out (yet). So therefore every country has different legislation. It is best to research legislation for specific country. Below, the United Kingdom, Germany and France are described. United Kingdom The regulations in UK are the following (it holds for all aircrafts with weight below 100 kg).: You must not endanger anyone while flying. Keep the aircraft in sight – you can only fly on the distance less than 500 meters from your piloting place. Smaller aircrafts used for surveillance purposes are subject to tighter restrictions to the above rule – they must fly closer. Also you need permission for them. If you do aerial work and getting paid for it, you need the permission of CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). You have a responsibility to conduct the flight safely. You may not fly closer than 50 meters near vehicles, boats, buildings that are not your property unless you have the permission of the owner. You are not allowed to fly over large groups of people. Germany If your drone weigh does not exceed 5 kilograms and you do not use it for commercial purposes, you do not need to register it. In other case you have to register it. You also need to follow those rules: Maximum altitude above ground is 100m Operation is forbidden in crowd, misfortune locations, disaster areas and some other locations. This also applies for the flying above industrial plants, factories, and military installations. Within built-up areas (cities), the competent regulatory authorities / police departments must be informed in advance. Within protected areas the local regulations must be observed. France You need to register a drone there. Furthermore, Flight must not exceeding the height of 150 meters high. It is forbidden to fly over people or animals You must not fly 50 meters or closer to the roads It is forbidden to fly in restricted areas (near airports, etc.) It is forbidden to fly at night It is forbidden to fly in places where you pose danger to others. You need a permission of the property owner if you will make a commercial video on someone else’s property Australia The regulations in Australia are the following (it holds for all aircrafts with weight below 20 kg).: You must not endanger anyone while flying. You are not allowed to fly above 400 feet (120 meters). You are not allowed to fly closer than 10 meters from another person. You are not allowed to fly over large groups of people You are not allowed to fly in bad weather or at night. There are restricted areas – similar as in USA. You may not fly closer than 30m near vehicles, boats, buildings that are not your property unless you have the permission of the owner. You have a responsibility to conduct the flight safely. As you can see in most countries the rules are quite similar. There is also a gray area in many countries with filming property from distance. Also make sure that if you post something to internet and someone asks you to remove it, you should do it. Your chances of winning such battles on court are not clear. So it is better to be careful. Tips for safe and law-friendly shooting Shooting a video or photographs with a drone is still a great thing to get good and artistic videos and photos. The new drone legislation does not really change that. A good guide was already written about that here. But in order to also abide the laws in any country, it is highly recommended to use the common sense when filming different things. Do not film things where people might feel irritated. Also it is good to check the latest changes in rules. That is because the industry is growing rapidly and rules are changing fast because of that. That industry is getting regulated very fast. However that does not mean that aerial filming will lose popularity. Many video makers and photographers are now using it and it is also becoming increasingly popular in cinematography as well. This might actually be the future of filming. This was a guest post by Thomas Foster who runs the website bestquadwithcamera.com. — NLRead more
It’s 2015 and it seems like you can’t play with the cool kids anymore if you haven’t built your own camera drone or gimbal and started your own Kickstarter project. Here we go, in come two new multicopter projects looking for crowd funding. The first of them is the Aexo, which encapsulates the rotors in something that looks like a pizza box, protecting it against crashing within an instant when touching anything like a tree, rock, or … human. The other one is called Sprite and looks like a flying … tube. Or something. It’s a completely different concept which is kind of refreshing, but let’s try and take a closer look at both ideas. Aexo tries to solve a real problem when flying drones – you actually need to have flying skills before you start, otherwise it can get messy. Rotors are sharp and move fast, so you want to stay away from them. Also, when they touch anything, they will most likely crash and destroy the drone. Aexo seems like it’s doing a good job at protecting itself against things and staying air bound, however their claim that it’s safer to fly close to humans with that thing is a dangerous, if not idiotic statement. I doubt that the Aexo would cause less pain if it crashes into your head. The guys from Aexo offer various versions of the concept, even the bare protector kit itself, in which you can your DJI Phantom (1-3) drone. They also offer models which include the drone, different models for different payloads. Aexo is on track of reaching its modest crowdfunding goal soon on Kickstarter. Sprite is a totally different concept but also claims that ruggedness and portability is one of its biggest features. It looks like a flying you-know-what and has two rotors. It is definitely portable as you can put it into your backpack and off you go. It also looks quite rigid. However, judging from the very brief glimpses of footage that we get from their Kickstarter promo video, the footage unfortunately doesn’t look particularly stable … unsurprising considering that it has only one primary rotor (with a smaller stabilizing motor below), it’s definitely more affected by wind than other solutions. Sprite comes with its camera built-in and is about to reach its much higher funding goal on Kickstarter very soon.Read more
by Kevin Alexander | 20th April 2015
Drones were a big hit at NAB this year, but one that received a lot of attention was the 3DR Solo. It is designed to work with GoPro cameras and has some interesting Smart Shot features that make capturing drone shots an intuitive process. The Solo is designed for those with and without experience flying a drone. The controller looks like a video game controller and has a mount for your mobile device. The controller also includes a HDMI port to connect with an external monitor. The accompanying Solo app (iOS and Android) connects via built-in WiFi providing a live video stream and complete control over the copter and camera. But perhaps where the Solo really stands out is in its Smart Shot features via its gimbal and onboard computer. Each feature allows you to set up a desired shot and then execute it by tapping a “play” button. Smart Shot CableCam: The flight path is locked onto a virtual cable in the air. This frees up the operator to focus on panning and tilting the camera without worrying about the flight path. Orbit : Solo locks on to an object and then tracks it in a circular path. Selfie: Definitely a unique way to take a selfie. As the camera flies up and back it tracks you. When it reaches the top of its path it will return and land where it took off. Follow: Solo locks on to your mobile device and follows you. The Solo is expected to start shipping in May for $995 (gimbal not included). Features Compatible with GoPro cameras Controller connects via built-in WiFi Solo App (iOS and Android) 3 Axis Gimbal Smart Shot (CableCam, Orbit, Selfie, & Follow)Read more
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