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So what airspace CAN I fly in while using a drone in San Francisco?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about finding where you can legally fly your drone — specifically in San Francisco. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I’m going to San Francisco for a wedding at the end of May. I wanted to bring my drone and capture some shots of such a beautiful city. However, it seems like just about everything is restricted. Can you recommend some good safe places to fly out there? I’d hate to bring it all the way out there just to find out I can’t fly it anywhere.

-Dan

Hey Dan,

Welcome in advance to San Francisco, and I’m thrilled to hear you want to take pictures of the beautiful city that I live in.

You are right — a LOT of places that our totally incredible also fall in restricted airspace. Most of the beach area on the western side of the city is part of a National Park, as well as the Presidio and Alcatraz. Then, you’ve got the airport down in the southern part of the city which prevents you from flying, as well as Oakland airport on the opposite side of the bay should you want to fly there. Continue reading So what airspace CAN I fly in while using a drone in San Francisco?

You have to see this new drone museum exhibition in NYC

Drones aren’t THAT old, but they’re already becoming the stuff of museums.

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Complex in New York City this week opened an exhibit called “Drones: Is the sky the limit?” making it the U.S.’s first major museum exhibition on drones.

The exhibit is located in a 6,000 square foot pavilion on Pier 86 in New York City, and will showcase historical artifacts, model airplanes, actual drones, three-dimensional computer renderings and rare videos. Continue reading You have to see this new drone museum exhibition in NYC

PowerVision’s new PowerRay is an underwater drone

In PowerVision’s world, UAV can stand for unmanned aerial vehicle — and unmanned aquatic vehicle.

Chinese drone manufacturer PowerVision announced the new PowerRay drone — a drone that works underwater rather than in the sky. Much like how photographers use drones to get a new aerial perspective, this drone could be a game changer in underwater exploration.

Photographers might want to use it to photograph underwater worlds. Scientists might use it to conduct research in real-time, without having to go underwater themselves. Fishermen might use it to detect where fish are.

The drone, which starts at $1,488 operates very much like most consumer-level drones you’ll see on the market today. The whole thing is controlled with an RC controller. Much like how the left stick controls altitude on an aerial drone, the left stick controls the depth of the drone in the water. The right stick controls the direction that the drone swims. A mobile app allows you to livestream what the drone sees directly through your smartphone or tablet. The app also allows users to adjust camera settings. Continue reading PowerVision’s new PowerRay is an underwater drone

NAB 2017: 5 major drone announcements you need to know about

The NAB 2017 Show kicks off on Monday in Las Vegas, Nevada, and there are some pretty big drone announcements coming out of it.

Drones are flying at there own “Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion” this year. In addition to being able to attend a number of sessions including aerial cinematography techniques, live broadcasting and Part 107 certification, attendees will get to see new product launches.

Here are 5 new drone product launches happening at NAB 2017 that you need to know about:

dji ronin 2
DJI’s Ronin 2
    1. DJI’s Ronin 2: DJI is mostly known for making drones, but it is improving that smooth silky look for ground images too. DJI on Sunday announced the Ronin 2, a three-axis camera stabilizer based on the drone maker’s gimbal technology. The Ronin 2 has an enlarged camera cage and 50mm extendable arms which can support DSRLs as well as full cinematic cameras and lenses up to 30 pounds.  The drone has a detachable grip to allow for a range of camera mounts, from the basic handheld and jib configurations to Ready Rig, plus cable cams, vehicles and drones. The Ronin 2 allows for dual hot-swappable batteries, providing 2.5 hours of runtime. A new Panorama mode on Ronin 2 can create still image panoramas that account for the camera sensor type and lens focal length as well as the user-defined overlap rate, while the new Timelapse mode can program multiple movements and camera actions at different points along a route, and view progress in real time. Ronin 2 will be available in the second quarter of 2017, and pricing will be announced prior to availability. The current version of Ronin is currently $1,599.

      PolarPro Katana Mavic Tray NAB 2017
      PolarPro’s Katana Mavic Tray
    2. PolarPro’s Katana Mavic Tray:   The Mavic Pro has already taken the drone world by storm, and PolarPro, which makes a number of drone accessories, including camera filters and backpacks, announced at NAB the new Katana Mavic Tray. The tray utilizes the Mavic’s gimbal to turn the drone into a hand-held solution for smooth, cinematic shots. It’s essentially an integrated smartphone mount, in which users rely on the drone’s companion app for framing and camera controls. The PolarPro Katana Mavic Tray is $49.99. The first 100 pre-orders have already sold and will ship on May 1.dji cendence
    3. DJI’s Cendence Remote Controller: DJI’s new Cendence remote controller is an advanced, multi-platform controller. The drone gives pilotsinstant access to functions like ISO, sharpness, shutter speed, focus and more, without navigating the touch menu settings on their mobile device. Two dials adjust the pitch and yaw of the gimbal at the same time. Built-in SDI and HDMI video transmission ports allow for live HD broadcast and streaming applications. The controller, which has battery life of up to 4 hours, mounts smartphones, tablets and DJI’s high-brightness CrystalSky monitors, and also features a smaller secondary screen to display critical telemetry data. Cendence will be available later this year for $999.

Continue reading NAB 2017: 5 major drone announcements you need to know about

DJI’s new Phantom 4 Advanced delivers a better camera

DJI today announced an upgrade to its Phantom 4 drone — the Phantom 4 Advanced.

The drone primarily improves on the Phantom 4’s camera, this time with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor and a mechanical shutter lens.

It shoots 4K video at 60 frames per second with a video processor supporting H.264 4K videos at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a 100Mbps bitrate.

DJI also announced the Phantom 4 Advanced+, which makes big changes to the controller. The controller will have a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen that is twice as bright as most smartphones and tablets — an ideal solution for people who have trouble seeing what the drone’s camera is seeing, particularly on bright, sunny days.dji phantom 4 advanced controller

Continue reading DJI’s new Phantom 4 Advanced delivers a better camera

What is the best drone to film my marching band?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about drones and marching bands! If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I’m looking for a drone that will auto hover and film. I will be using it primarily to record our high school marching band from directly above to assist with formations. There are just SO MANY makes and models, I end up overwhelmed and lost in details from one to another. I’m hoping to stay around $400.

Hey there,

This is my favorite question ever, and not because I know exactly what to recommend to you! I was in orchestra in high school (I played the viola) so I can appreciate the marching band too.

How cool! An aerial video of the formations will definitely help out your students — and you. What an excellent use case for a drone.

I recommend you get the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. At $499, it’s a bit over your budget, but it’s totally worth it. It’s also currently on sale on Amazon for just $439!

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is definitely my favorite drone for under $500. (DJI already has a Phantom 4 drone, so you’re essentially getting last year’s model at a discount.)

GPS assisted flight means the drone can hover in its place for a flight time of up to 25 minutes. (However, just because the drone can hover, I always recommend someone has their hand on the controls just in case). Continue reading What is the best drone to film my marching band?

This might be the tiniest camera drone you can buy

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a 10% off special offer!

Looking for an ultra-miniature FPV drone?

The Skeye Nano 2 FPV drone, made by TRND Labs, weighs about a half an ounce and is just slightly larger than a paperclip. It’s fun to fly, but the neatest thing about it is that it also records video and live streams  it via Wifi to your phone so you can get a first person view of what the drone’s camera is seeing.

At $129, the Skeye Nano 2 FPV is an awesome solution for someone who wants a super tiny drone that shoots video but won’t burn a hole in your wallet.skeye nano 2 fpv review

Inside the box:

  • A charger (which charges through your computer; battery life is about 10 minutes)
  • The controller (which requires AAA batteries, not included)
  • A set of replacement blades
  • A crash cage (definitely use this to protect your blades!)

Continue reading This might be the tiniest camera drone you can buy