Attention filmmakers: you still have a week to enter the NYC Drone Film Festival

Have an awesome film that you shot with a drone?

The 2016 New York City Drone Film Festival is accepting submissions through 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 for its festival at the Directors Guild of America Theater and the Liberty Science Center, from March 4- March 6.

For an idea of what you’re up against, here were some of last year’s winners:

Narrative and Best in Show Winner:

X-Factor Winner: Continue reading Attention filmmakers: you still have a week to enter the NYC Drone Film Festival

The incredible DJI Flagship store is now open — see pictures

dji flagship store

The DJI Flagship store opened today — and it looks insanely awesome.

The 8,600-square-foot store is located in Shenzhen, China and is DJI’s next step in engaging with “customers in a deeper and more meaningful way,” said DJI founder and CEO Frank Wang.

dji flagship store

And it’s not just the sheer size that makes it stand out — it’s the architecture. It’s based on the concept of yuan「圓」, the Chinese word for “circular,” and is intended to symbolize drone propellers. Continue reading The incredible DJI Flagship store is now open — see pictures

Land surveying with drones: meet Heller Gregory

unnamedThe next in our series of Drone Girl profiles is with Heller Gregory, thepresident and chief pilot of GrandView Services (named after her grade school in Southern California), which provides aerial data for mapping, inspection, monitoring and maintenance.

What’s your business all about?

My husband has a soil engineering business in Walnut Creek, where he does landslide repair and grading. I had a pilot’s license. He thought it might be good to survey land with a drone. I mostly work on projects for his business, often where he repairs landslides in people’s backyards.  I use 3D photogrammetry software to do the rendering and then monitor the photos for movement. Every couple months or so as they’re repairing it, I’ll conduct a flight and make sure there’s no movement. That offers a great view — there’s no other way of doing it.

What software and hardware do you use?

I’m using both Pix4D and ReCap 360 from Autodesk. As far as gear, I just have an IRIS+. I’m collecting the data with a GoPro, which is all I need. I don’t need the big expensive drone.unnamed

How did you get into drones?

I pretty much got into it because it seemed like a viable industry that’s coming up. I’ve always been pretty tech savvy and on top of the new technology that’s going on.

I’m an empty nester, and this fell together perfectly. With my boys out of the house, I was looking for a job. So I just created my own job.  Continue reading Land surveying with drones: meet Heller Gregory

5 drones to consider for Christmas this year

This is an excerpt of a piece originally written for Read the entire story here.

Expecting a drone under your Christmas tree this year? You’re not alone: The Federal Aviation Administration expects that up to one million drones will be sold as Christmas presents this year.

Here are some of the drones worth considering:

BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 03: Visitors look at a Phantom 3 Standard quadcopter drone at the DJI stand during a press day at the 2015 IFA consumer electronics and appliances trade fair on September 3, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The 2015 IFA will be open to the public from September 4-9. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Your first drone

What: Phantom 3 Standard

Price: $699

Chinese drone-maker DJI’s Phantom 3 Standard is an ideal drone for amateur to semi-professional photographers or filmmakers. It’s ready to fly out of the box and has the ability to record 2.7K video and 12-megapixel photos.

For the dedicated photographer

What: Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K

Price: $1,199

This flying camera boats a 4K, 3-axis stabilized camera with ultra-high-definition resolution that is four times higher than HD. The Typhoon Q500 4K also comes with a built-in video feed to the transmitter, allowing pilots to see what the drone sees from their handheld RC transmitter.

See my other picks here.

Jet Jat Nano: Here’s a drone for your stocking (that actually fits inside)

jet jat nanoThe Jet Jat Nano is the tiniest little drone I’ve ever seen.

Creatively and compactly packaged, everything you could possibly need to fly it fits in the RC transmitter, including the drone itself. The drone sits in a case inside the transmitter, which in itself is small enough to fit in a loose pocket.

It doesn’t have a camera on it, so this is purely for someone interested in having a drone just for the sake of flying it.

jet jat nano controllerFlying it is a challenge, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As with most small drones, there’s no altitude hold, and the drone goes out of control with any minor movements. But for someone who wants to learn precision piloting, this may be the stocking stuffer for you. If you can master this little drone, you can master anything.

In fact, something like this is what I would recommend beginner pilots buy. There is no sense in throwing your brand new $1000 Phantom in the air that you got for Christmas with zero flying experience. I’ve heard of a lot of Phantoms end up in the pool or on the roof that way.

drone girl jet jat nanoI love the idea of getting the hang of the controls on a $30 or $40 drone, and then progressing on to the real deal.

And for someone who just enjoys the thrill of flying, this will do that for you without requiring you to spend $1,000.

The drone works outdoors or indoors, so it’s a cool party trick. Continue reading Jet Jat Nano: Here’s a drone for your stocking (that actually fits inside)

DJI gaining greater monopoly in thermal imaging market for drones

MW-EA914_inspir_20151209204421_ZHThis is an excerpt of a piece originally written for Read the whole story here.

Drone powerhouse DJI looks set to dominate another drone sector in the commercial market, thermal imaging.

Chinese drone manufacturer DJI on Thursday announced a collaboration with Flir Systems Inc.FLIR, -0.61%   an Oregon-based sensor manufacturer that focuses on thermal imaging. The two companies are building their first joint product called the Zenmuse XT.

Thermal imaging for drones is particularly useful for search and rescue, fire-fighting and agricultural purposes. A thermal-camera-equipped drone flying over the forest that picks up on a hot spot could indicate a person on the ground. Thermal cameras flying over a burning building that show a cool spot could indicate a safer entry point for firefighters. And farmers use thermal imaging as they fly over fields to indicate dry spots or over-watering.

The Zenmuse XT will be released in the first quarter of 2016 and will allow users to collect aerial images while in complete darkness and measure temperature.

Read more here.

Parrot Bebop 2 improves on battery life, proves winner in the range of $500 drones

Last year I told you about the Parrot Bebop, my favorite drone for someone looking for good quality images but for less than $500.

Parrot just launched the $599 Parrot Bebop 2, a refreshed take on the original Bebop 1. The Bebop 2 will be available to the public on Dec. 14, but Parrot let me give it a whirl ahead of time.

The drone is mostly the same as the Bebop 1 but with technological improvements — an impressive 25 minutes of battery life — pretty much doubling the flight time of its predecessor.parrot bebop 2

The drone is easy to fly — able to maintain altitude and is easy enough for a kid to control. But it’s also a little more hoppy than counterparts like the smooth (and for some, arguably too slow) Yuneec Typhoon which could provide a layer of excitement for someone who finds joy in maneuvering the copter while in flight rather than just getting video footage.

I love the Bebop for taking on a vacation – at less than 18 ounces (about the weight of one and a half cans of coke), it’s incredibly light. But’s it’s powerful enough to fly at 37 mph horizontally, or 13 mph vertically. That means it takes less than 20 seconds to hit 328 feet.

And the video quality is solid — a fish-eye camera digitally stabilizes the HD video on a 3-axis framework, a type of digital gimbal.

What really sets this drone apart from others is the Continue reading Parrot Bebop 2 improves on battery life, proves winner in the range of $500 drones

Coupon codes for drone training courses? Check this out

Slide06The FAA expects 1 million drones to be sold this holiday season — and that inevitably means a lot of new pilots out there.

DARTdrones Flight School is offering a new two hour, indoor introductory course to drones and the industry, with classes scheduled through January around the country.

And now, you can save $25 off a course using coupon code “SANTACERTIFIED1.”

The course is a brief overview of all the things new drone pilots red to know – from FAA rules to equipment considerations to safety tips such as creating a flight log and emergency preparedness.

DARTdrones was created by CEO Abby Speicher, a serial entrepreneur who realized she needed drone training after a near-crash during a business pitching competition, where she was demoing drones to the judges.

“That’s the point I realized I needed a training course,” Speicher said. “And so we decided, ‘alright, let’s just make a drone training school.’”

Check it out, and happy flying!

*You can still use coupon code “DroneGirl10” to get 10% off DARTdrones’ Phantom 3 and Inspire Training: Part 1 and 2 courses.


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