Getting cinema-quality footage using a DIY micro drone and a GoPro

Getting cinema-quality footage using a DIY micro drone and a GoPro

Out of all the courses we run, no tech is so fast changing at the moment as drone racing (OK, maybe 3D Printing is pretty close …) Every year when we review our drones, there are major steps up in what capabilities you can shove into a tiny drone.  Now a drone that is able to fit into the palm of your hand can capture cinematic-quality footage.

So how is all of this done?  It’s a custom-made drone made by ‘shendrones’.  It uses brushless motors like the ones we’re using in our advanced version of our drone racing course this year.  These give a greater thrust than the smaller ‘brushed’ motors that are typical on lower-cost drones.  To make the thrust go further, he created a ‘ducted’ prop design.  The ducts add a significant amount of thrust on this design (around 20%), which is important when you need to add the extra weight of a GoPro camera.

We wouldn’t recommend this as a DIY for beginners – he is a true expert, and uses techniques like shaving down the props to fit in the ducts with just a millimetre of clearance, but the results are extraordinary.  Have a look at some of the footage created by this machine below.  The combination of a tiny quad, and stabilised video creates some truly stunning single-shot footage that can produce results no other video technique can match (unless you go CGI!)  A single video can now fly in and out of car windows, ascend atop buildings, and much more.

So will you be seeing cinematic micro drones at our camp in 2019?  Probably not, but it’s feasible to imagine being there in just a year or two at the latest.  The custom-made frame he designed is 3D printed and quite capable of being designed on professional-level 3D design software like the Fusion 360 package that we use for our 3D printing courses with the older campers, so the Tech is certainly there now.  We’ll certainly be looking at what options spring up over the next year for kit versions of this sort of quad, even if just to use ourselves!

To see more about how this drone was created, have a look at Shendrones' blog here.