Perceptiv last week announced the pre-order launch of a new camera rig – dubbed SHIFT — that will allow owners of 3DR IRIS+ and the DJI Phantom to seamlessly focus on and track a specific subject within a camera’s viewing frame.
The rig, consisting of a small camera, lightweight computer and RC interface will deploy high-speed algorithms that allow the camera to “learn” whatever subject the user chooses in frame and will then track that subject by moving the cam’s viewing angle via gimbal pan and tilt. Users can view a live video stream from the rig with available Android apps.
“Since the SHIFT uses pixel level information of the image, it is able to track any arbitrary object in most scenes,” a company statement reports, adding that “there are limitations when it comes to highly cluttered scenes and occlusions but we’re working to make our tracking algorithms as robust as possible.”
Weighing in at less than 200g, the SHIFT is powered by a built-in battery rated for about one hour of uninterrupted operation.
The SHIFT is not a GPS follow-me drone but instead allows amateurs to deploy the same kind of technology normally reserved for professional filmmakers. “GPS is simply not accurate enough to precisely ‘frame’ an aerial shot. It also assumes that the subject of interest has a GPS beacon or a smartphone which is not the case for wildlife photography or when filming multiple subjects.”
Priced at $600 for pre-order or $800 thereafter, the SHIFT will be available as a standalone accessory or will eventually be available pre-installed on the 3DR IRIS+ or DJI Phantom.
Hopes for the SHIFT are already flying high among tech journalists. “[The SHIFT] turns hobbyist drones into robotic flying dollies for capturing great pans, zooms and fly-by shots, with computer vision tech making sure to keep a user-defined subject exactly where it needs to be in the frame along the way,” writes Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch.
Adds Perceptiv co-founder Neil Matthew:
“Our product is something that will let professional filmmakers take really beautiful precise shots with drones, without two years of piloting experience. Being able to take some sort of complex maneuver with a drone where you’re tracking a subject of interest, it becomes really difficult to fly a drone as well as control camera angles at the same time.”
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