By Karl Spangenberg
The use of drones in the film industry has grown quite rapidly within the last three to four years and quite frankly, it is rather pricey. Luckily, however, there are much cheaper alternatives for the average user seeking to utilize such amazing tools for creating those awe inspiring aerial videos and photographs. There are many decisions that you will have to make before deciding on which drone you'll be purchasing. The usual set of questions regarding these machines, beside the price, are generally things like the flight time, durability, reliability and the most important part, the camera
DJI Phantom 3
The first drone that would come to mind would likely be the new DJI Phantom 3
The Phantom 3 is the newest member of the DJI family and does not come as a surprise as to why it has become such a common choice among film-makers and hobbyists alike!
The new Phantom 3 , just as its first and second generation counterparts, has the same iconic white plastic body that is still just as durable as previous models but has however undergone some rather interesting yet very helpful software upgrades that help you fly the Phantom much easier.
DJI has now installed a system known as GLONASS which works like a refined GPS on the drone helping it to find more sattelites and find them quicker than ever before!. The best thing that DJI offers with the new Phantom is the option of three different package choices.
The Phantom 3 standard,advance and the proffesional. Now let's look at the specs :
The Phantom 3 standard includes the rather well built Zenmuse standard 3-axis gimbal supporting a 12 megapixel sensor capable of shooting at 2.7k resolution on 30 fps and carried at 40kbps
The Advanced version has a rather better camera being carried. In the case of purchasing a Phantom 3 advance you will find yourself with a rather smashing Sony EXMOR 12.4 megapixel camera also shooting 2.7k resolution at 30 fps also at a 40kbps bitrate
Now we come to the top of the line Professional version
Also sporting a Sony EXMOR sensor but has a rather quick 4K resolution 30fps camera with a 60kbps bitrate!
Now these new Brilliant options from DJI are definitely worth a look if you plan on making very well crafted aerial video or aerial photographs.
But now there is another alternative aimed at the beginner learning to fly as well as learning to master the flying shot.The introduction of Parrot's new Bebop Drone.
The bebop is a very surprising machine when you fly it for the first time. It's flying characteristics are extremely good and does give a feeling of confidence to the chap flying it!.
The Bebop features a very nice 14 megapixel 14mm wide angle fish eye lens that is fitted inside the body of this drone.
The interesting thing about this camera is the fact that it has a full 180° sensor that can be controlled from the Sky Controller or your android or apple device to set up the right angle for your shot! The camera on this drone uses a highly refined auto leveling system to stabilize all footage you capture as you fly with crisp image projection and zero distortion!
Coming to the more hardware oriented side of things is where the bebop really starts to shine like the little gem it really is! The bebop features a feather light (almost 400g) fully reinforced ABS molded quadcopter frame and finished off with a very light yet extremely durable EPP (expanded-polypropylene) foam body.
that protects the parrot p7 dual-core CPU and quad-core GPU with its internal 8GB flash memory built onto a magnesium shelf that essentially acts as a cooling plate that shields all software from electromagnetic interference!
The difference between the Phantom and the Bebop are not that vast when you put them both side by side and compare them but in this case the two machines that will be compared will be the Phantom 3 professional and the bebop.
The Phantom has a world famous reputation for being an affordable all-rounder and quite frankly it is the best choice that can be made. It is a very good machine to learn on due it's gimbal and camera being removable and of course the size of it. It's a large drone but it is big enough to handle wind quite nicely. It's GPS system works very well and has all the function buttons marked with nice icons in a very comfortable and easy to operate layout for the user.
The Parrot Bebop on the other hand has all of it's function buttons layed out on a app which is a bit too crowded to concentrate on everything that's going on. Some of the functions, like the Emergency button, is well marked and at the middle-top of the tablet on the app. All the other nice features that can be utilized when filming or just when flying for fun require going into different menu's while flying which is not very user friendly.
The bebop does become a very well tamed machine once the use of the Parrot skycontroller is incorperated and is definitely a neccessity if you plan on filming with the Bebop. It can be flown directly from the Parrot freeflight3 app (which is free) but is much harder to fly by use of the accelerometer on your tablet or smartphone. The one other issue with flying the Bebop from the App itself is that the drone will only fly as far as the WiFi connection will allow between the drone and the apple or android device.
So coming to a conclusion on both of these machines, The DJI Phantom is mainly aimed at the beginner aiming to utilise this machine for professional filming in years to come with updates available every few months to keep it safe in the air and keeping you worry free when flying that perfect shot.
The Parrot bebop is most certainly a very well thought out machine and is definitely worth looking at if you are a beginner looking to spend a small fortune to have a machine that is extremely cheap to maintain yet just as easy to fly,but not intended for the professional aerial film use, more for amature use to one-day move on to a larger more professional machine like the phantom.