Drones- A Filmmaker’s tool: DJI FPV

Film Industry

The use of Drones has a significant influence on the film industry. Because of these drones, filmmakers have better choices and bigger possibilities in making a film. These were introduced in this industry to make filmmaking easier, cheaper and safer.

Traditionally before drones, camera jibs and cranes and helicopters were used to capture aerial shots at a high and wide level. The biggest advantage of drones over helicopters is that they can get near to a shot and capture it. Moreover, a drone can capture a 360-degree shot because of its compact size whereas a helicopter can’t. Also, for capturing a shot with a helicopter or camera cranes or other tracks, a huge amount of time is required and the production value is huge which is the opposite in the case of drones.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales cinematographer Paul Cameron shared that setting up drones took only a few seconds — a far cry from the long set-up time needed for more traditional cable shots and camera jibs.The shorter shooting time was a welcome change in a set with production costs amounting to $300,000 a day, and gave production teams more time for post-processing and marketing the film.

This has enabled filmmakers to create high level and intense looking sequences that give a film a diverse narrative to capture the action more completely. They are also used to capture panoramic views of landscapes that grabs people’s attention Many big films have used drones for certain aerial shots like Skyfall, The Wolf of Wall Street, 2015’s Jurassic World, Fate of the Furious etc.

Drones used for an Action sequence in the movie Skyfall (2012)

So the Drones used in the Film industries are very expensive which cost not less than $50,000 and that’s reasonable. But now let’s look into Budget Filmmaking.

Budget Filmmaking

Now when it comes to this segment, most of the beginner filmmakers use drones to get aerial shots of their videos for tourism, racing, Automobile advertisements and several other purposes because the possibilities are endless.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro (2018)

Leading commercial drone manufacturer, DJI, which owns over 70% of market share has been making remarkably good drones since their launch of the first drone, The Phantom 1 in 2013. Since then, the company is making drones for several arenas like budget filmmaking, industrial filmmaking, agriculture etc and has improved in making better camera gimbals, durable hardware, stabilization and more advanced software which is beneficial for the filmmaker.
We are mindful of the significance of drones in filmmaking but here another great feature comes in, that is their compact size than the industrial drones.


DJI released its first cinematic FPV(first-person view) drone in the last month, March which is compatible with its FPV Goggles which was launched earlier for drone racers to get ultra-low-latency HD video transmission.


What is FPV?

FPV is high-speed drone cinematography delivered in a small package with extremely high precision. It offers filmmakers a new, unique camera perspective that helps to extend the boundaries of aerial filmmaking. Shots like when cameras fly full-speed towards cars and sweep up seconds before collision or cameras passing through a dark forest to expose into another scene that creates a very cinematic experience.

So, coming back to DJI’s FPV
There’s an app named DJI Virtual Flight which will help beginners practice before they start flying. Also, there are tutorials from DJI to help people understand everything about it. There are 3 different flight modes- Normal, Sport, Manual mode.


The normal mode makes the FPV works similar to other DJI drones which use GPS and VPS(visual positioning systems )to help it hover in place, and it has obstacle detection sensors enabled on the front which will automatically slow down the FPV as it nears towards an object. If one is a skilled drone pilot, can get out of the training wheels and disable the sensors entirely with Manual mode which gives access to literally do anything possible with the drone. Meanwhile, Sport mode comes in between, providing more scope of movement than with Normal mode, and more safety features than Manual Mode. The FPV tops out at 140 km/h (87 mph) and can go from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in two seconds. Also, DJI claims that You’ll get up to 20 minutes of flight time out of a single battery charge.

It has a built-in camera that can shoot 4K video at 50/60 fps and has a 150-degree field of view. There’s also a slow-motion, 120 fps option with 1080p. The goggles have real-time viewing for long-range -the range is 10 kilometres. With future updates, the drone will have a cinematic mode with 24FPS and 148th of a shutter and ND filters will be required to compensate for overexposure footage. There are tonnes of great features like the Pause button in the controller that stops the drone if you reach a difficult point to control so, it comes to the correct orientation and hovers at that point. There’s also a Return to Home(RTH) feature which comes in handy when you seem to have the drone lost so it will return to the place of launch.


There’s also a motion controller which allows the drone to manoeuvre based on your natural hand motions and is quite easier to handle which also contains several options like tilting the camera, starting the recording, modes changer and an emergency brake button that can also work as RTH feature.

The standard combo of DJI’s FPV drone, controllers, FPV Goggles v2, cables and a battery costs $1,299. The Motion controller costs an extra $199. Undoubtedly Drones have become increasingly sophisticated, lowering the barrier to entry for filmmakers and content creators interested in aerial film. But there comes the DJI’s FPV which can be operated by a beginner and a professional as well and with DJI’s entry into FPV System, many young potential filmmakers will be familiar with this and since these are in trend it will play a huge role in the future of Filmmaking on an Industrial level.

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