Los Angeles Cameraman

DRONES FOR VIDEO

Flying a drone on a production used to be a big production in itself, but times have changed. The drones I use can be set up and airborne in 1-2 minutes, and are flown safely by a single operator. Legally, I’m fully certified by the FAA to fly all commercial jobs, and my flights are ensured for up to $2 million of liability.

Here are the drones I can bring to any production — either as a dedicated drone pilot, or as part of broader camera services…

 

DJI INSPIRE 2

The Inspire 2 is one of the most advanced camera drones available, with an emphasis on cinematic image quality and flexible camera movement. Still, the Inspire 2 is easy to control by a single operator and made almost fool-proof thanks to multiple obstacle avoidance sensors and cameras. While it's not exactly discreet or subtle (8.82 lbs), it's far smaller and more manageable than other high-end drones such as DJI’s Matrice and Freefly’s Alta. 

Highlights

  • Zenmuse X5S imager, 5.2K at RAW up to 60 fps (max 4.2 gbps data rate)
  • 13 stops dynamic range
  • Native ProRes and DNG recording
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Gimbal rotates 360 degrees independent of drone
  • Optional dual controllers for pilot / camera operator split
  • Dedicated forward-facing flight camera for pilot
  • 58 mph top speed (0-50 in 5 secs)
  • Output via HDMI to onset monitors, live video feeds
  • Follow Me, Way Points and other auto modes
 

DJI MAVIC PRO

The Mavic Pro is the smallest professional camera drone in the world (only 1.6 lbs). You can literally fit it in a small backpack or deep, baggy pockets, and unfold its rotor arms for flight in about 30 seconds. That makes it perfect for grabbing shots in a hurry, and without drawing attention. The Mavic’s 4K image quality is very good (similar to DSLR video) and multiple obstacle avoidance sensors/cameras make it very hard to crash.

 Highlights

  • 4K up to 30 fps (max 60 mbps data rate)
  • 10.5 stops dynamic range
  • 30-40 mph top speed (depending on mode)
  • .MOV or MPG files in H.264 codec
  • Gimbal faces forward; tilts but no independent rotation
  • Pilot controls camera
  • Follow Me, Way Points and other auto modes
 

COMM RADIOS

I use a couple of different radios to make flights go as smoothly as possible. I often take along a dedicated VHF flight radio for talking to nearby planes, helicopters or airport towers. 

I can also bring up to 6 Motorola CP200D UHF walkie-talkies to distribute among crew members and performers, which makes coordinating action a lot easier.