Author Archives: Dronerator

Let’s talk about the DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone

Alright. Another day, another drone. But this time, we’re talking big news. In the following article, I will go through the major pros and cons of the new DJI Mini 3 Pro drone. The tiny drone that feels much larger inside. I will unveil who should (and who shouldn’t) buy this new piece of electronics.

DJI Mini 3 Pro drone in flight

Overview

The new miniature drone weighs less than 250 grams. That’s not only nice because it means that you can relax your muscles and won’t have to carry a lot, but it’s especially relevant, as having drones weighing less than 250 grams means getting around certain regulatory limitations (f.e. a drone license in Europe).

Well, the Mini 3 Pro drone by DJI isn’t the first drone to weigh less than 250 grams. There are plenty of cheap 30$ drones that are also lightweight (spoiler alert: they crash into the walls faster than you can replace them).

But how about the unofficial predecessor model, the DJI Mini 2 drone? It has the same weight and almost similar dimensions.

Major upgrades

Okay, let’s start with the big news, the major upgrades that make the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone the first miniature drone to deserve the term “Pro.”

It is major news that a miniature drone features a functional obstacle avoidance system. The system (camera-based) makes sure the drone doesn’t bump into walls, trees, et cetera. It scans the surroundings and does a neat job. It “looks” to the front, the bottom, and backward.

Especially for those relying on the tracking mode of the drone (people running in the woods, surfing, riding their bicycle), the obstacle avoidance system comes in handy: it makes sure the drone stays safe.

Because, yes, plenty of drones can track an object in motion, but none (of the small drones) can detect and avoid obstacles. Even when flying backward.

DJI Mini 3 Pro drone

Let’s talk about flight specs.

Or rather not.

Drone specs are always over-exaggerated. When a manufacturer tells you the drone can fly for 6 miles, it can probably flies half of the distance under realistic (and not ideal) conditions. When it comes to the flight time, you can usually cut the official time by a third.

The drone stays airborne for roundabout 25 minutes. That’s definitely a reasonable flight time, but not a new record. No drone I have flown actually beats the half-hour mark (though many models advertise superb flight times). Getting yourself a pack of spare batteries is never wrong. By the way, when ordering the fly more kit, you get not only two extra batteries but also the multiple charger. It allows you to charge your battery on the go using a standard power bank.

The flight time – I know. It’s a hot topic. Though I never understood why. Flying out of sight is not only illegal in most places but also not helpful for creating amazing aerials. Therefore, I didn’t go for an extreme range test. Instead, I tested the drone under normal circumstances. And yes, the signal is super strong. I received glitches only rarely, and the screen never fully blacked out.

I am thrilled with the signal strength of the new drone.

Fun fact: the sometimes annoying remote controller antenna has magically disappeared. Take a look.

DJI Mini 3 Pro Remote Controller with builtin display

Unfortunately, I can’t provide you with a photo of the front of the controller (though you can check it out in-depth in my video review on YouTube; See the link at the bottom of the article). But let me tell you that the screen rocks: not having to attach a smartphone is so very comfortable. No more forgetting about or bringing cables, no more dying smartphone batteries, no more mindless social media distractions.

The display is bright, though not as bright as the display that you find in some of the more expensive controllers for the high-end drones. But even in bright sunlight, I never had any trouble seeing the screen and setting things up properly.

The Camera

Okay, I know why you’re here. You want to learn more about the miniature drone’s camera. Let me enlighten you quickly.

In three simple words: the camera rocks.

I know that some will now be crying out loud, “Oh, he’s a fanboy. He’s only promoting the drone because they pay him.” Well, to be honest, I wish they were. Unfortunately, they’re not.

If you want to support my work, you can purchase your new gear through my links (if you feel like buying the new DJI Mini 3 Pro drone, feel free to buy it right here).

But seriously, why shouldn’t I be a fan of something that impresses me? I don’t care about loyalty (when it comes to technology); in this regard, I only care about usefulness.

And when I come across a tool that helps me get the job done efficiently, I will promote it. And let me spoiler you again: I really like the new DJI Mini 3 Pro drone.

To me, it’s by far the best miniature drone there is in 2022.

And whatever you might feel right now, whether you feel like biting into your desk or throwing a unicorn pillow: I don’t care. Call me a fanboy? Do you really think that offends me?

Alright, the social media debate about free speech shouldn’t influence this harmless tech article of mine. At least not all of it. Enough is enough. Back to the topic.

Now, the miniature camera of the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone records crisp and clean 4K at up to 60fps.

And the bitrate is also impressive: up to 150 mbit/s save tons of details that would otherwise be lost. It is also big news that the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone is the first-in-class drone to feature a professional color profile (D-Cinelike). Feel free to use your magic fingers to color correct and not write senseless, mean (but actually irrelevant) comments on social media (I’m so sorry if you’re not one of these trolls that I feel like talking to at the moment, I’ll try to change tone now).

Also, when it comes to taking photos, the drone is miles ahead of its competition. Let me mention one fact only: 48MP photos. RAW 48MP photos. Let’s take a look at a few of the images I recorded with the small 24mm camera.

The tiny miniature camera does indeed take great photos. I didn’t expect the images to be that reach in detail when I first opened the box.

The downsides

Obviously, everything also has a downside. In this case, I can list three cons that I ran into while testing the new drone.

1) The remote controller doesn’t feature an HDMI output. To some users, this might be an issue.

2) To check the battery level of the batteries, you need to either insert them into the drone or into the multiple charger – the batteries themselves don’t have any buttons or LEDs to display the voltage level.

3) The drone’s low weight also has its downside: the drone’s body feels less sturdy than the larger models – but obviously, this is how the manufacturer (DJI) made the drone stay below 250 grams.

Gimme more

Alright, I will. How about watching my review on YouTube? It’s worth it for sure.

https://youtu.be/_rmpksTLzUs

Or the unboxing video. In case you feel like buying the new DJI Mini 3 Pro drone.

https://youtu.be/dfyWRLfkS9k

If you want to learn how to take outstanding aerials (videos and photos) with your drone, enroll in one of my online courses. I’ll teach you everything that you need to know. That way, you can combine both: great tech (your drone) with creative skills. Click here to take a look at the courses.

Want to buy the drone? Click here and get airborne.

Best RC Boats Reviews of 2022

Updated: May 10, 2022 RC boats are becoming one of the most popular categories of remote control vehicle. From serious professional racers to hobbyists, everyone with access to water can enjoy a radio controlled boat for sale. The gear available today is nothing like the old-fashioned versions that you saw at amusement parks during yesteryear, …

The post Best RC Boats Reviews of 2022 appeared first on Dronethusiast.

Best RC Truck For Kids (Top RC Trucks For Children Updated 2021)

Updated: November 12, 2021 Remote control trucks are often used for competitive racing and rock crawling, but they also make great toys. Who among is didn’t grow up playing with a great radio controlled truck, racing our siblings and friends and making race tracks out of whatever we could find? An RC truck can be …

The post Best RC Truck For Kids (Top RC Trucks For Children Updated 2021) appeared first on Dronethusiast.

DJI FPV Drone | What You Should Know Before You Buy It

More and more videos appear, showing impressive flight maneuvers at high speeds. The drones fly just inches above the ground; they race and track Mountainbikes and parachutes. They dive down the highest waterfalls and pass through the narrowest spaces.

Simply put: FPV flying is cool and more people want to be a part of the fun.

The brand-new DJI FPV Drone targets this growing market like no other model because it enables everyone literally to safely operate a racing fast FPV drone.

Read on to find out about the major pros and cons of this new drone – because we were lucky and took the DJI FPV Drone to the test for you. Watch our full review right here on YouTube.

DJI FPV Drone, Tom David Frey, Tom's Tech Time

Ease Of Use

The DJI FPV Drone follows the manufacturer’s major secret to success: it’s supposed to be a high-end model with tons of capabilities while still user-friendly.

And it’s true. The DJI FPV Drone is equipped with a ton of safety features: the drone automatically returns to its take-off position in case of a connection loss. It navigates safely, thanks to the inbuilt GPS and Glonass receiver. It has a multi-angled anti-collision system aboard that does a fantastic job (it reliably prevented crashes when I took it to the test).

Now, the drone is equipped with three flight modes: N, S, and M.

In N-Mode, the drone behaves like any other DJI model: it hovers safely, flies at a limited speed, and the sensors keep the drone safe. Literally, anyone can control the drone in this mode.

S-Mode is a hybrid mode. It enables faster flight while still not allowing the drone to, f.e., tip over. This mode is great for practicing for the final mode.

M-mode is what all pro’s out there will love: the drone flies without the help of the safety tools, it can tip over, race up- or downward, it can perform the craziest maneuvres at high speeds.

Fast Flight

Regular drones can hit speeds of around 60 – 70 kilometers per hour. That’s fast, but FPV and racing drones can fly much faster. Officially, the DJI FPV Drone even doubles this speed; The manufacturer claims max speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour. During the tests that I performed, the DJI FPV Drone flew faster: 150 kilometers per hour in manual mode.

That’s insanely fast and creates spectacular footage.

And a feeling that can only be called crazily intense when wearing the FPV goggles V2. You feel like sitting inside the drone’s cockpit. It kind of reminded me of the famous podracing seen in the Star Wars films.

DJI FPV Drone, Tom David Frey, Tom's Tech Time

Camera Capabilities

The drone is equipped with a replaceable 4K camera. Its ultra-wide-angle lens allows for a true FPV feeling. Up to 60 frames per second in 4K enable users to create super-smooth or even slow-mo footage.

The camera is one-axis mechanically stabilized. The well-functioning digital image stabilization takes control over the other two leftover axes. And the system does an excellent job.

The footage is nicely detailed, thanks to the 150 mbit/s the camera records with.

You can download original test footage for free right here.

(Additional) Tools

To operate the DJI FPV Drone, you firstly need a remote controller. And, well, there’s not a lot I could tell you about the included one. It does the job nicely but doesn’t have any overwhelming features aboard.

Next, and this is truly important, you need goggles. And DJI provides users with the most excellent FPV goggles I have ever seen (until today). The new DJI FPV Goggles V2 have a super low latency of less than 28 milliseconds. It means that they transfer the footage from the camera to the eyes super fast, which is very important when flying inches from the ground at high speeds).

Also, the fact the goggles transfer the signal digitally is excellent—no more flickering and badly interrupted video. The DJI Goggles V2 are worth their own blog article (you can also hear me talking about and demonstrating them in my review on YouTube).

Last but not least, the manufacturer introduced a new tool—the DJI Motion Controller.

It’s basically a lightweight, one-handed controller that you can move like a joystick. And the drone follows the hand movements.

Final Thoughts

I believe that handing out super fast and powerful FPV drones to the general (and not necessarily trained) public can lead to accidents.

Already with regular drones, some beginners have given drones a lousy reputation by causing unnecessary accidents. True, the number of people who got seriously hurt is still minimal, and the press is not covering themselves with glory by reporting about drones as if they were tiny grenades.

Now, if unskilled folks crash their super fast FPV drones into people or cars, we might finally truly end up with some severe accidents – and the press will love it. And we will end up with even worse restrictions.

On the contrary, if beginners are decent and get started in N-mode and level up using S-mode before they finally start to fly manually, there is not a lot to worry about. In general, if you’re flying in wide-open spaces, then you should be safe; Whether you are a beginner or a pro.

Now, if people take it easy and practice before they start to chase for the most spectacular recordings, then the DJI FPV Drone is excellent news. It will finally uplift a niche hobby and make it accessible to the general public. And that, in the end, leads to more innovations, better prices and, yes, more fun.

If you want to check out the DJI FPV Drone’s current pricing, click right here. Every purchase supports my work, and I can keep it free and accessible to anyone. Thanks so much.

DJI FPV Drone, Tom David Frey, Tom's Tech Time

Drone Gimbals Fully Explained: How They Work

Born from the battlefield with the military as a catalyst for the development of its technology, drones are becoming more and more prevalent today.

Professionals and hobbyists alike can fly them with relative ease.

Intricate pieces of technology, all working in perfect tandem, can make this happen.

One piece of technology is vital to get those crystal clear photos and video footage from hundreds of feet in the air – drone gimbals. 

Read on to learn how this single piece of technology works!

What is a Gimbal?

Gimbals are support systems with sophisticated motion detecting systems.

They allow an object, most often a camera, to remain at the same angle, regardless of motion.

For example, gimbals enable videographers to capture perfectly smooth footage in motion with minimal effort. Similarly, a drone gimbal reduces vibration and keep your camera stable despite the drone’s movement.

It utilizes calibrated electronic motors and intelligent sensors. They automatically compensate for any movement the computer detects across all three axes.

How Drone Gimbals work

You can buy Drone gimbals either as a separate unit for a camera to mount or as a complete unit with an integrated camera.

The large mechanical parts for a drone gimbal are simple.

They include the camera mount and three separate motors that work in tandem to keep everything stable and without vibration. 

The computing power of gimbals is a little more complicated.

Mechanical force translates into an electronic signal that’s fed to a computer within the “brain” of the gimbal called a controller.

The electromechanical device capable of translating these g-forces is MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems). They can also be called IMU (Inertial Measurement Units), accelerometers, or gyroscopes.

They all function in similar ways.

Most of these electronic devices don’t physically move and are purely made up of electronic signals.

MEMS devices are different; they move in response to g-forces from the sway of your drone, gusts of wind, etc. 

As the MEMS structures move, electrical signals go to the computer inside the gimbal controller.

This gives precise information on the force and direction of those g-forces.

Each second, the controller sends commands to the three motors that control the camera. It communicates the movements needed to counteract the motion and vibration.

Appreciating the Tech

Have you ever received an overload warning, noticed tilted horizons, or abnormal vibrations?

These are all common issues of your gimbal being obstructed or not calibrated correctly.

Now that you’re aware of its intricate inner workings, you’ll think twice before trying to fix these issues by twisting it manually! 

Hopefully, by now you have a greater appreciation for the workmanship that goes into UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

Without drone gimbals, attaining clear photos and video would be (nearly) impossible.

DJI Air 2S | The All-In-One Drone Tested

This new drone is massive. Well, not in size, but instead in specs. But can the DJI Air 2S Drone really perform as well as promised by the manufacturer?

We took it to the test.

DJI Air 2S Drone 5.4K

1 | The Sensor

Larger sensors generally mean a higher image quality, improved low-light performance, and an increased dynamic range.

That’s why professional 1-Inch sensors were reserved for larger and more expensive drones, but only until now. The large 1-Inch sensor of the DJI Air 2S is a significant leap forward. It enables photographers and videographers alike to record more professionally.

And the results look astonishing. The small drone with the large sensor shoots crisp and clean, detailed photos and videos and is excellent for advanced content creation.

Photo taken with DJI Air 2S Drone

2 | Video Resolution

We’re not done with the camera yet. The next major highlight is the video resolution of the new DJI Air 2S drone. 4K is out. 5.4K rules.

The massive resolution sets a new standard and offers a ton of possibilities in post-production.

Don’t forget how high 5.4K resolution actually is. Take a look at the comparison.

5.4K is future-proof and precisely what I and many other ambitious videographers have been waiting for.

If you want to take a closer look at the original footage recorded with the DJI Air 2S in 5.4K, you can download test files for free right here.

3 | New Level of Safety

ADS-B stands for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast.

The DJI Air 2S is equipped with an ADS-B receiver. It means that the drone warns you once an airplane or helicopter approaches. It’s a significant leap in airspace safety. It’s great that the DJI Air 2S is the first consumer drone to feature an inbuilt ADS-B receiver.

Nevertheless, you should not forget that not all airplanes use an ADS-B transmitter.

4 | Travel Size and Weight

The DJI Air 2S is super compact.

It fits in every backpack and can be folded for transportation. Getting it cleared for take-off takes less than 30 seconds.

And it weighs only around 600 grams. Therefore, the drone’s weight and size are ideal for travelers.

5 | Transmission Range

Next, the transmission range.

The drone has four inbuilt antennas. They transmit the signal over a distance of up to 7.4 miles. That’s crazy far. Under normal circumstances, you will never need to fly out that far, plus that flying out of sight is forbidden in most countries. But having such a strong signal means never suffering from a poor connection. And the connection is tremendous. The signal simply never interrupted.

6 | Intelligent Functions

Finally, ActiveTrack. DJI revised its tracking mode and made it better than ever.

The camera-based tracking system can track humans as well as animals or objects. All you have to do is select an object on the screen of your smartphone. The drone starts the tracking process automatically.

Of course, you can tell the drone how to track an object. There are plenty of options. The drone can circle or fly by an object or simply follow it.

It was fascinating to watch that the drone didn’t at all struggle when losing sight for a few moments. It simply continued the tracking process once it caught sight again.

Summary

The DJI Air 2S Drone is precisely what I’ve been waiting for.

As a filmmaker and enthusiastic aerial photographer, I cannot wait to explore the world with this miniature drone and its – I can’t say it any different – professional-grade camera.

Get yourself a DJI Air 2S Drone right here.

5 Drone Videography Tips to Elevate Your Production Value

Drone videography gives creators a unique way to produce exciting footage.

Whether it’s mastering aerial shots or motion shots, there are tricks to producing awe-inspiring drone footage. If you’re keen to improve your drone videography skills but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are our top five tips.

1. Fly at a Low Altitude

Many filmers think that aerial videography focuses on gaining height but this doesn’t always produce the best results.

In fact, one of the most important drone videography tips is to fly at a low altitude. Even though a higher altitude gives you more shooting space, low altitude flying highlights the object’s details, resulting in an immersive experience.

2. Orbit

The orbit shot is key to drone cinematography as it makes the video more dramatic. This aerial videography trick takes practice but manually circle an object as your drone flies sideways.

If you’re unsure how to do it, activate the Point of Interest (POI) intelligent flight mode. This means your drone will automatically circle the object while you tweak the height and radius.

You can get creative by zooming in or moving backward while rotating around the subject for unique footage.

3. The Chase

One of the best drone shots is the chase, perfect if you’re shooting a fast-moving object. You can shoot from behind the subject or the front but you must match the speed so it stays in the center of the shot.

To finish the video, let the object pass if you’re shooting from the front or pass it if you shot from behind.

4. Tracking Shot

For drone filming, the aim of a tracking shot is to match the speed of your subject while maintaining focus. The trick is to stay coordinated and rehearse the shot until you’re completely confident.

To do this, keep your camera at the same height and distance, adding more movement if you feel confident. Tracking shots are popular in sports events or if you’re following a fast vehicle.

5. Unveil Your Surroundings

At a low altitude, fly in front of a barrier like a line of trees and slowly gain height. Then when you’re at a good level, you can unveil the scenery to your audience. If you’re struggling to keep it steady, slowly pan or tilt the camera so you get a smooth shot. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment by flying forward or backward so you can get different angles. At the start of shooting, you could also frame your shot with structures or trees in the foreground to get more intriguing footage.

More Drone Videography?

Now you know five drone videography tips to help you produce a high-quality film.

You must master the basics before you can experiment with harder shots like the orbit and a fantastic way to do this is by taking my drone filmmaking course so you can produce killer aerial drone content.

Creative Editing Tricks For Drone Videos

From vacation rentals to community celebrations, drone footage can enhance your videos unlike anything else. People love to watch drone videos.

They are often the most popular posts on websites or social media because they provide a unique perspective.

To create an exciting drone video people love to watch, you need to know how to edit drone video to tell a compelling story.

Here are five editing tricks for drone video that will make your audience say, “Wow!”

If you’re looking for more editing tricks for drone videos, enroll in our online drone courses. We provide everything you need to know, from buying the right gear to editing the perfect video.

Photo taken in Iceland with DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone, Copyright by Tom David Frey

Use these Editing tricks for Drone Videos

Once you find the right drone for your needs and budget, the next step is learning the right way to edit the footage.

If this is your first time using a drone, you can try editing the video with the apps that come with it.

But for a professional-looking video, you need to look for editing software that offers more options and control over the footage.

Adobe Premiere Pro is a great all-around option for Mac and PC users (and I use it too).

Final Cut Pro X is still a popular option for Mac users.

DaVinci Resolve works with Mac, PC, and Linux and has a built-in color grading option that is popular with professional editors.

Once you’ve selected your editing software and imported the footage, it’s time to start editing.

Set the Mood with Music

The right music can set the tone of your video from the very beginning. From playful and cheerful to dramatic and suspenseful, you can help viewers experience your footage in a new way when you add audio. You find my personal recommendation for audio tracks and sound FX for aerial videos right here.

Match the style of music with your footage and the intended audience. Explore sound effects to enhance your video with the sound of rustling leaves or rippling waves. Experiment with different combinations of music and effects until you have the right balance of audio to create the perfect ambiance.

Make the Grade with Color

Adjusting the color of your video, also known as color grading, can give your video a more dramatic look. The right color adjustments can make the difference between your video looking dull or looking vibrant. Color grading takes practice, but here are some tips on how to adjust colors in your video editing app.

Take a long Look

A drone gives you a fresh perspective on the world around you. But too often editors use jump cuts and fast transitions to create the sensation of action or drama. While there is a place for this style of editing, sometimes it’s better to hold a long shot to let the scene develop as people take it in.

For example, if you are editing footage of ocean waves rolling up on the shore, you can linger on that shot for a while. Let people experience the peaceful scene. If you want to give the scene more movement, consider cropping the shot tight in software, and slowly zooming out to the full frame.

Ocean waves from above, Aerial Drone Photo by Tom David Frey, captured with DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

Ramp it Up (or Down)

Drones are great for capturing “approach footage” such as flying over a field of flowers to reveal a beautiful lake. These are gorgeous shots to watch, but depending on how long it takes you to reach your final shot, the viewer may become bored waiting on the reveal.

Editing software has a “ramp feature” that allows you to speed up (or slow down) the movement of your footage. This effect allows you to reduce the amount of time it takes the viewer to see the final scene.

It can be a very theatrical effect, but use it judiciously. Make it the exception, not the rule.

Use Drone Footage for Transitions

If you usually capture video with a handheld camera, you can still use drone footage to make a traditional video more exciting. Consider editing drone footage as transitions between scenes or to establish a location in your video. Drones are also great for shooting timelapse video. Timelapse footage can be included to show the passing of time between scenes. Or even better: a motion lapse!

Impress your Audience

With these five editing tricks for drone video, you can create a professional-looking video that will impress any viewer. And remember, editing is a skill that is honed over time. The best way to make an edit drone video is to practice. 

If you’re looking for more editing tricks for drone videos, enroll in our online drone courses. We provide everything you need to know, from buying the right gear to editing the perfect video.

Drone Filmmaking Course by Tom David Frey