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Best Drone for Filming: The Future of High-Quality Cinematography

Best Drone for Filming
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Are you ready to make stunning videos by flying a drone? Today, the quality of drone videography is far beyond what most people can imagine. If you already have a background in filmmaking, then a drone equipped with an HD camera is going to be a great novelty to add to your existing filming arsenal. It is ideal for professional filmmakers, but also for everyone else who wants to get into a new hobby.

Drones are an excellent tool for filming and taking video. Aside from their technical capabilities and the quality of the video, they simply offer a unique take on filmography that you can’t find anywhere else. Drones are capable of reaching places that people can’t reach on their own. Your next project could probably greatly benefit from a new perspective, and a drone can offer a perspective that can’t be found anywhere else!

There is a wide range of models on the market. This article will help you decide what is the best drone for filming. This is a great thing to know before purchasing your next piece of equipment.

Drone for professionals 4K filming

Many of today’s drones come with GPS stabilization and a built-in camera so that they are quite easy to control and don’t require too many special skills. When buying a drone for this purpose, your budget will roughly balance against the quality of your videos. Professional drones allow you to add various digital video accessories and make high-quality films, but they are quite expensive. The quality of video and the features you get will depend on how much you are willing to pay.

Top 5 drones for aerial filming

Based on the drone features and customers’ reviews, we have put together a list of the top 5 best drones for aerial filming. The order is not important, as the best drone for you will largely depend on your personal preferences anyways.

#1: DJI Inspire 1 v2.0 Quadcopter 4K Video

This is a ready-to-fly drone that is designed to fly wherever and whenever you need to record an event. It is ideal for making an aerial film, and if you want to enjoy a live 720p HD view, all you need to do is to add an appropriate mobile device (e.g. a smartphone or tablet) and install the required app.

Inspire 4K has a smooth, lightweight, and aerodynamic body. The device also includes a flight controller, 3-axis gimbal, 4K camera, powerful motors, and large props. This flexible and stable quadcopter allows for dual control and has a good amount of maneuverability while flying.

DJI Inspire-1 T600 review

This is a professional level camera quadcopter, which can provide a very stable platform for the high-quality aerial films. This is also due to its great flight capabilities and an advanced Optical Flow system. It comes with a built-in camera, which is capable of recording the 4K films at 24 to 30fps, or 24 to 60 fps at 1080p.

Even better, it is also capable of rotating 360 degrees, which means you will be able to record the surroundings independently of the drone’s flight path. Aside from the videos, you can also use this drone to capture 12-megapixel drone photos. By the way, the gimbal system and camera are detachable if you simply want to have some fun and fly a drone!

To fly, it requires a Lithium Metal battery. Thanks to the latest Lightbridge technology, it can transmit videos and photos at a distance of 2km. A smart management system for the battery life notifies you at any moment how long your drone can stay in the air. Maximum flying height is about 1600 feet while the flight time is from 15 to 20 minutes. Product dimensions are 17 x 17 x 12 inches, and it weighs roughly 6.5 pounds.

If you want to find out much more about this amazing model, check out our DJI Inspire 1 in-depth review. This is a review for the old model of this drone, but they share many of the same features.

If you interested you can check its price here.

#2: DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter – For 4K ultra HD films

Amongst others, this ingenious DJI drone features many functions, such as an improved obstacle/collision avoidance system as well as automatic subject tracking. Also, it comes with a 4K camera, Lightbridge video transmission, better optics, and a brand new intelligent battery. All these make this quadcopter perfect for the aerial filming.

DJI Phantom 4 has the typical design of many DJI quadcopters, with aerodynamic lines which make it elegant while flying. Its frame is very lightweight, but it doesn’t reduce the stability of this drone. There is a lot of great features, including an Obstacle Sensing system, a Tap to Fly feature, Active Track system for automatic tracking of objects, Multiple Flight modes (e.g. Sport, Return To Home and Vision Position mode), and an advanced GPS technology. As for the camera, it can capture 4K HD videos at 30fps as well as the 12.0MP (4000 x 3000) photos. It is truly packed with features to help you take the best video you can!

Phantom 4

There is also an HD 1080p slow motion option at 120fps, which is very useful for adding special effects to your filming. Moreover, it comes with video editor software, allowing you to add text, music, and other things to your videos. No doubt, this is one of the best drones for the aerial cinematographer of today!

The item’s weight is only 8.8 pounds whilst the size is 15 x 8.7 x 12.8 inches. As you might assume, this aircraft requires one Lithium Polymer battery to work. The flight time is 28 minutes with a fully charged battery, and the maximum speed is 20 m/s (72 km/h). Control range is up to 5km. For a better insight in what this model has to offer, we suggest checking out our DJI Phantom 4 detailed review.

If you interested you can check the current deal for it on Amazon.

#3: DJI Mavic 2

Here’s another great DJI drone that is ideal for any professional aerial cinematographers and photographers. This is an excellent drone that has all the features you would need for excellent filmography and photography. It has a built in Hasselbad L1D-20c camera and a 3-axis gimbal. This will show you live video of the drone footage while you are taking 4K video. The video quality is further improved through H.265 compression, which allows a higher bitrate.

Additionally, the Mavic 2 includes the ActiveTrack 2.0 system for intelligent tracking of your video subjects. ActiveTrack 2.0 maps out a 3D view of the environment and even predicts an object’s trajectory to continue tracking it while it is out of view. It is able to track objects even at very high speed (such as race cars), and senses the environment to avoid obstacles.

This is truly an intuitive drone for filming, allowing you to take very high quality videos, on your own or with the assistance ActiveTrack 2.0. It has all the features you would need to shoot extremely high quality aerial footage.

All these features come at a higher price point, but it may be worth it to you if you are looking for the one of the best machines on the market for drone videography.

If you interested you can buy it on Amazon.

 

#4: 3DR SOLO Drone Quadcopter – Designed For The 4k Action Cameras

The 3DR Solo is surely one of the best-rated quadcopters for filming that you can buy these days in the marketplace. This amazing drone does not contain a built-in camera, which gives you the freedom to connect an action camera according your personal camera preferences.

The Solo’s gimbal supports 4k action cameras, such as GoPro and other similar cameras. However, when the 8K action cameras hit the market, this drone will also be able to carry them and you will not have to upgrade it. This means the 3DR Solo will be popular for many years. Actually, it’s considered to be highly expandable and almost unlimited when it comes to the upgrades.

It is the first intelligent drone with its own ‘brain’. This smart drone is powered by twin computers (integrated Linux computers, each one of 1 GHz), and it offers a lot of advanced features, such as computer-assisted Smart Shots and pushbutton flight amongst others. In addition, it includes other new technologies related to both support and safety features. To find out more about what this model has to offer, read our 3DR Solo review.

3DR Solo Drone

This all-in-one aircraft comes with a wireless HD video streaming, so you can connect its GoPro directly to your mobile device (iOS or Android), and enjoy a vivid live streaming at a distance of up to half a mile from the drone. Video latency is about 180 minutes. All of this makes it ideal for filming, but anyone can use it to get the professional aerial videos.

Flight time is quite good, up to 25 minutes, which is better than most of today’s drones. The overall item weight is 8 pounds – with camera and gimbal. As far as the size, the 3DR Solo quadcopter has dimensions of 18.4 x 16 x 14.1 inches.

Like this great product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.

#5: Walkera Vitus 320 5.8G FPV Quadcopter

The Walkera Vitus 320 is a great drone for video recording. It has a built-in 3-axis gimbal camera, and can shoot stable 4K high-definition video. It supports 1080 FPV for up to 1.5 km. It also includes infrared capabilities and optical sensors, to further enhance the quality of your drone videography.

This professional drone also features a 2 GPS multi axis flight platform, a 5.86G FPV transmitting system, a professional radio with 10 channels, powerful brushless motors, and retractable landing skids.

This drone also includes tracking capabilities to follow your subjects. Coupled with 3-directional avoidance for objects up to 8m away, this is a great drone for getting tracking shots without having to worry about the potential of crashes that might harm your drone.

One of the main draws of this drone is its portability. Its design allows for the arms to be folded in so the drone becomes very compact. So if you want to pack a drone into your backpack and get footage throughout the day, this could be the drone for you!

 

Like this product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.

Sum-Up

These drones are all excellent options for aerial videographers. However, the ideal drone for you depends on your personal preferences and needs. So take the time to do your research before you buy. Decide what type of videos you need to make, and survey the options. You will be happy you did!

Why there are drones for filming on the market?

Nowadays, drones are more than just great devices that can be used for many different applications. The latest models are modern, well-made and they have amazing features that make them more than useful for certain people.

The drones we mentioned above are specially designed for filming, so they are a bit different than ordinary drones. Keep in mind that these units are designed for professional applications, so they are more than just great if you are going to need an amazing camera and amazing flying capabilities.

Drone filming

In any case, these videography/photography drones are built with the latest technology and they are treated as some of the most advanced drones on the market. However, this also means that they come at a price, so don’t go into this purchase thinking you are going to get a great deal! If you are budget conscious, you will risk the possibility of ending up with a bad or non-professional drone.

Here are a few basic differences between drones designed for filming and drones designed for hobbyists:

  • Ordinary drones are designed for multiple applications, while drones for filming are designed for a specific application, so they have direct and different features based on the primary purpose.
  • Drones for filming have the best cameras on the market and they offer the best level of recording, simply due to the fact this is their main feature. Keep in mind that recording with a drone of this type will offer the best results and the videos will be excellent when played on a TV, smartphone or a computer. Most of these drones come with 4K cameras, so they are the best choice, simply because they offer the best quality of recordings.
  • Drones for filming also have longer flying time than ordinary drones. This is due to the fact this is mandatory for filmmaking and filming, simply because it a drone needs stays in the air for a longer period of time to get all the footage. There is no specific flight time, but in general, drones that offer more than 25 minutes of flying time are a great choice and they should be taken into consideration when purchasing.
  • Drones that are made for filming are made from lightweight but durable materials. This way, they can be used for rough applications and they can withstand rough landings and minor damages. At the same time, this feature allows them to stay in the air for a longer time and they can fly when weather conditions are not very good. This is mandatory due to the fact that it allows you to record videos when the weather is bad, or in rough situations.

Who should use these drones and for what purpose?

Keep in mind that these drones are designed for professionals, so they are treated as professional units. There is no point of buying a drone of this type if it is going to be used for ordinary applications, simply because they are expensive. The price cannot be generalized, but most of these units generally cost more than $400. So if you are thinking of making this investment, make sure it is what you really want. There are plenty of types of drones available, and you need to make sure you are committed to videography to make this purchase decision.

Therefore, these drones are the perfect choice if you are a real fan of aerial photography and you like taking amazing photos and videos from the air. In this case, these units are the best and the only choice, due to the fact they have been developed especially for this application.

Drone for 4K filming

If you are a professional filmmaker, these drones are still the best choice and they should be taken into account. They can be used for making amazing videos and recordings no matter where and when you are using them. In any case, this type of drone is a great choice, simply due to the fact that your videos are going to have the highest level of quality and they are going to be the best.

On the other side, using ordinary drones for photography and videography isn’t a great choice. You will end up with videos and photos that have a bad quality, so the end result will likely be disappointing. This bad quality is due to the fact that ordinary drones typically have a hard time remaining stable and smooth in their flight when you attach a camera that is not meant to be there. This stability is imperative to high quality photos and videos, and it is not something you would want to sacrifice.

The bottom line is simple, drones for filming should be used by people who are looking for advanced technology that is designed and made especially for filming from the air. By choosing a product of this type, you get the best way to make amazing videos that can be used for multiple applications. Keep in mind that these are expensive products and they come with advanced features, so you are going to need a high budget and a high level of experience to get the most out of your purchase.

Buying guide: important features to consider

When it comes to drones for filming, there are some features that are more important than the others and they should be taken into account. If you are looking for a drone of this type, it is important that you consider all of these factors. In general, the most important features are as follows:

Camera

Keep in mind that these drones are designed for filming, so the most important component is the camera. Look for drones that come with 4K cameras, due to the fact they offer the highest level of quality and your videos are going to look the best. These cameras will take high quality photos and video no matter how professional you want your work to look.

Drone carrying 4K camera

Older drones have cameras with a lower resolution, so they are not a great choice if you are looking for perfection., On the other side, 4K cameras can record in an amazing quality, so all the videos are going to look amazing on any of your devices.

Flying Time

This factor is equally important simply because it defines the time your drone can stay in the air, which means that you will be able to record for a longer period of time. This is important simply because you will be able to make longer and better videos and you will be able to correct videos that are not perfect.

Nothing is worse than getting all set up to shoot a video and running out of batteries! As an additional tip, having spare drone batteries is always a good idea.

The best time you can get is usually about 30 minutes, but some of the latest drones may offer a longer flying time, so they should be taken into account as well.

The Materials

The materials that have been used in the manufacturing process are important as well, simply because they can make a drone more durable and more resistant to damages and similar issues. As the end result, you will get a drone that can be used in different situations, and it will still offer the best quality of videos.

Drone for 4K filming in harsh enviroment

The latest products are made from lightweight materials, so they can withstand amazing crashes and can be used in different situations. The units that have components made from carbon fiber are the best choice, simply due to the fact this material is very resistant, lightweight, and durable.

Flying Capabilities

In the case of drones for filming, flying capabilities are more important than in other cases. You need a drone that offers a high level of maneuverability and can be used in different situations. For example, you will have to be able to use your device when the weather is bad, or when the flying conditions are problematic.

Many drones also offer auto-tracking features and collision detection. This is great, as the drone can maneuver itself while tracking your subject, and you don’t have to worry about any crashes!

By getting a drone that can be used in any situation, you will be able to record videos in all situations, which is mandatory for filming in many cases, depending on your needs.

Controller

The controller is probably one of the most important components of every drone, but it is something that most people don’t pay attention to. In this case, it is more important than ever, simply because your drone must be able to offer amazing and simple controls in order to make amazing videos.

Drone 4K with controller

Complicated devices are not a great choice, simply due to the fact that you may become overwhelmed with the actual controlling of the drone, so your videos may be problematic as a result.

Live Streaming

Once again, this feature is more than just important. Live streaming allows you to get the best quality of the videos, simply because you will be able to see exactly what are you recording as you are recording it. The end result will be a video that you are able to have direct control over, so you will get the best level of quality and you will be more than satisfied with the videos you make.

As a bonus,  most drones of this type offer this feature as a standard.

Which Model Should I Buy?

As aforementioned, there are a lot of different models of drone that are great for videography, so choosing the best one is complicated. Luckily, we have created a list of pros and cons that are very important in making your decision. The key is to get a drone that has a lot of benefits, or pros, and very little cons, or drawbacks. Of course, this will very much depend on your personal preferences.

Drone in action

By considering all the pros and cons, you will get the best drone for your own needs. Therefore, you will enjoy the ability to make professional videos and have a drone with amazing flying capabilities.

Pros:

  • These drones are based on the latest technology
  • They have amazing cameras
  • The flying time is longer than with other drones
  • Drones designed for filming are easy to fly and they offer interesting controls
  • Live streaming is better than with other drones
  • Maneuverability is a lot better when compared to other drones
  • The materials used in the manufacturing process are the best and the strongest

Cons:

  • The price of these drones is very high, mainly over $ 1,000.
  • Some models still have short flying time and a very high weight
  • They are complicated to use, so you are going to need a great level of experience

Conclusion

The bottom line when it comes to drones designed for filming is that they are a great choice if you are looking for the best way to record aerial videos from the sky. That is why many drone hobbyists around the world adore them.

At the same time, these UAVs are often used by professional filmmakers for adding special effects and for movie scenes with fresh perspectives. In the future, these drones are likely going to play a major role in even more films!

About the author

Jack Brown

Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.