Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Best of 2014 Aerial Videography Gear Guide


A General Guide for Aerial Photo/Video Gear Currently Available

By Jeff Foster | December 10, 2014

2014 has been an amazing year for aerial/drone photography and video, and I’ve compiled a list of great products that will appeal to fliers and shooters for all levels!

The aerial photography/videography industry has literally taken off this year and so many enhancements, improvements, options and developments in sUAVs and personal drones. We’ve seen advancements in 3-axis gimbal technology, providing smoother aerial videos; new craft designs that allow more control and flexibility in getting those “impossible” shots; improved camera options like the GoPro HERO4 Black, theBlackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera and the Panasonic Lumix GH4 DSLR, and many more choices and options for all levels of fliers/shooters.

I’m asked almost daily in my blog or social media communities, as to what would be the best craft to start with or for a specific need. That’s really a loaded question, usually, because it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how much time/money you can afford to put into it – and if you’re looking to start shooting commercial productions right away. So I’m compiling a list of products here and how they can be used for various purposes. If you really want to analyze as to what kind of UAV/Drone you might need, check out this online guide with charts from the DIY Drones forums. It’s not completely up to date but it will help get you in the ballpark on the different airframes/vendors out there.

I’ve decided to separate this guide into several “classes” – from the smaller “toy” class (perfect for learning to fly with) to the builder/maker class of small UAVs, to the RTF (Ready To Fly) Quadcopters all the way up to the heavy-lifter hexes, octos and X8s. And since I’m only interested in presenting you with options that you can shoot video and/or photos with and/or have FPV (First Person View) capabilities for training or shooting, I’ll only be listing the best choices in each category covered here. Another emerging class that I’ll cover in another article altogether is the FPV “sport” or “racing” class – primarily of DIYers and Makers that fly mini quads with FPV goggles, lightnign fast in challenging courses; and are a lot of fun to fly, but not practical for inclusion in this year’s aerial video gear guide.

And obviously I can’t include EVERY airframe manufacturer on the market today, so this is just my opinion of some of the most popular currently available; there are a LOT of new UAVs in development and production, through Crowdfunding campaigns and small manufacturer prototypes out there. This list is growing every month, but as of Dec, 2014 this is my current go-to list for the most popular kits out there. Sorry if I don’t list your favorite brand – if they make it thorugh the next year unscathed, I’m sure they’ll be added to the 2015 list.



One Response to “Best of 2014 Aerial Videography Gear Guide”
  1. John Gore says:

    Great comparison. Of course its hard to include every product, so many new and older established brands, but I would have expected the Freefly products to be this list. These are the systems that were first to fly 5D / RED years ago, and were first to have many features such as follow me, etc, and offer a higher level product than DJI top line. For example, a movi gimbal can take a gh4 with various lenses, where a zenmuse is restricted to only 2/3 lenses which is very restrictive for pro use. When the operators needs to change camera, having a gimbal that is not camera specific makes for a better setup for pro shoot.

    Disclaimer: We happily use a wide range of products for pro use, in the end just tools for the job. Do not intend to promote one product over another, just to be inclusive when comparing.

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