Danny-Macaskill-The-Innaccessible-Pinnacle-Drone-Shot

The popular Danny Macaskill video The Ridge was shot partly by using a drone and GoPro point of view video camera. POV cameras drastically changed the way cycling videos look, as there is now an entire new world of content being put into these, enriching the experience and allowing many more people to make productions of their rides.

Drones, especially with cameras attached, are poised to become the next major trend in the shooting of action sports videos. The cost of these devices has come down drastically in recent years, and new technologies are making it so they can be flown by a single person, some of them even with a simple smart phone, and some will even fly themselves. GoPro agrees, as the Wall Street Journal has reported that they are working on their own drone devices.

Take a look inside at two new drone devices that strive to fit into your gear cache right next to your POV camera…

ZANO would be the prime example of where drone tech could be going. It is extremely small, and can be flown by smart phone, or programmed to track you and follow. ZANO operates on a wireless tether connected to your smart device. It can be flown by tilting your phone or tablet left or right, forward or backward and the device will follow. Slide bars on the app control rotation and altitude, but the drone will hold its position unless instructed otherwise.

“When we began work on ZANO, our goal was to make aerial photography and video capture truly accessible to everyone. This meant making ZANO small and lightweight, yet durable enough to take with you anywhere. Intelligent enough so no piloting skills were required, and most of all, pricing ZANO at a point that makes it affordable.” Reece Crowther, Head of Marketing

Mini-Drone

The best feature for cyclists is the “Follow me” capability of the drone. Once you set ZANO’s hold position, it will register the distance it is from your smart device, then you can choose “Follow Me” and it will instruct the drone to constantly maintain that distance from your smart device and follow you , as well as avoid obstacles in its path.

“Right out of the box you can begin capturing and sharing stunning aerial photographs and videos, with absolutely no complex flight training required.” – Ivan Reedman, Head of Research and Development.
A plethora of sensors work seamlessly together to allow ZANO to avoid obstacles, hold its position and know exactly where it is in conjunction with your smart device, at all times.

FEATURES:

  • Revolutionary Intelligent Flight and Autonomous Operation, complete with Obstacle Avoidance
  • Lightweight and Durable.
  • Instant image and video sharing capability to social networks.
  • Digital Image Stabilisation – For clear and precise image and video capture.
  • Safe – Failsafe software features ensures ZANO will always return to your mobile device if it feels its strayed too far, is losing signal or is running low on battery.
  • Free Flight Mode – Have complete control of ZANO with on screen Joy-Sticks, while still capturing and sharing photos and videos.

Find the Zano on Kickstarter for £149 where it has already lifted off and exceeded 1200%+ of its funding goal.

The AirDog is the Cadillac of the models, and is a bit higher priced at $1499, and requires an additional GoPro for use. However, with up to 20 minutes of flight time, and a gimbal mount that always keeps the camera on you, the higher price may be warranted for the creation of better videos.

Drone

FEATURES:

  • AUTO-FOLLOW FUNCTION – Constantly controlling a drone manually is difficult, and stressful. AirLeash technology acts as an invisible leash in the air, smoothly gliding your AirDog along with you, whenever you’re on the move.
  • EASY TO OPERATE – The AirDog is “set it and forget it”. Simply get it up in the air, and the AirDog does the rest for you… letting you focus on the action. Strap the AirLeash to your hand, and the AirDog intelligently operates itself!
  • STABILIZED VIDEO – Wind and other factors have caused shaky, unreliable video from camera drones in the past. The AirDog is equipped with a special gyroscope stabilized gimbal, meaning your video comes out smooth, every time.
  • FOLDABLE BODY & PROPS – The AirDog’s design allows it to fold up tight, making traveling with it a breeze, while also making it nice and easy to store. This also protects the small parts from getting damaged, which means traveling with the AirDog, is a much safer experience.
  • STAY FRONT & CENTER – The AirDog has camera pitch control, so you’re always in the center of the shot, automatically. This ensures that the action’s always focused, no matter what’s going on around you.
  • GOPRO READY – AirDog comes fully ready to use with a GoPro Action camera attachment. The attachment also comes with a waterproof case, for easy, safe transportation, wherever you go.

www.airdog.com

Check out this cool user-submitted video shot via drone of a bike trail in Iowa that lights up at night. Being able to achieve multiple angles for video, as well as remotely control them mean that higher-quality videos that required a production team and helicopters can now be theoretically produced by a single person, the rider themselves.

As the point of view camera market begins to plateau, look forward to seeing the cost and capability of these little devices come down, just as the cameras did. More than just the tech themselves though, look for the content and quality of cycling videos to improve in the coming few years just as it did with the advent of GoPro.

And speaking of GoPro, rumor has it they’re working on their own drone, too.

What do you think? Will these drones become the next must-have accessory for action sports filming? Let us know in the comments.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Hexoplus, another vaporware product, 200x their goal on kickstarter and already three months late. Just going to show a demo at CES.

    I have several drones (this is not the term that should be used, they are UAV’s) and a couple of RC Helis. There is no plug and play here, it takes skill and a lot of practice to fly these. I do not fly with anyone that is a noob unless its at a flying field. Just wait for the first serious injury of UAV vs. Cyclist. Not if, only when!

    Zano had to build in the follow me style of flying, because they are using a smartphone for control. Not anything I would trust with regard to range. There is no set and forget unless they have a pretty powerful FC in there, as any loss of control could be disastrous.

    Airdog with a better tracking system has more promise, but the negative comments in their Kickstarter highlight doubt in their business model or ability to deliver.

    I am not a big DJI fan but their business model works and they are a very robust company, not one mention of them in this article.

  2. The hubsan x4 H107L will give you a taste of what’s coming for very little cash. Fun to play with, develop skills, obsess over…

  3. @Drew Yes I meant 26x.
    @David R. The Hubsan is a great little mini quad, but don’t expect to carry any payload with it. Certainly not a GoPro or Sony Action Cam. You can learn some basic techniques, but smooth flying for video use will require a heavier and more powerful multi-rotor, especially in less than ideal outdoor environments.
    @BikeRumor, I am glad you guys know how to cut and paste, now report on something you actually use, rather than the marketing drivel on these Kickstarter pages.

  4. Please call those things multicopters not drones. Saying those are drones is sorta like saying all single speed bikes are fixed geared.

  5. The biggest issue in my mind is a very practical one: if these things only allow for about 20 minutes of flight time, what do you do with the thing for the remainder of the ride? I certainly don’t want to spend 3 hours out with a $1500 device strapped to the outside of my camelback, and I’m not so vain that I’m going to cut my ride down to 20 minutes just so I can video myself.

  6. Multiple batteries will take care of extending range, but having a quadcopter following you for a 3 hour ride isn’t really practical either.

  7. I dont want some self absorbed persons drone crashing into my eye on a gusty day!! I can see it now a flock of these things blotting out the summers sun on a nice trail.

  8. @Ilikeicedtea, Multiple batteries is not the solution either. I have a UAV with a 3-axis gimbal capable of flying with a GoPro and it requires 2 batteries at one time just to get 30 minutes. Two additional batteries would add about 1600 grams of weight to what I am already carrying. Not to mention the RC transmitter and its weight. These kinds of things are more practical for people that have a support crew and on closed circuits. That is one reason you see so many videos of people mountain biking. The pro stuff that people like Danny Macaskill shoot, requires many takes and it isn’t one continuous ride. Much easier to film that.

    Another limiting factor is the Camera itself, Battery life shooting high bitrate 1080p, 2.7k or 4k video requires lots of battery power and memory storage.

    Then one more issue is post processing. There is nothing more boring than watching 3 hours of cycling from the same perspective. People want F1 / Nascar type of coverage with multiple camera angles and condensed action. Watching most amateur race videos is worse than watching your grandparents movies of that cruise they took years ago.

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