Home » aerial photography » Finding a Good Aerial Photo/Video Platform

Finding a Good Aerial Photo/Video Platform

Gyroscopes and electronic flight controllers are everywhere for a few years now. As a result, R/C flight in general has become so much easier for beginners, and new concepts like multicopter UAVs (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are fairly commonplace these days.

With the wide selection of models available, most beginners ask themselves which one to start out with. Magazines and tests are readily available, advertising materials are even more widespread, and there is a lot of information to sift through before deciding on which variant to purchase and fly.

Unsurprisingly, the best source of information, however, is true sources. People who own a multicopter and are willing to share their experience. Ideally, people who also are experienced in the particular niche or area you’re interested in.

On steadifllite.com, you can find information about the entire AP/V (aerial photography/video) range of applications. We do not cover racing so much, nor are we specialising in FPV (or first-person view) matters where “flying for fun”, as in joyriding, is at the centre of interest for enthusiasts.

AP/V applications lie at the crossroads of multicopter (or “drone”) flying and aerial photography and videography. Where image producers used to rent helicopters by the minute (or hour) and pay enormous prices for someone to fly them to one particular place of interest, multicopter or “drone video” production is a much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly option today.

The selection of models producing excellent aerial imaging results is very rich today, ranging from smaller-size “drones” carrying a GoPro camera or similar, to more tested-and-proven aircraft carrying specialised camera/gimbal combinations or suitable for a choice of stabiliser and small and larger cameras only limited by operating weight. At least the latter two choices produce excellent results, thanks partly to gyroscope technology (again) which is not only used to balance the flying platform but also to stabilise the camera carried by it.

Popular models include Tarot’s range of aircraft, capable of carrying all kinds of cameras — including full-size DSLRs or a BMPCC (BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera). Beginners often start out with a GoPro or cheaper so-called NoPro camera (a GoPro clone which is often considerably cheaper but producing equally good images, if selected wisely). Another popular choice is the famous DJI brand and the Phantom series. While Phantom 2 multicopters have been replaced by the Phantom 3 series offering better cameras and a much longer flying time, the latest update is DJI’s Phantom 4 which starts selling just now. Whether or not the Phantom 4’s particular range of features is something people need for serious AP/V work appears somewhat doubtful (many “new features” appear to be targeted towards consumers shooting luxury selfies from an automatic “slave in the air”), but the Phantom 4 is certainly impressive from a technical point of view.

While not offering the same performance, flexibility, and choice of cameras possible on larger quadcopters or even hexacopters or octocopters, all Phantom models are more compact in size and, thus, more appropriate for certain situations where drawing a huge crowd of spectators is not so desirable. Also, the Phantoms’ small size means they are easier to get a permit for (in countries where this is a requirement) than some of the larger models which can exceed operating weight limits in certain jurisdictions.

All the above aspects need to be taken into consideration in light of the particular use planned or niche to be filled. Steadiflite.com will go into more detail in upcoming articles (separately). Users need to take both their special niche and applicable rules in their jurisdiction into consideration in order to make a prudent choice of aircraft, a choice enabling them to produce good aerial photo and video content for themselves or their clients’ purposes.

Leave a Reply