After buying an expensive piece of equipment, I often ask myself: ‘How can I destroy this using another expensive piece of equipment?’ The answer: drone camera rigs.
For all the brave camera operators out there, the helicopter, quadcopters, and hexacopter camera unit is a rapidly growing market in the camera accessory world, and there are enough flying camera companies buzzing around at the 2013 NAB show that a dogfight could brake out at any minute.
Here are some of the companies that attended NAB 2013:
DJI Innovations has established itself as one of the global leaders in aerial videography and photography both for professionals and hobbyists alike. At this year’s NAB Show, they had their Phantom quadcopter for GoPro on display as their headliner.
At $679, the Phantom is one of the first consumer level flying camera units on the market. This quadcopter can take your GoPro for 15 minute ride at 10 meters/second. It also features an auto go home GPS system that helps the quadcopter land itself if you lose control of it…. or if a magical Luchador crushes it with a bolder like in this promo video:
One minor feature that I think was a missed opportunity were the lights on the bottom of the copter. DJI added them purely for aesthetics to imitate a UFO, but I think they could have had a functional usage if they were pointed forward and used as a spotlight for the camera. The way they are now they may actually interfere with the camera if the GoPro is mounted at an upward angle.
At GoPro’s NAB booth, they had the Zen Muse stabilization system for the Phantom on display, which they boldly claimed could keep your GoPro within 1 pixel of its level point while flying with is gimbal mount. This system should be released in the next few months for around $1000.
DJI also had their larger model hexacopter at NAB, the Spreading Wings S800, which can handle a camera weighing up to 5 pounds.
The S800 can be fitted with a unique rig by 360 Heroes that uses 6 GoPros to create a 360 degree panoramic video.
Flying-Cam is a Belgium company that has been making aerial filming devices for over 20 years. They showed up to NAB with their flagship model, the Hollywood caliber SARAH 3.0, which can lift a camera of up to 17 pounds.
The SARAH resembles a more traditional helicopter with just one central propeller, and a red cockpit for your camera to sit in. This was the exact model that was used with a RED camera on the set of SKYFALL to track Daniel Craig in the opening chase scene as he jumped from rooftop to rooftop on a dirt bike.
Now, its time for us to buzz around NAB some more and report more news back to you!