Apart from the fact that they are fairly cheap, drones find their applications in many other areas. They have some unique features that make them ideal for professional (and top-notch amateur) cinematography and photography.
In the following sections, we will outline the 5 key features of a drone that are accounting for their ever increasing popularity. Although there are many styles, designs, and models of drones, every great one must have these five features.
Flying a drone can be a hard thing to do especially if you are new to it. However, you don’t have to worry too much because modern drones are equipped with gimbal and flight stabilization systems that ensure smooth flights and thus smooth shots.
Most gimbal-stabilizing drones are fitted with a three axis pivoted support that allows the camera to rotate in a flexible manner. As a result, the camera and lenses are able to balance and stay stable even when the drone is at high speed. Therefore, the gimbal stabilization feature ensures that the drone’s speed does not affect the clarity of images.
Modern drones can detect altitude, speed, and wind speed, and then use the information to determine how much power is required to withstand resistance from the air (and wind).
They also feature an accelerometer and a gyro (each one has an axis). The accelerometer determines acceleration while the gyro allows the drone to resist changes in flight that are caused by wind and air. That is made possible by the fact that the drone can reposition itself in the flight path that you want since the gyro is an axis on which it can rotate freely. The feature is complemented by altitude and position hold options that make the drone not to change its location.
One of the key reason for drone's popularity is because of their ability to capture images (videos and still images). That means the ability of a drone to capture clear and good quality images is as important as its ability to fly in a stable fashion. It should also be able to store the images somewhere (at least temporarily) before you transfer them to a more reliable storage media.
Now, when it comes to capturing images, drones use a customized camera that is fitted on or in the main body. The camera works just like any other and factors such as shutter speed, compensation, mapping, and magnification play a role in determining the quality of your images.
As far as storage of the images goes, drones use a micro SD card to store the raw footage. They come with the card as part of the package but you can also get your own if the manufacturer’s has an unsatisfactory capacity.
Some modern drones have an extra camera and storage features. Whereas some will allow you to capture and save images using your smartphone, others will give you the chance to stream the images live in HD (such as the GoPro that is found in 3DR’s Solo drones).
When choosing a drone, it is important to consider one whose camera can be started and stopped while in flight because it will allow you to take only the important shots and leave out the unwanted ones without having to stop the drone.
Just like any other airborne device, a drone comes with a radio navigation system that determines its exact location, time, and velocity. That system is referred to as GPS. You should be able to control the variables (except for time) using a remote control.
The complexity of GPS is dependent on the drone’s technology. Whereas some are very simple and will communicate only the basics (speed, acceleration, time, and location), others are sophisticated and even have a return to home feature that lets you know when the drone is in danger (like if it has crashed) so that you can recover it. The feature sends you alerts through the remote control. GPS satellite-guided drones have auto takeoff and land for effortless flights.
The remote control is a device that helps you to navigate the drone and also communicate with it. It allows you to know such information as is altitude, speed, and location. A good one should have a wide enough LED screen on which you can view its flight path as well as the images that it is capturing.
Your drone is a form of investment because you will rely on it to do things that you otherwise couldn’t. As a result, its safety and security are essential and manufacturers understand that.
Great drones not only come with easy and safe flight operation features but also have an emergency fail-safe recovery option that ensures it returns to its takeoff location if it loses contact with your transmitter.
Propeller guards are also important components of a drone’s security system. They ensure that the propellers are less likely to get caught in trees. In addition to that, they absorb most of the shock when your drone crashes and that increases the chances of its survival.
The level of technology used in a drone determines how well it will serve you. Modern drones have computer-assisted intelligence that makes them outstanding in flight and camerawork. For instance, they have an autopilot option that reduces your focus on controlling the flight thus increasing your focus on creativity.
Computer aided cinematography is another intelligent feature that makes drones very popular. It allows you to set up the exact shot that you want even before the flight and then when you send your drone out it will use the information the capture the images exactly as you want them when you tap to play’.
Computer aided intelligence is very important because it enables people who are less experienced in flying drones to control them easily.
So there you have it. If you were wondering why drones have become a sensation during last few years, above were the 5 key features responsible for it.
Note that each make and model will be good for some things and not so good at others. But ultimately each drone should satisfy your needs to a certain level.
Naveen is a drone enthusiast and keeps himself updated when it comes to drone and quadcopter trends and developments.