Basic Drone Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Aerial and Drone' started by eric_guel, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Hi, all.

    I primarily do commercial photography (conventions, conferences, headshots, marketing shots, etc.).

    These days, I often get calls for real estate where they ask, "Do you have a drone?"

    So I'm looking for suggestions on a basic drone that will get the job done. I'm not trying to do any major stuff here, just very simple overhead shots of businesses shot at a decent resolution.

    Think: Minimum Effective Dose.

    Thanks, everyone.

  2. Mavic Pro Plat or Phantom 4. Though DJI are doing a $150 off on the Mavic Pro so that might be a great value option.
  3. You will also need the proper FAA certification for commercial use of a drone.
    Since you mentioned businesses, for safety reasons, you cannot fly above people.

    Unless you were brought up on video games, they are not as easy to fly as the marketing make it out to be.
    The most confusing is flying it back towards you, when left and right are reversed; the drones left is your right, and the drones right is your left. Though you can always fly it backwards, to keep the controls in sync with your body.

    Rather than starting out with a $1,000+ drone, I would get a sub $100 quad/done to learn and practice on.
    Crashing/loosing a $100 quad is cheaper than crashing/loosing a $1,000 quad.

    Tip, go find an underground parking structure or a gym or similar large enclosed space to lean and practice in. You want CALM air and a contained environment, so if you do something wrong, you won't loose the quad on the roof of a house or into the trees or into the street to be crushed by a car.
  4. I simply don't agree.

    With the introduction of the amazing Mavic Air, you'll see, drone flight is simple & virtually 'User Friendly'.
    Since I've owned mine, I have yet to crash it !
    This ain't no toy - It has so many wonderful innovations along with 4K video images; all assembled in
    a quality built ridiculously TINY PACKAGE !
  5. The Mavic + accessories is a $1,000+ quad, over 5x more than my current "trainer" quad.

    Hmm, I may upgrade my quad in year or two.
    Beyond my trainer, that would be another expensive hobby. I want another lens before I upgrade the quad.

    So how well does the Mavic handle wind? That is a concern where I live.
    Is there an auto sensor stabilization, or do you have to manually keep the quad steady. I did not see this on the Mavic site.
  6. It's remarkable !
    Even with me feeling gusty wind at ground level, and the Mavic Air reporting back that it's experiencing upper level High Winds (via the attached iPhone displayed controller), I see NO evidence of it in the footage !

    YouTube is full of folks reviewing the various functions of this breakthrough drone...
  7. I bought the DJI Mavic Pro yesterday for real estate photography/video and have been watching youtube videos on first flight preparations. These aren’t toys and there are a lot of moving parts to keep an eye on if you want to use them safely…Before you can master the photography part you have to master and feel comfortable with the operation of these flying thingies. One thing I always wondered about is how do you keep yourself out of the picture, especially in the beginning when you want to keep eyes on the drone too. The best advice I found on youtube is to know and plan in advance which kinda shot you’re going to take instead of randomly flying around filming which I've also seen (there are some 4 or 5 standardized shots and movements when it comes to shooting good drone real estate footage). The DJI has a tracking feature which allows it to pan around and move towards a subject for these smooth cinematic type of shots. An amazing technological feature which seems to make things so easy but which is seldom used effectively. I’m in Belgium and I will be flying above private property mostly (of the homeowners who are selling their home) which when used for personal use can be done without the need for any registration or documents but because I will be flying it commercially I will need to take both a theoretical and practical exam and also officially register the drone with all the fees attached to it. Another Ka-ching! I guess for all the bureaucratic government geniuses. Sure you need some regulation on these things but c’mon, finding a way to yet again tax any commercial use under the guise of safety is too transparent. It makes me 1 %.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  8. What a classic. I can imagine it with footage of frenetic kinetic drones being chased around and shot down while circling around the White House. Drones of liberty, drones of war, LOL.

    The gang and the government
    No different...
    You gotta be just - be just like them
  9. Actually, given the drone assassination attempt attack in South America, and how drones are being used by ISIS in the mid East, scenarios like that is a real possibility.
    With technology, the bad comes along with the good.

    That problem exists now.
    I've read of people bringing down drones that were snooping in their property, with high pressure water and shotguns.
  10. Drone footage is overused in most cases in video productions etc. Not every other shot needs to be from a drone from 100 meters in the air. It can be a useful creative tool when used more subtly. For example, using a drone to mimic the effect of a camera crane.

    It's another tool. I eventually got one not because I want to use one (I'd rather not bother with all the stuff that's involved when using one) but because agents kept asking me about it.
  11. Did my first two flights today. Flying the drone itself isn't that hard (though I obviously still need to get used to it before it becomes intuition) but flying the drone AND getting the shot within the span of 20-27 min per battery (only had one battery) is where the expertise comes in, especially with video. Previsualization seems to be a big part of it.
  12. Did a 360° aerial panorama test with the Mavic Pro today. I also make virtual tours for real estate so it's a useful feature to have for showing a 360° environmental aerial view of/above a property.

    Mavic Pro Pano Test
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  13. Eric, I am new to drone photography. As an amateur I don't have to justify the cost and I do not have to worry about commercial use of the drone and an FAA permit to use it commercially. Like everyone doing drone photography in the US I do have to follow the FAA safety regulations and register myself as a drone user. I have seen the DJI Mavic pro in the hands of professionals and it seems to do a very good job. I believe the Mavic Pro has a 12 MP camera. My drone is a Phantom 4 Pro v 2. I am using it for aerial sunsets and like the 20 MP camera. Flying the Phantom 4 Pro is pretty easy right out of the box. In the mode I use it once I take my hands off the controls it maintains position while I toggle the camera and do any camera adjustments I want to do. The image quality is very good. One of my friends has a Spark. I like the small size. I think you can get started for just under $1000 that includes a well integrated system like DJI. You can get the DJI Spark for about $400, a DJI Mavic with a basic controller for under $850 and the Phantom 4 Pro for with an advanced controller for under $2000. The advantage of DJI is that you get the components you need integrated into one package. I would think that the Mavic would be a good choice if you want to get started but look at the Spark. Good hunting.
  14. I am not an aerial photographer with drones, but I thought I'd mention that my local Barnes and Noble bookstore is selling a small light weight plastic drone with a built in camera for $50.
    Just saying that it might be a way to try out the concept before investing a lot of money.
  15. Going 'hands free' while doing the video or stills targeting sounds very useful.

    I understand the one button 'return to a designated point'is very nice to have too.

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