With commercial photography drones already creating a buzz as the hottest Christmas gift item this season, UAVs are poised to change the way we “do” the holidays and Christmas card photography is no exception. Why settle for the standard “Family Waving in Front of a Fir Tree” shot when you can invest in a photography drone to produce a new-and-improved “Our Family Waving in the Middle of a Fir-Tree FOREST” aerial shot. Here are four photography drones to turn your Christmas card photo from Ho-Ho-Hum to Fa-la-la-legendary.
Parrot AR 2.0
The Parrot AR 2.0 is the perfect solution for the beginner drone pilot-photographer and at $299 is also one of the best values for a “ready-to-fly” UAV. The AR offers a free mobile app allowing the user to soar over pristine wintry vistas with a few taps of a smartphone or tablet. If you prefer to upload your Christmas card to YouTube, the AR can live-stream video at 720p resolution to your device and save the footage. And in case your shot includes trees, mistletoe and eight tiny (but hard to herd) reindeer, the AR offers automatic position hold. The AR 2.0 is perfect for getting lower level footage or shots within a range of about 50 meters
Phantom 2 Vision +
For those who want to invest a little more jingle into your Xmas card vision, the Phantom 2 Vision + flies at a higher price of $1,159. But for the more advanced photographer, the Vision is worth it – the UAV is equipped standard with a 14 megapixel, 1080p HD camera as well as a 3-axis camera stabilization gimbal. As with the AR 2.0, the Vision provides a live stream via the DJI Vision app to a smartphone via Wi-Fi and offers a range of 700 meters, making its higher price tag well worth it. And, if you want to direct and produce a more elaborate Christmas set, the Vision pairs with DJI’s Ground Station app for the iPad and set an autonomous flight path using GPS waypoints.
The Iris+ by 3DR offers DroidPlanner, a free app that allows a user to control the UAV remotely and “leash” it to an Android device’s GPS, enabling hands-free flight and filming (camera not included). The Iris+ will not only help you create some amazing Christmas card shots but it will follow you like a happy elf to the North Pole and back (or at least your smartphone). Equipped with a ground station radio and remote controller, Iris+ uses the Pixhawk autopilot system and can fly any predetermined path using DroidPlanner – much like your very own Rudolph. Like many mid-priced UAVs ($750) Iris+ ships standard with festive integrated LEDs on its arms as well as self-landing and waypoint return capabilities, $750.
DJI Inspire 1
OK, so maybe you’re not the average-Joe Christmas card sender. Maybe your cards transcend the traditional, two-dimensional piece of photo paper and take on epic proportions. Maybe in the Christmas card world, you are the love child of James Cameron and Michael Bay with a dash of Peter Jackson DNA. Your cards have their own production company, logo and press junket.
If so, meet the newly released DJI Inspire 1. Priced in the prosumer category at $2,899 (hey, Christmas comes but once a year!), the Inspire 1 represents DJI’s ascent into the 4K video realm allowing you, the Czar of Card Blockbusters, a wide array of shooting angles using the Inspire 1’s robotic arm capable of turning the cam 360 degrees around and 125 degrees down. What’s that you say? Your holiday epics require two people for double the awesomeness? No problem. DJI designed the Inspire with the flexibility of operating from one or two remotes for a pilot and/or photographer. The Inspire also deploys DJI’s Lightbridge system which can display and store video up to 1080 resolution in real time on to an extended remote display up to a distance of more than 1 mile.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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