There’s an iPhone app to manage your flight logs

Photo/Hover
Photo/Hover

Mobile application Hover has been on the scene since 2014 as a “one-stop shop” drone application on the iTunes and Android app store.’

Now it’s got an update: flight logs.

“The new flight log feature automatically pulls data from your phone like location, time, and weather data,” according to a news release. “The pilot simply enters the location name, other technical flight details, and then the log is saved locally and e-mailed to the user.”

Previous versions of the free app also feature a flight readiness dashboard, real-time weather, an aggregated news feed and a no-fly zone feature.

“It’s the one stop solution for drone hobbyists,” co-founder Dan Held said. Continue reading There’s an iPhone app to manage your flight logs

Will GoPro Hero 5 come with an optional drone?

This article was written for The Drone Girl by Gustavo Robledo, co-founder of Drone Examiner. Visit DroneExaminer for more. 

gopro-hero-4

GoPro is expected to release its Hero 5 camera later this year with rumors of either 4K resolution or 8K with 60 frames per second, a 60mm underwater capacity, HDMI ports, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 2800 mAh lithium battery

But rumor has it GoPro will also soon announce a quadcopter drone.

The camera manufacturer has been eying the drone market for quite a while now, according to a November report in the Wall Street Journal.

This could be a good option for consumers looking to save money on a well-produced drone. While there are some drones for sale with built-in cameras from popular drone manufactures, the reality is that many professional drone pilots would rather purchase a drone compatible with GoPro cameras. But those drones tend to be more expensive and you still need to buy the GoPro separately, or in some rare cases as an additional accessory. A much better option would be to buy a GoPro Hero and a drone bundled, manufactured by the same company.

It’s also new territory for GoPro, as present drone users are mostly using cameras manufactured by other companies, many of which already come with built-in cameras.

In terms of pricing, the GoPro Hero 5 is estimated to sell for around $400-$500, but the drone and any additional accessories needed could bring the package to an estimated cost of $700-$1,000 — based on pricing for the 3DR Solo and DJI Phantom 3.

What do you think about GoPro finally aiming for the drone market? Do you think this will take business away from other drone manufacturers, or just draw more potential consumers into drones? Will the GoPro drone bring the perfect device to the hobbyist community?

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10 tips for better drone photography

Here’s an excerpt from a story I was featured in by Drone Lifestyle. Read their 10 tips for Better Drone Photography featuring a different tip from 10 prominent drone photographers here.

 Tip #1 - Sally French - Finding Your Drone Community


A great way to raise your drone photography game is to learn from and work with others. That is why finding a community very important. Since Sally first got involved with drones in college, she has connected with fellow drone pilots all over the world. Sally is so involved with the drone community she often goes by simply “the Drone Girl.”

Pro Tip: “Recently, Facebook groups have gotten really popular. I belong to a few; some location-based and some interest-based. One of my favorite groups is the Amelia Droneharts Facebook group, an international group of female pilots. Every group is different and I don’t think there is one overall “best” one to join. Just try them all out and find the personalities you jive with best. Whatever your medium is—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, in-person meetups—you’ll find your niche if you put yourself out there.”

Drones are turning into flying billboards

MW-DJ277_drone__20150407154847_ZHThis article was originally for MarketWatch.com. Read the whole thing here.

Call it drone-vertising.

Drones have already been used for delivering packages, serving as waiters and photographing sporting events. The next wave of uses for drones? Flying billboards.

“People are fascinated with the concept,” said Eugene Stark, founder of Hoovy, a company that hangs banners from three to six foot wide drones and flies them over events and businesses.

And there’s money to be made.

“When I first started, the idea was to fly for $100 a day,” said Raj Singh, founder of DroneCast, a drone advertising business that launched in April 2014. “We got large offers for $25,000 for 4 hours.”

His client list includes Sony Corp.  and Dave and Buster’s Entertainment, Inc. He has also worked with the NFL and music festivals to live stream games and shows.

Drones have advantages over that other form of flying advertisement — blimps. Namely, they are smaller and thus significantly more nimble.

“We can fly lower to the ground and we don’t have to be as high as a blimp,” Stark said. “We can fly where the traditional advertising platforms cannot.”

Drone-based advertising still can’t compete with the sheer size of a blimp, or even a large billboard. Hoovy and DroneCast both say their banners are about 6 feet wide. The Goodyear blimp, to compare, is 246 feet long.

“We don’t get as many views as the blimp,” Stark said. “But the people that see the drone are more engaged with the advertising.”

DroneCast
DroneCast

Even before Hoovy, Stark was no stranger to drones. He previously worked on the business team for a robotics project at Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Read the entire article on MarketWatch.com.

Review: Think Tank Photo’s new Phantom Airport Helipak

Here is my jenny, pre-Think Tank Helipak mode of transport. Terrible!
Here is my uber low-budget, pre-Think Tank Helipak mode of cardboard. Terrible!

When it comes to transporting my DJI Phantom drone, I probably win the award for most frugal, basic option.

Yep, I still transport my drone in the original packaging it came in. Hey, it’s not a bad option! But it’s cumbersome, inefficient and one of these days, I’m sure the cardboard is going to break off.

There are a few solutions to my minor transporting disaster on the market — HPRC and GoProfessional make hard cases. GoProfessional also has a backpack option. Photographers may be familiar with the durability and quality of Think Tank Photo’s bags. And now, Think Tank Photo has added a backpack built specifically for the DJI Phantom to their inventory.

It's the size of a small person (and holds all my gear!).
It’s the size of a small person (and holds all my gear!).

At $239, Think Tank Photo’s Phantom Airport Helipak is built with the traveler in mind, providing lumbar support, an adjustable shoulder harness, and a removable padded waist belt.

It’s small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead compartment (check with your air carrier) but definitely gargantuan enough to fit loads of gear, including your Phantom, DSLR camera,  spare lenses, a laptop and small accessories — all at the same time.

I have to say, carrying a bag that’s half my weight is certainly going to need a sturdy build with lumbar support!

But the bag itself is fairly light and not bulky considering what it’s able to carry. I would still bring this with me on a hike or day of flying at the beach in lieu of a rolling hard shell case.

IMG_3543
A custom divider set specifically designed for the DJI Phantom series allows you to reconfigure your bag depending on the gear.

Unlike its competitors, Continue reading Review: Think Tank Photo’s new Phantom Airport Helipak

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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