It’s one of a drone operator’s most basic problems: where to store all of your best footage. Check out these suggestions to find a great solution that’s right for you.
The following is a guest post by Fergus O’Sullivan, chief editor of Cloudwards.net.
After you’ve flown a few passes over a nature reserve or festival, you’ll find that your camera’s SD card is filling up quickly. The tiny little things are lightweight, but, unless you’re shelling out some serious cash, you’re lucky if you can fit little more than ten minutes’ worth of 4K footage on one. This is where the best cloud storage for drones comes in.
Thanks to modern technology, you can upload whatever you’ve just shot into the cloud by using a smartphone app and then just keep flying. The only limit to capturing whatever you want are your drone’s and camera’s battery life. One great example is Memery’s Dragonfly app, which lets you to transfer your recently shot footage into the cloud, and even allows you to do some basic editing, all with a few touches on your smartphone.
Dragonfly is a seriously cool application and a boon to many drone enthusiasts, but it comes with two drawbacks: its price and the fact that it’s iOS only. There are plenty of alternatives from among the best cloud storage providers, which will allow you to upload your drone footage from any device, and at a much lower cost to you, as well, leaving you with a few extra bucks to buy the latest DJI smart controller.
The criteria are simple, we’ve focused on services that offer plenty of storage space for very little money, offer some kind of video previewing capabilities, and also have good connection speeds. All three services we’re presenting below will be affordable, allow you to watch video online and won’t waste your time with endless uploads.
With that set, let’s take a look at what we think are your best bets for drone storage.
pCloud is a Switzerland-based corporation that prides itself on being very privacy-focused, though we should note that its data centers are based in the U.S., meaning North American shutterbugs will get the most out of the service. Not that others will suffer, though, as pCloud is very fast.
Other things we like about pCloud are its very fast previewing capability and its price. You can get 2TB for $100 per month or $350 for a lifetime plan, which may seem like a lot until you contrast it with Dragonfly’s discounted $24 per month. It also offers up to 10GB for free if you’d like to check out how the service works before committing.
Do note, however, that to get the service’s state-of-the-art Crypto security will cost you an extra $4 per month. This also brings us to the biggest downside of pCloud: if you don’t have Crypto, pCloud employees will spy on your files to make sure they don’t contain anything that goes against the service’s terms and conditions.
If the idea of pCloud employees rifling through your videos is too much to bear, you may want to check out Google One (formerly Drive). Though the service has been known to go through users’ folders, the chance of them going through yours are tiny simply because half the internet seems to be stored on One.
The nice thing about Google One is that, besides offering a built-in video player, it offers 15GB for free, right off the bat. If you need to upgrade, it’s as simple as clicking a single button. Price plans scale very well with One, you can get 2TB for just $20 per month, and the sky is the limit. If you shoot a lot of video, you can even get 30TB allocated to you, though it will set you back $300 per month.
With Google’s massive global reach, you’ll likely be unsurprised to find out it has some of the fastest upload speeds in the market. There’s always a data center close to you if you’re dealing with Alphabet.
We’ll finish up with an old cloud storage mainstay, namely Dropbox. Besides offering previews and really good connection speeds, it’s also one of the best options out there if you want to share your drone footage with friends and family. They won’t even need a Dropbox account.
2TB of space will set you back just under $17 per month, though pricing will drop if you pay year-by-year. 1TB is just over half that, at $8 per month. Overall, we feel Dropbox is one of the better deals among storage providers, though it has a poor record when it comes to security and privacy (though it is getting better).
Storing your video in the cloud makes life easier, and we hope we have made it easier still with our recommendations. All the above services have a free plan of some kind, so you’ve nothing to lose in trying them out. Good luck and happy flying.
Fergus O’Sullivan is the chief editor of Cloudwards.net, a review site dedicated to bringing readers the very best in storage backup and VPN services.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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