Quadrocopters for filming – which one is better to choose

Flying cameras on four propellers are used in construction, agriculture, film production and a dozen other areas. Read more about the use of drones here . In this article, we will look at the form factors of quadcopters, what affects the quality of shooting, what role additional sensors play. Let’s get acquainted with the mobile application, the rules of flights on the territory of Russia.

Quadcopter format and size

All aircraft can be divided into two formats: folding and full-size. Foldable models fit in a pocket or small bag, the most popular model in this format of the DJI Mavic Air 2 . For those looking for a simpler and cheaper device, the DJI Mavic mini 2 will do . The ability of these models to fold into three deaths does not in any way affect the strength or quality of the shooting. They are bought by travel bloggers, novice videographers, clip makers.

All quadcopters are divided into compact, sport and professional.

The compact ones are suitable for training and replace the selfie stick, are inexpensive, fly close. Features: gesture control. Example: Syma X25 Pro , Syma W1Pro .

Sports units differ from their counterparts in good maneuverability and bright war paint. Their main task is racing. They are heavier and larger than flying selfie sticks, equipped with extra blade protection and more sensors. There are models designed for indoor and outdoor flight. The “natural” have more capacious batteries. Propellers can be detached and replaced with larger / smaller propellers. Features: connection of helmets and remote controls with many settings. Example: DJI FPV Combo .

Professional drones are the largest, they have powerful batteries, there is an additional stabilization system for smooth shooting, high-resolution cameras. The large size of the device helps it successfully resist the wind and hover at a strictly fixed point. Example: JJRC X9PS , DJI Mavic Air 2 .

Quadcopter shooting quality

Compact models shoot at Full HD or 2K. Their main purpose is to make a beautiful photo for Instagram. During flight, the image is fuzzy and disintegrates into pixels.

In hover-on-point mode, the miniature camera can take some stunning selfies.

Sports drones are equipped with medium quality imaging equipment. They are not intended for beautiful shooting of objects and nature, their main task is to transmit the picture to the operator for accurate positioning during the flight.

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Semi-professional and professional models come with stabilization systems and color filters for cameras. They are characterized by high-quality video equipment with a resolution of 2, 4 and 8K. Cameras are detachable on all quadcopters of this type. You can put in quality viewfinders to get beautiful shots or cheap ones for training flights.

Stabilization systems – suspensions, are two- and three-axis. Biaxial hangers “walk” in a cross – forward, backward, right, left. A three-axis stabilization system adjusts the vertical position of the camera.

The gimbal drive can be mechanical or digital, the second option allows you to move the camera more smoothly and get high-quality shots without jerking. But it can fail due to a software error or a disconnection, simply by turning it on at the wrong moment.

During the flight, the shooting equipment shakes a lot – the speed of the copter can reach 140 km / h. Without a good gimbal, even the best camera will show erratic flickering.

Sensors and intelligent control of the quadcopter

The quality of shooting and the ability to catch a beautiful angle depend on the number of positioning sensors. External sensors are added to the traditional set (accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope and GPS) in advanced models. With their help, the software determines and bypasses obstacles, directs the drone after the specified object. It is difficult to control the copter and monitor the frame at the same time, so professional models have an autopilot with several programs.

Positioning – tripod mode, also known as camera mod, GPS, Opti or cinematic. Designed for hovering in one place or smooth flying. If the drone loses its GPS signal, the Opti sensors will automatically connect, and the aircraft will fly along the specified route or return to base, overflying obstacles.

Automatics do a better job of air traffic control than an inexperienced pilot, but they do not allow violating safety protocols – that is, doing dizzying stunts that spectators love so much. For those who have already pumped their piloting skills, there are several interesting modes.

Acro (Manual) – the kamikaze drone is ready to fulfill any whim of the pilot, the drone’s security systems are disabled.

Sports – allows you to lean at a dangerous angle and reach a maximum speed of 140 km / h.

Attitude Mode – not found in all models; of all sensors, only the barometer remains on. Allows the operator to perform various horizontal tricks while the electronics monitor the height.

All of these modes are switched on the remote control or on a smartphone / tablet in the settings menu.

Mobile application for quadcopter

Professional remote controls are equipped with a mount system for a phone or small tablet. It is easier to “steer” the drone with mechanical joysticks, adjust the modes using the touch screen.

The mobile application completely replaces the control panel and allows you to set:

The application displays the battery charge, GPS signal strength, position of the device in the air, route map, barometer, accelerometer and other sensors. The screen constantly displays important messages for the operator about signal loss, interference, low battery power. Those who ignore the messages risk drowning the device or crushing it to the ground.

You cannot do without a mobile device – it shows where the device is flying, allows you to build a route, enable or disable sensors, and helps to identify restricted areas for flight.

Where and why shooting from a quadcopter is prohibited

Filming is prohibited in areas where strategic objects are located, military bases and training grounds, prisons, in protected areas. The complete list can be viewed on a Google map at the link . Some drone manufacturers provide mobile apps with their products that show restricted areas and warn them on the smartphone screen. The information is location-specific and always relevant for most countries. The fact is that the free zone for flights yesterday today may become prohibited. In case of violation, the operator will be punished with a fine, and the border violator will be seized and disposed of.

There are no speed limits, but the authorities have complaints about the mass of the drone.

Without permission, aircraft weighing more than 250 grams cannot be flown on the territory of the Russian Federation. To obtain a flight license, you must submit an application in the form and wait for a permit within 10 days.

Rules for launching drones weighing up to 30 kg: launch above the ground or water during daylight hours in the operator’s line of sight, the height is not more than 150 meters.

If for some reason the shooting cannot be carried out within the framework of the specified rules, approval is required – a written application with a description of the route or a call to the flight control center. Permits are usually issued without problems. Read more about the certification rules, permitted zones in Russia and other countries in this article.

If there is no desire to communicate with the control authorities, the best solution would be to buy a quadrocopter weighing up to 250 grams .

Compact models are suitable for those who are used to traveling light – for full-size drones you will need a small suitcase.

Shooting: choosing the right angle, you can take a high-quality photo even with the help of budget equipment. If the basic camera does not suit you, you can replace it with a better one – you need to select a camera similar in weight and mounting system. Without gimbals, you can shoot video only for yourself – no one else will watch videos of this quality. To create professional rollers, only a three-axle stabilization system is suitable, the two-axle is morally outdated, its only advantage is that it is cheaper.

It is better to start your first acquaintance with copters with an inexpensive or especially durable model for which you can find spare parts. First of all, the propellers fail – they are easy to change. Beginners are advised to use the Beginner Mode. How to activate it and why you need it is described in this video: