Author Archives: Dronerator

Comparing GoPros: Is the New Go Pro 7 Really Worth It?

When choosing an action camera, GoPro is always the go-to choice.
However, they’re updated so fast, it can be hard to keep up.
At first, the new GoPro Hero 7 Black looks almost identical to its predecessor. And it is from the outside.
But internally, there are about five important changes that improve the camera’s performance.
As far as GoPro cameras go, this is a goodie. Please read on to find an extensive GoPro Hero 7 Black review.

Hypersmooth Stabilization
As the name suggests, this new feature has been hyped up in GoPro Hero 7 Black reviews.
And for good reason!
It’s probably the most dramatic improvement of this model compared to the GoPro Hero 6 Series.
Hypersmooth stabilization refers to the improved electronic image stabilization feature. This stabilization now works in 4K/60fps mode, although it’s still digital and not optical stabilization. GoPro says it’ll allow for gimbal-like quality stabilization – so it must be good! And it is. Our tests unveiled that the results look amazing, especially when running or doing extreme sports.
Nick Woodman, founder of GoPro, has gone as far as calling this Hypersmooth Stabilization, “the best in-camera video stabilization in any camera, ever”.
Again, we agree. The in-camera stabilisation is amazing. I wish more cameras offered such a smooth and “invisible” in-camera stabilisation.
But still, the GoPro Hero 7 Black and its HyperSmooth are less precise than a gimbal.
Check out this great alternative, if you are looking for a tiny camera that delivers stable results.
Although, the GoPro Hero 7 Black doesn’t come with a variety host of new shooting modes, it does come with important, cool tweaks. These tweaks make it an exciting improvement for both old and new users.

Let’s do the TimeWarp
Let’s do the TimeWarp agaaaiiin!
Related to HyperSmooth is the new time-lapse mode, TimeWarp. In this version of timelapse, the GoPro adds smooth stabilization allowing you to create a smooth first-person video, even on a bike ride.
So, it works like a standard timelapse, by taking stills at regular intervals and then playing them back. It’s just a lot smoother.
In this mode, the GoPro action camera is able to record video and then speed it up to add drama. Think flowers blooming, starts soaring through the night sky. We’re talking about drama with a capital D.
This feature is great for documenting a scenic road trip or enhancing your YouTube content. It’s cool and fresh and will make you look like a pro editor! We love it!
Livestream Life
This is huge, you can now live stream straight to social media sites with the new GoPro Hero 7 Black.
Initially, you’re able to live stream to sites like Facebook, Vimeo, Twitch and YouTube. But GoPro has promised other platforms are on the way.
This new addition of live streaming is a plus for everyone. It allows you to quickly and easily wrangle your content onto a variety of sites.
While previously, GoPro cameras allowed you wrangle videos onto social media before, it was laborious. The GoPro Hero 7 Black just needs you to fire up the GoPro app with the touch of a button.
As we know, live video is trending and will continue to be a popular feature on social media.You’ll be a central part of this trend if you’re sharing your vacay footage straight from your GoPro. Talk about cool vlog content!
SuperPhoto is Super
The final two changes are a new ‘SuperPhoto’ feature for stills and a refreshed User Interface.
The Huawei P20 Pro does it and now GoPro is doing it too. ‘SuperPhoto’ is GoPro’s way of replicating the intelligent auto modes seen on some smartphones.
This is a high dynamic range (HDR) system and works as follows. The camera takes several exposures of the same photo and combines the best elements of each. Thus, one exceptional image is created.
As far as smartphone pictures go, the GoPro HDR photos definitely give them a run for their money.
These modes really are smart. They automatically recognize scenes and apply the appropriate camera settings. Along with this, the GoPro Hero 7 Black can even detect faces and smiles.
Price Point
As can be seen above, improvements to this GoPro offer something for everyone. The range of tweaks span different aspects of the camera and make the 7 the most versatile of the GoPro action cameras.
Importantly, the GoPro Hero 7 Black remains at the price tag of the Hero 6 it replaces.
GoPro Hero reviews remind us that the Hero 7 launched at the same price as the Hero 6.
This basically means the best GoPro just got better without burning a hole in your pocket.

Is it Worth it?
If you’re asking, is a GoPro worth it? The answer is an unequivocal yes.
The Hero 6 series is a very good camera and was a massive improvement from the 5. The Hero 7, therefore, adds functional features that improve an already good camera. Especially HyperSmooth!
So, when asking ‘which GoPro?’ the general consensus is that the GoPro Hero 7 Black is a solid improvement from the Hero 6 series.
People complained about the shakiness accompanying shots with the 6. In the Hero 7 Black, this issue has been totally ironed out (lol).
This is because the GoPro 7 pre-empts your movements, keeping the image free of jitters or jerks. This is done by making use of the predictive smarts of the processor.
Now, the GoPro Hero 7 Black has honed the skill of predicting your movements before it’s too late.
This is undoubtedly a huge improvement and will save your footage from the yucky trash folder!
When compared side to side with the Hero 6 series over a number of scenarios (skateboarding, cycling), there is a notable improvement.
It’s pretty clear that the GoPro Hero 7 Black is in fact, worth it!
Make the GoPro 7 Choice
These days, tech improvements are often measured in tiny bites and not milestones.
With every smartphone upgrade, you get a slightly improved phone with small differences. A truly transformed device isn’t something you expect.
However, this isn’t the case with the new GoPro Hero 7 Black. Instead of simply operating as an action camera, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is giving your trusty smartphone a run for its money.
Sharing in real time, a new portrait mode and quick social media connection are just some features that have turned this camera into a whole new device.
Go Pro Hero reviews agree that the 7 has opened GoPro up to a new wave of users. Especially those who work closely with social media. Which is basically everyone these days.

DJI Announces New Smart Controller For Mavic 2

Well, how about that. Mere hours after we reported on Drone DJ’s story that we wouldn’t see the long-fabled Mavic 2 pro controller at CES 2019, DJI announces that very item. We work on the facts we have at time, folks…although I’m sure none of our readers are disappointed by this surprise announcement. The DJI …

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Dronethusiast Roundup | Drone Predictions & Rumors January 2019

Welcome to the Dronethusiast Roundup, a new regular article series that Dronethusiast will be creating to showcase some of the great writing and video production from content creators across the Internet. These are the articles we love sharing around the office – only now, we’re sharing them with you. 2018 was a great year for …

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Featured Expert: Sean Petit, Filmmaker & Founder Of Avian Cyclops

In Dronethusiast’s “Featured Expert” series, we speak to one of the many talented people that are making the drone industry such an exciting place to write about. Today we spoke to Sean Petit, a drone photographer who recently released the breathtaking short film SALT. Like many of our American readers, Sean Petit first got involved …

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What you need to know about DJIs new Smart Controller (before you buy it!)

World leader in civil drone technology, DJI, regularly presents mind-blowing new technology.
Drones that feature obstacle avoidance systems and fully stabilized 4K cameras handles that keep regular cameras stable even while running, miniature travel cameras that deliver an impressive quality and so much more.
This time, DJI unveiled an accessory for their latest drone series – but can an accessory really blow us off our chairs? We have taken DJIs Smart Controller to the test and here are the three significant facts that you should be aware of. Is it worth the hype? Let’s find out!

1. The Obvious
The new DJI Smart Controller is more than just a controller. It combines the best of two worlds.
It is firstly a great remote!
That’s primarily because DJI since many years builds drones and controllers.
They know how to shape a user-friendly controller that has the right buttons and joysticks in the right places. But what’s new is, well, I know that it’s not a secret anymore because you have already seen the photo, the seamlessly integrated monitor.
No more smartphones, no more tablets, no more cables.
But is that basically it? Did DJI just replace our monitor? No.
The monitor of the new DJI Smart Controller is almost twice as bright as most normal smartphones.
It even beats the latest iPhone XS Max by a whopping 340 Nits.
The 5.5’’ screen with a Full HD resolution really offers a 1.000 Nits of brightness.
Owners of the new Smart Controller can thankfully forget their sunshades at home!
The display brightness is a great leap forward.
2. The Wild
The new DJI Smart Controller does not only feature a super bright display, no, no, but it is also more robust than its standard predecessor.
I love being in the nature, in the wild. I love glowing deserts, vast landscapes, but the most I love the cold. Filming ice and snow with a drone leaves the audience breathless.
That’s where it often got tricky.
Batteries don’t like the cold. They tend to either fail entirely (that’s why it is crucial that you keep your drones batteries warm before flying them in the cold and you should let the drone hover close to you for about a minute and only after that start your normal flight) or they just die super early.
A fully charged smartphone, and it usually is the smartphone causing the trouble, can run out of power within minutes. Even my new iPhone has problems. Sometimes the battery gives up as soon as the thermostat drops below 0°C.
Plus, that sometimes the display freezes (not physically) and the phone has to reboot.
And none of that should happen in flight. It is both a safety risk and it ruins a day of filming and taking photographs in the nature.
The new DJI Smart Controller is built to last not only to 0°C like the standard RC, but it is made to last until -20°C. What I can say is that during testing I experienced no problems at all.
The battery lasted as usual, and the screen didn’t give me a hard time. Not once.
Okay, I admit that it didn’t get colder than -5°C during my tests, but my iPhone gave up when it was warmer already.

3. The Truth
Every product has downsides. That’s just a matter of fact. Let me list everything you should know.
For example this: DJI did not upgrade the maximum range. It stays 8km in the US and about 5km in Europe. No changes here. That’s actually whining on a very high level.
No other manufacturer is capable of building drones with such strong signals, but … It’s a new remote, I would have been happy to see in increase in range.
Next, the new DJI Smart Controller misses a SIM-Card slot. If you need an internet connection, maybe for live streaming, you need to create a hotspot with your phone and then connect the remote.
Without its own SIM-Card slot, there is no way to go online with the remote only. It needs a WiFi hotspot to connect to.
Last, but not least, the battery of the remote lasts for about two hours only.
But that’s actually okay, keeping in mind that it powers an accurate 1000 Nits display.
What’s more annoying is, that it charges pretty slow: again approximately two hours.
What’s left to say?
Maybe this: I wouldn’t cut off an arm to afford the new DJI Smart Controller, but I’d definitely give a finger or two.
I’ve always struggled with the display brightness, especially in summer time. It’s amazing that from now on that one major problem is finally solved.
I know that some of you might think I’m just heavily promoting another DJI product because I’m a fanboy. That’s not true. I have never been a fanboy of anything. I look at products, and if I love them and see that they make sense, I’ll say it. And this is my second favorite accessory (after ND filters) so far.
I was already a big fan of DJI CrystalSky, an external monitor that is super bright too and that you can attach to almost all DJI drones (check it out here), but my problem was that I still had to deal with cables (I know, again whining on a high level) and that it was quite heavy and the batteries too large.

The new DJI Smart Controller is a logical step in DJIs aim to revolutionize technology, and it makes their drones safer, more comfortable to use and overall better tools for ambitious and professional users that want to get the maximum out of their flying friends.
Interested in more? Watch my review and buy a DJI Smart Controller right here.

5 Tips on Making Super Epic Travel Videos

You’ve seen travel vloggers make a living crossing the world and seeing places you’ve only dreamed about. They post travel videos on YouTube for thousands of followers or even millions.
It’s a lifestyle you want to emulate and make your dreams of travel come true.
How do you make videos that look professional?
Your worst fear is creating videos that look as if they were done a shoestring budget…even though they were. Who’s going to subscribe to that?
You don’t need an expensive camera and entourage of lighting people to create videos that look great and will entice your audience.
Follows these tips and you’ll be on your way to a television show on The Travel Channel in no time.

Shaky Cameras Make For Bad Travel Videos
We’ve all seen the GoPro travel videos where a beautiful scene is suddenly interrupted when the vlogger runs and shakes the camera. You’re disoriented, nauseous, and quickly click to the next video.
Shaking cameras make videos look amateurish!
When shooting, try to stand still or move very slowly. Ideally, have a Tripod, but if not, hold the camera in two hands, close to your body. This creates a more stable position.
There are editing programs that can help with stabilization, but only for light vibration and not a spastic sprint to see a pelican close up.
A good alternative is a motorized gimbal that automatically keeps your camera stable, even while walking or running.

Beware of the Black Bars
These days, people are used to shooting vertically because of how they hold cell phones. It’s tempting because you can get a nice full body shot and you don’t have a lot of extraneous visuals on the sides.
We don’t recommend shooting vertically because it may look great on the camera, but it won’t in a video!
Most video players like YouTube are configured horizontally. A vertical video will end up smooshed on the screen with black bars on the sides.
Why? It’s fitting the video to fit the horizontal screen, so it shrinks images and uses black bars to fill up space. It’s best to film horizontally.
By the way, there is a great gimbal for Smartphones that keeps it steady for smooth filming. It is affordable, small, does a good job and the battery life is superb. You should check it out!

Keep Editing in Mind
We know it’s easy to focus on the present when filming, especially if it’s fun and exciting, but keep editing in mind. One important videography tip is to try out different angles such as close-up, medium, and wide shots, so you have a variety when editing.
You don’t want to have a great video — except for that one shot that doesn’t look right.
Unfortunately, it’s the only one you had.
Remember to frame the shots and have an idea or outline of your video before you shoot it. It’s fine to change the plan once you’re editing, but at least have something you know you can put together.
Be Unique
People see vlogs and travel videos from the perspective of the host but liven things up with drone aerial photos.
Modern drones are portable and many have quality cameras built-in. You can keep it in a small bag and get some unique views and perspectives of mountains, bazaars, and other popular video subjects.
Edit them in with your point of view and other footage to create a multi-angle video that looks great and is different from everyone else’s.
Besides that, don’t copy others: do it your way. It might take a while, but in the end the audience will love you for your very unique style!
Stay Away from Digital Zoom
You see a great shot of local animals but you’re afraid to get closer. You’re shooting from your phone or GoPro and can’t get a tight enough shot, so you use the digital zoom.
NOOOOO!!!!!!!
Most cameras and phones have digital zoom but it doesn’t look good even when you use it a little.
The closer you get, the worse it gets.
Instead, slowly walk forward. It’s better to risk the shot than guarantee a bad one.
You Can Do It
People dream of making a living traveling the world. If you want to do this for a living, then you need travel videos that people want to see.
If you’re interested in learning more about photography or videography, then explore my site and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Dronethusiast Roundup: 2018 Year in Review

Welcome to the Monthly Drone Roundup, a new once-a-month article series that Dronethusiast will be creating in partnership with other drone news organizations across the web. As the premiere site for drone news, reviews, and editorials, we want to start showcasing some of the best writing and video production in the industry no matter where …

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What Are the Best Silent Drone Choices and What Applications Are They Good For?

Drones are one of the most exciting inventions of the modern era, and more consumers are interested in buying and flying them than ever before. New modes of flight, ultra HD cameras, and long life batteries mean today’s quadcopters are the most powerful unmanned aerial vehicles imaginable. However, the rotors, engines, and electronic parts required …

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Filming with Drones: 5 Tips for Using a Drone to Shoot a Music Video

Commercial and military drones are already a huge business. Private drone ownership, however, is set to expand quickly.
Studies show that personal drones are set to grow to almost 4 million drones nationwide by 2021, with sales climbing to an estimated $12 billion.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Drones are just cool.
Filming with drones is a great way to explore both natural and man-made settings. It adds a lot of dimension to any video you want to make.
If you’re planning on shooting a music video, there are tons of cool things to do with drones. Here are five tips to nail those awesome aerial shots.

1. Go For Quality
You think you can cut corners, buy a cheaper drone with a camera that’s not as nice, and still pull off a decent music video? It doesn’t work that way.
Some things to consider are:
Does your drone shoot in 4K?

Does your drone have a 3-axis gimbal?

Does your drone have variable focal lengths (either optics or a zoom)?Does your drone record in

Professional filming drones are pricey but worth it. While it might cost some money up front, always go for the best quality you can afford.
2. Learn How To Hover
Start with the basics when it comes to filming with drones. Hovering is one of the first skills you should master.
It comes down to having the right roll and pitch in combination with your throttle intensity. Practice hovering with your drone a few feet off the ground until you get the look you’re going for.
For music videos, hovering allows you to take sweeping shots of the artist and extras from a birds-eye view. You can also hover the drone for isolation shots and showing the horizon.
3. Plan Your Shots
Music videos deal with a lot of repetition. You have to perform the song over and over again to get enough footage and the best shots.
Don’t expand this by having a drone battery conk out in the middle of a shoot or not understanding the flight path angle. Do a few trial runs with the drone before you start.
You should get drone shots first, then focus on other camera types. This allows you to go over the shots you’ve taken with your drone and decide whether they work or need another take. The last thing you want is to realize in post-production that the drone shots aren’t usable.
4. Getting Cool Drone Shots
Ever seen a cool drone shot in a movie and wondered “how did they do that”? Here are a few techniques:
Low flight – Hover low to the ground to give your viewers an exhilarating rush. This is useful for videos that involve fast movement from the artist or car shots. The drop-off – If you have something high you’re flying over, fly high at the moment you reach the top to make the drop more spectacular.Orbiting – Keep the artist-centered and then fly in a circle around him or her.Switch up your axis angles – Go up, then forward, or back then sideways. Whatever you do, mix it up for a great view.
These ideas will get you started, but you’ll start thinking of interesting shots on your own as soon as you start flying your drone. Understanding the science behind how drones fly helps figure out how to safely use them.
5. Check That Filming With Drones Is Allowed
Always check local rules beforehand to ensure that you’re allowed to use your drone in the area. Nothing will crush your music video ambition faster than scouting a great location and then finding out you can’t shoot there.
There are certain areas, particularly in cities and on beaches, that don’t allow drones. There are exceptions for videos and entertainment shots in some cities, however, so contact the local government to see if they offer waivers.
Enjoy Your Drones
Your music video is sure to be a success as long as you follow these tips. Want more information on filming with drones? We’ve got you covered.
We’ve got a drone film school to help you expand your ideas. Visit our drone advice blog often for the latest tips and tricks to take your drone videos to the next level!

10 Aerial Photography Tips to Know Before Your Shoot

By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.55 million drone owners in the US.
With the range of drones now available, more people are able to try their hand at aerial photography.
Aerial photography lets you be more creative and take a huge range of shots. But it’s not an easy thing to do. There’s a lot to learn about taking the perfect aerial shot, and it’s not as simple as it seems.
Read on for 10 of the best aerial photography tips to make sure you get the perfect shot each time.

Get The Best Aerial Photography Shots Every Time
Whether you take photographs as a hobby or a career, learning to take aerial shots is a great skill. Capture new perspectives and get the most breathtaking shots with these 10 tips.
1. Choose the Right Drone
With drones becoming so popular in recent years, there are a lot of devices to choose from.
Depending on how you plan to shoot, it’s important to get the right drone.
Are you going to be traveling with it a lot?
Then you might want to invest in a smaller drone such as the DJI Mavic Air!
Going to be using it to create paid work too? You may want a larger sensor, more megapixels and the Hasselblad color profile: check out the DJI Mavic Pro 2.
If you want the best quality possible and size doesn’t matter, then the DJI Inspire 2 with its superior X7 camera might be the perfect choice for you.
Think about how you’ll be using your drone, how often you’ll need it and where you want to take it.

2. Think About the Lens
When it comes to shooting from above, you need to think about the lens.
A standard focal length lens (approx. 35 – 85mm) is great since you can get a tight zoom into your subject.
It allows you to capture extra detail and produces clean, crisp shots with a narrow and professional look.
The new DJI Mavic 2 Zoom rules when it comes to higher focal length shots from above.
A wide angle lens on the other hand (as seen on most drones) is also great as it allows you to capture a whole lot of your subject. It lets you freeze the background and foreground in focus and taking photos from above is easier in general.
3. Find a Good Location
When it comes to aerial photography, location is everything.
You need to be in the right place for the best shots!
Ideally, show interesting landscapes with many layers. It always looks appealing and interesting to have a clear fore- middle- and background. Clear shapes, lines and patterns can also enhance your aerial photographs.
Get inspiration by checking out some of the best drone Instagram accounts to plan where to shoot and search for drone groups on Facebook for hints from locals.
Safety and keeping the law are priorities too. Have you checked the drone laws where you’ll be shooting?
Do you have a permit? Follow the law and try not to shoot somewhere crowded with people.
You don’t want to risk crashing into anyone and hurting them.
4. The Right Time
The time of day makes a huge difference when it comes to aerial photography.
Try to shoot in Golden Hours, these being the start and end of the day. This means the light will be more interesting, and the colours different. It will create atmosphere and attract your audience.
Work with the direction of the sun to see how you can use it to light your subject/scenery best.
Don’t forget to enable “HDR” to capture as many details in both the highlights and shadows when facing the sun. Don’t know what that means? Invest the time and watch this tutorial (you won’t regret it):

5. Shoot RAW
When it comes to shooting anything, you should be doing it in RAW.
Sure JPEG has its perks, but RAW is the way to go.
Shooting in RAW makes it so much easier to make changes to your photos during the edit.
You can make color corrections or adjust the exposure much better than if you shot it in JPEG.
Also details in the highlights and shadows can be easily retrieved when taking RAW photographs.
If you’re shooting on a drone, it’s even more important to shoot in RAW.
Most drone cameras only have a 12MP resolution.
So, shooting in RAW means it won’t compress the image further.
6. Lower ISO
If you are shooting with a drone, they don’t work well with high ISO settings due to their small sensors.
If you shoot in high ISO, you’ll get a lot of grain and noise in your images which can ruin a great shot.
Try to stick to a low ISO when shooting. It means you’ll have to manually lower your settings, but it will lead to better quality images.
If you are shooting in shaded or windless locations and need more light, try using a slower shutter speed or open up the aperture. This will bring more light in and keep the ISO low for better shots.
The rule is simple: the lower the ISO, the better the quality!

7. Find the Right Shutter Speed
Aerial photography shots need the right shutter speeds.
If you want to get creative with some blurred images, a slower shutter speed will work well.

But to achieve that effect, you’ll need to attach ND filters (at least during daytime). Everything you need to know, you’ll find right here.
As modern drones have great gimbals and sensors which are getting more powerful, you can really give it a go and create shots with super slow shutter speeds.
A fast shutter speed will work best in most cases, so try to keep it higher for crisp shots.
8. Beware of the Weather
If you have a drone, you can get excited to take it out to shoot on a whim as much as possible.
Don’t do this without checking the weather first!
If the weather is set to be snowy, very windy or rainy, better put a hold on it (except if you are experienced and know what you are doing). You don’t want to damage expensive equipment by exposing it to the elements.
Try to shoot when it’s dry and calm weather. If you can’t resist, try to follow these tips for flying in the cold:

9. Bring Extra Batteries
The last thing you want when shooting from above is for the battery to die on you.
Most drone batteries only last for around 18-30 mins per flight, so you need to account for that.
The battery is the most important accessory, and you can never have too many of them.
Keep them on hand so you can swap out the batteries quick and get back to shooting ASAP!
10. Get Creative!
The best thing about aerial photography is that you get to have fun!
Flying with a drone is the most unique way to shoot, so get creative with it!
Try to find places that haven’t been shot before. Think about different angles and try out new styles.
Get creative with the selfie or take a shot featuring leading lines, lots of contrasts or shapes.
You can find so many new ways to shoot and get the best photos out of your flight.
Have fun with it, and you’ll fall in love with aerial photography.

Aerial Photography Is the Way Forward
Aerial photography is more accessible to everyone since drones have entered the market.
Now, anyone can try their hand at it.
These 10 tips make it easier to get started and learn a new skill. Give it a try, and you won’t regret it!
Find this helpful? Check out our blog for more drone tips and tricks!