How it Feels to Fly and Film with a Drone (Video)

Today I spent most of the day filming various popular locations in the city of brotherly love: Philadelphia. Whereas I usually would take my camera and tripod or shoulder mount to film these locations, today I took to the air. No, I did not have a helicopter, or an airplane, or expensive cranes. I had a drone. The DJI Phantom 3 professional drone to be exact, which includes an ultra powerful 4K camera and a built-in gimbal.

My video that you can see here (or below) shows you exactly the capability of this drone. What used to cost thousands upon thousands of dollars for filmmakers in Hollywood or independent studios, now can cost you just $1259. Not only that, but if you are like me and grew up playing video games, and more recently Microsoft’s Xbox game console, then controlling one of these drones is practically the same thing…albeit a tad more difficult.

One of the bonuses about flying a DJI drone is the “pilot” app that it comes with, which makes film-making even easier. In the app, you get lots of features such as choosing between file formats of MP4 or MOV, choosing your resolution between 4K, 1080p, and a few others, different frame rates, ISO, white balance, and a plethora of other film-making features. The remote controller and the app both have a “return to home” button that you can push if you need the drone to just come back to where it took off from. That feature is very convenient, especially if you are not sure where the drone is or the battery is low.

One thing that I didn’t expect was how many people would walk up to me in awe. One woman and her husband who were pushing a twin baby stroller with two babies said, “Look honey, there’s that guy with the drone.” All of a sudden I became the “guy with the drone”. That felt pretty awesome. I felt like I was a man from the future. When I was a kid, I only dreamed of being able to fly in some sort of personal copter, jet-pack or flying car. I guess a drone will have to do for now.

Since I can preview the video live on my iPhone while flying, it’s as if I’m flying through the air. It’s unnerving, thrilling, and almost unrealistic all at once. I can finally take my imagination and apply it to my film-making. There are no more limits, barriers, or a need for a substantial amount of money to get that amazing shot of the top of a building. I feel free, like a superhero who can fly. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Yeah I can do that too, Superman.

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