All posts by Sally French

DJI’s new ‘Phantom’ drone streams real time through YouTube Live

This is an excerpt of a piece originally written for MarketWatch.com. Read the full story here. Phantom 3

Chinese-drone manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. has come a long way since they released their first ready-to-fly drone, the Phantom, in January 2013.

The company, best known as DJI, on Wednesday announced the Phantom 3, a drone that integrates with YouTube Live to stream aerial footage in near real time. It comes in two variations, the Phantom 3 Professional ($1,259) and Phantom 3 Advanced ($999).
The Phantom 3 model is a huge leap for drone technology, matching the $2,899 Inspire 1 drone that DJI announced in 2014 in terms of technical specifications, but closer matching its predecessor, the $1,099 Phantom 2 Vision+ in cost and aesthetic.

The Phantom 3 controller comes integrated with DJI’s Lightbridge technology, which allows the drone operator to see what the drones camera is seeing at 1080p at 60 frames per second. It also is stabilized with a 3-axis gimbal. The three pound drone has 23 minutes of flight time and can fly at a maximum altitude of 6,000 meters above sea level.Phantom 3 - Remote 2

The difference between the Professional and Advanced model lies in the video quality; the Phantom 3 Professional is capable of shooting 4K video at up to 30 frames per second, while the Phantom 3 Advanced records at 1080p at 60 frames per second.

The drone also integrates with the DJI Pilot app, which comes with a flight simulator for operators to virtually practice flying and a ‘Director’ feature, which automatically edits shots from flights into short videos that can be shared instantly.

Read the rest of this story on MarketWatch.com.

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How drones proved themselves a powerful tool for search and rescue

Courtesy S.W.A.R.M.
Courtesy S.W.A.R.M.

Eric Garcia went missing in California 2013.

The search area for him was 40 miles along. Officials argued over whose jurisdiction is was, and the search was losing resources.

That’s when Garcia’s fiancé called their friend Jim Bowers, a full-time artist and drone hobbyist of 15 years.

“She asked me, ‘could you use my drone to help find Eric?’” Bowers said during a speech at International Drone Day in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I didn’t know what to say. I had never used a drone for search and rescue before, but I couldn’t say no.”

Bowers spent 4 days flying all over cliff faces, canyons and the road Garcia had been supposedly driving on.

“We kept using my drones to look back on the cliff faces,” he said.

The drone was able to help search team narrow down the area to 4 miles, sending out four people on motorcycles to continue the search.

The search led Bowers to start a network of volunteers to carry out search and rescue missions like this one, but on an international scale.

His organization? It’s called S.W.A.R.M. (Search With Aerial RC Multi-rotor). It’s a network where anyone qualified with a drone that had FPV capabilities could use the network to volunteer their time and search for missing people.

S.W.A.R.M. now has over 3,000 volunteer pilots in 54 countries around the world. The organization runs as a volunteer only network and does not operate through any law enforcement or emergency agencies.

Bowers’ first-ever drone search and rescue mission eventually found Garcia.

“He had come up on I-80, slid off the freeway and hit a tree,” Bowers said. Continue reading How drones proved themselves a powerful tool for search and rescue

SLIDESHOW: Behind-the-scenes with the Amelia Droneharts!

The Amelia Droneharts were featured in DJI’s  video to celebrate International Drone Day!

Six Droneharts, including The Drone Girl, met up in LA for the first-ever DroneHarts meet up at the beginning of the year.

The Droneharts were formed as a way for women who fly, build or are curious about RC to virtually connect through Facebook. The goal is to inspire females of all ages to get their hands on drones, for any reason — search and rescue, roof inspections, farming, art, journalism and a million other applications.

Why do the Droneharts have a female only group? 

While women should participate in the broader drone community, they are still a minority. 100% of the executive leadership at venture-backed drone companies 3D Robotics and Skycatch is male.

The Droneharts is the only place in the drone world where women are not a minority.

By joining The Droneharts, women don’t have to feel afraid of being objectified or not taken seriously because of their gender. There are no guys wearing shirts of “sexy” women in this community. There is no one”eye candy” of young women in tube tops that say “Remove before flight.

So, if you want to see what some real Drone Girls look like, check out this slideshow of our weekend in LA for the first-ever Droneharts gathering.

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Join me at Interdrone Las Vegas!

Sure, I just got back from International Drone Day in Las Vegas, but it won’t be long until I head back again soon!

I’ll be speaking a few different times at InterDrone, a huge, 3-day long conference for people interested in building, flying or buying drones. (So probably you!)

The conference will include more than 75 tech classes focused on commercial drone use.

It’s Sept. 9-11, 2015 at the Rio in Las Vegas. You can register here.

I can’t wait to be in the desert surrounded by drones! And even if you aren’t into drones (like Drone Girl’s boyfriend) you can always just go to the Rio’s Penn & Teller magic show. I’ll be there too!

How to make money on your aerial photography service

For Canada’s Alex Wright, a first tier DJI distributor, it’s not as tough a question as you would think.

Wright focuses on wholesale and helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get into selling drones. His online store, Drone Depot, is one of the largest in Canada. And his advice to people looking to sell drones or their aerial photography services?

Focus on a niche market.

“Rather than have a huge list of services and a crazy demo reel, show you’re an expert in one specific field,” Wright said in a talk at the International Drone Day in Las Vegas, Nevada. The market is going to get super saturated really quickly when the FAA opens up those regulations.”

That’s exactly what Wright did when the industry started opening up in Canada. Continue reading How to make money on your aerial photography service

See International Drone Day through my eyes

Over 40,000 people and 112 teams worldwide took part in International Drone Day on March 14, 2015.

The day was created to educate the public about the positive ways in which “drones” are used to better society.

I was a part of the main event in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I joined That Drone Show hosts David and Sarah Oneal, Vegas hypnotist and drone enthusiast Anthony Cools, the Roswell Flight Test Crew and hundreds others for a day of flying, meeting other enthusiasts, presentations, and…tons of media interviews (as pictured here).

Check out my day, as photographed by Hamilton Nguyen.

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Drone Girl swag is here!!

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 8.06.15 PMYou have been asking for it, and it’s finally here. DRONE GIRL SWAG!

Perfect for you, your spouse, your neighbors, and of course, the little drone girls in your life!

What better way to get little girls (and everyone for that matter?!) flying then with a t-shirt of the adorable Drone Girl herself?

The shop includes tees for the whole family (including maternity tees), onesies for the babies, watches and even aprons!

Click here to start buying now!Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 8.11.22 PM