Not too long ago you had to hire a helicopter crew to capture sweeping shots from high above. It’s a costly endeavor and not a pill I would care to swallow when I’m trying to slap together a quick video destined only for YouTube.
DJI’s Phantom Quadricopter isn’t that much different than Parrots, except for a few key features. Topping the list is a GoPro camera mount that is built-in directly to the body of the Phantom. Just attach your GoPro using the existing mount, take off and you’ll be able to record shots that were once only achievable with a massive Hollywood budget.
In the event that your Phantom exceeds the remote control’s range, it will use GPS coordinates, based off of the take off point, to automatically return home and land, according to the company, safely. Of course, it will need not run out of battery life (10-15 minutes) and it must have line of sight to a GPS satellite.
To ease the acclimation process to the Phantom’s controller, there is a feature called Intelligent Orientation Control, or IOC). This was a option once seen in Parrot’s AR Drone, but in recent was removed – perhaps because DJI owns the patents. What it does is remove the direction of travel from the joystick. So if the Phantom is flying forward and away from you, you’re pressing forward on the joystick. If you turn the Phantom around, pointing the nose back at you, down, not up, will cause the Phantom to fly forward. You can of course turn this feature off, and lock forward to the nose direction, provided you prefer a more traditional setup. That all said, the maximum vertical flight speed is 6m/s and horizontal is 10 m/s, so it can get moving if needed.
The DJI Phantom Quadricopter is available from Amazon for $679.