Elizabeth Ciobanu has put together a great blog post on the use and first impressions of the DJI Inspire by filmmaker Gary Yost. It gives an overview and insight of someone new to the drone technology and how they use the system, its strengths, and short comings in their film making.
What are the benefits of using a drone as opposed to a helicopter?
Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. First, and foremost… You can choose your weather conditions! Scheduling heli time always happens in advance, and if the weather isn’t right you’re pretty much stuck with what you get. Most of my work involves shooting weather that’s dramatic and you’ll see that used to great effect in the Chalk Mountain piece. Helicopters are very flight-limited in foggy/cloudy weather and we could only shoot on bright, sunny (boring) days. Being able to fly in moody weather is a huge benefit! Of course cost is another major benefit, and finally adaptability. With a drone you can slow way down, relax and think carefully about what you’re doing. Footage can be played back in the field, and shots can be attempted over and over until you’re confident that you have what you need. With a helicopter, good luck (unless you have unlimited budget).
What type of camera are you using with your drone?
The Inspire 1 uses the same Sony Exmoor sensor that’s in the GoPro Hero4, which is reasonable enough to get started with but there are issues (which is normal for a first release of a new tech). The 60Mbps data rate is too low for 4K, exhibiting more compression artifacts than I’d like to see. The sharpening algorithm DJI is using now is too heavy-handed at the default value of 0, but way too soft at -1. The craft ships with a moderate (about 2-stops) ND filter, but that’s nowhere near enough to keep the shutter speeds to 180-degrees, usually optimally at 1/50-1/100th of a second. This makes rolling shutter artifacts much worse than they should be, but thankfully the gimbal does such a great job that this has only been a nuisance.