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Igor Trajkovski

Usage of drones with build in camera for high budget movies

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To me the online footage i see from various DJI's looks amazingly good,
so i wonder are they used for big feature films or
you NEED an Octacopter with Alexa/Red/Whatever with big sensor thing... :)
(production won't permit using "toys" for their movie)

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as far as I know the DJI Inspire2 with X7 camera and either RAW or Prores recording would be pretty much the only option at the moment if you don't want to use bigger drone and separate gimbal and separate Red/Alexa camera.

 

most smaller drones have bad recording codecs, even if the camera would be ok those about 100Mbps codecs are not usable for cinema release in most cases and they restrict subject matter and camera moves too much

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The DJI P4P is a big leap forward as the first Phantom with a 1" sensor.

But if you're shooting a multi million dollar movie then there is plenty of budget spare to shoot with something better!


However for a sub $1mil movie? Go for it, use a P4P! Especially if it is only a very small number of shots. Yet still, see if you can source an Inspire owner if you can instead at a good rate.

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The BMD Micro does an even better job! Being smaller, and has 60fps slomo (popular with drone shots), and it has a remote control port too which is very handy

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by my drone material experience, one really needs the prores or raw option. the h264 /h265 is simply not good enough quality even if the camera itself is very high quality.

 

the BMD micro and pocket would otherwise be ok but would need separate gimbal and possibly remote focus depending on the shot and also video link.

And they are HD cameras which COULD be used for high budget but is not ideal for bigger movies.

 

DJI's products are a bit unreliable at times but the Inspire2+X7+raw combo is otherwise very good even for bigger budget for replacing some of the shots which would otherwise have been made with at least Red Scarlet level cameras.

We used one on the nature adventure film shot last Autumn and Spring and are now beginning shooting a nature doc with similar setup for 4k cinema release.

It is not that cheap system but it is so much easier to use than bigger drones and so much higher image quality than any smaller system that it makes lots of sense for us, especially because there will be lots of landscape shots where you need every sharpness and dynamic range you can get and the logistics is quite challenging at least

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I did a drone shot for the first time last month, used a drone that took a Red camera but someone on the crew who had the Inspire 2 showed me his demo reel and I thought his footage looked great in terms of being able to cut into a project shot on an Alexa. That's the thing I'm always worried about, dynamic range, because aerial footage often contains hot clouds, sun reflections, etc. and I hate the clipped-look that the cheaper small cameras have.

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