Camera drones have made it possible for nearly anyone to capture stunning aerial footage. Manufacturers are continuously pushing the boundaries of what camera drones are capable of, and with each release, have come out with a slew of cool new features.
Let’s pick a cool feature and write an article about it. Let’s focus on the features that let camera drones follow you and frame scenes in new and intuitive, creative ways.
Smart drones often include features like TapFly, Point of Interest, and Follow Me. TapFly allows you to tap a point on your mobile device’s screen, commanding your drone to fly smoothly in that direction. Point of Interest allows you to select a subject, and then the drone circles it automatically, recording stunning photos and videos. With Follow Me, the aircraft automatically tracks you while filming or taking photos.
All of these features give you the freedom to be as natural and present with your activities as you possibly can. Simply let the drone do its thing by capturing you from the most magical of aerial perspectives. Even if you or your subject are skiing downhill, surfing waves, or riding bikes, with smart drones, you have the potential to focus on creative recording elements as your drone follows you in unique aerial ways.
That said, there are enough drones out there that shoot low-quality footage and are difficult to control. Also, they may not have the capability to avoid obstacles in environments with trees or power lines.
Hence it is necessary to understand the complexity and spectrum of features available in your drone before investing in one.
For example, the first iteration of the mode Follow Me was pretty basic and came with DJI’s Phantom 3 series. It used a Ground Station Controller with Follow Me GPS transmitter technology. However, this wasn’t as stable or precise as newer generations of drones and you kind of had to use these drones in wide open spaces.
The latest generation of DJI drones (Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro, and Inspire 2) offer a more intelligent version of the Follow Me mode, which is better known as ActiveTrack. An advanced image recognition algorithm allows the drone to recognize and track objects ranging from people to vehicles and pets, all while keeping them in the frame. The drone even adjusts its flight dynamics based on the scenario for smoother shots.
Even more impressive, however, are the new QuickShot modes featured in DJI’s latest camera drone, Spark. Shots that previously required a fair amount of practice to master are now possible with a simple tap on your mobile device. QuickShot modes include Rocket — where the drone ascends with the camera pointed downward; Dronie — where the drone flies backward and upward while the camera remains locked on the subject; Helix — where the drone flies upward, spiraling around your subject; and Circle — where the drone circles you or your subject.
With smart capabilities like these, camera drones are truly the smartest eyes in the sky!
Let’s take a look at the key specs of some DJI camera drones that follow you automatically:
- Palm-sized and launches from your palm
- Up to 16 minutes of flight time
- Maximum speed of 50 kph
- PalmControl and gesture control
- Capable of 1080p video and 12 MP photos
- 2 km 720p video transmission
- ActiveTrack, QuickShot, TapFly
Suitable for: Beginners, novice flyers, vloggers, families, and more
Learn more about Spark
- Light, small and foldable design
- Up to 27 minutes of flight time
- Capable of 4K video and 12MP photos
- 3-axis stabilized gimbal
- 7km control range
- Forward and downward obstacle detection
- ActiveTrack, TapFly, Terrain Follow, Gesture Mode and more
Suitable for: Enthusiasts, beginners and travelers
Learn more about DJI Mavic Pro
- Up to 30 minutes of flight time
- 24mm lens, 1-inch sensor camera, 20MP Raw and JPG images and 60fps 4K video
- 5-direction of obstacle sensing and 4-direction of obstacle avoidance
- 7km control range
- Draw, ActiveTrack, Tapfly, Return to Home, Gesture Mode and more
Suitable for: Enthusiasts and professional photographers
Learn more about DJI Phantom 4 Pro
- Up to 25-27 minutes of flight time
- Compatible with multiple cameras
- An all new image processing system that records at up to 5.2K in CinemaDNG RAW, Apple ProRes and more
- An upgraded video transmission system capable of dual signal frequency and dual channel transmission
- 7km control range
- Dual battery system and self-heating technology
- 2 directions of obstacle avoidance
- QuickSpin, Tapfly, ActiveTrack modes, Smart Return to Home and more
Suitable for: Professional cinematographers and filmmakers
Learn more about DJI Inspire 2