My FPV Drone Journey

A year and a half ago I was casually scrolling through Instagram, when I saw a drone video diving down the side of a building.  My first thought was, “What the heck was that?!!”  My second thought was, “I have to do this.”

At that point I was already a licensed drone operator with my Part 107 certification and I’d been flying “camera drones” like the DJI Phantom, Inspire 2, and Mavic series, for several years.  But those drones don’t fly like FPV!  For the uninitiated, the meaning of FPV is First Person View, which refers to the FPV drone googles the pilot wears and sees first person from a small camera on the drone.  These drones have evolved from racing drones.  These mostly little, but sometimes big, drones, came from drone racing, which only really took off in 2015 with first Drone National competition.  In more recent years, pilots started to strap action cameras like a GoPro onto these little drones and film some pretty wild flying.  Following cars within inches, flying under around and through everything we can, flips, rolls, and aerial acrobatics, and my personal favorite, diving down skyscrapers.

5 inch FPV drone on table with prop guards and GoPro
FPV drones come in many shapes and sizes. From little trainer drones called tiny whoops, to X class 12-15” monsters and everything in between.  5” is a typical size for a freestyle drone with a GoPro attached, and you can film some very exciting things in 4k with solid stabilization on the GoPro.  The GoPro Hero9 now shoots in 5k! 
In the last couple of years, a new breed has emerged. The Cinelifter.  Cinelifters are very exciting because they offer the ability to fly a small cinema camera like the Black Magic pocket 4k and 6k, the RED Komodo and the ZCam.  Cinelifters are 7-10” mostly and have 8 motors instead of 4 to lift the heavier camera package.  Now we can offer the speed and agility of FPV and the video quality commensurate with serious productions.  
Shendrones Thicc X8 FPV drone with Black Magic pocket 6K camera 12mm lens
FPV is gaining a lot of recognition in car commercials, action movies, music videos, and “fly thrus” like the bowling alley fly thru that went viral.  As an FPV pilot I have learned to fly safely close to moving targets, like cars, through gapes and tight spaces, close to talent (with prop guards!), under over, around and through just about anything you can imagine.  FPV is the hot new kid on the production block and is taking over the drone filming world!
I’m excited to see where we can take this technology.  I want to keep putting cameras in new and different places, in new and imaginative ways.  It’s already possible to waterproof and FPV drone so it can enter the water…but what if we could make it maneuverable under the water as well as in the air?  The ability to seamless transition from flying underwater to flying thru the air?  I’ll be right back, I gotta go put in some hours in the lab 😉
FPV radio Controller 5 inch freestyle drone with GoPro

Happy flying and Happy filming,