Who doesn’t love cinematic aerial sequences? Really, there’s nothing like a slowed down shot of a winding mountain road, a countryside or even the skyline of a busy metropolis. But have you ever wondered how do people achieve those cool shots? If you haven’t guessed it yet, the answer you’re looking for is drones!
Drones have become an essential part of content creation. So much that they can not only be found in any professional photographer’s and cinematographer’s arsenal but also with many amateur content creators.
With their in-body stabilization and ability to record up to 4K, drones definitely don’t compromise on quality. When it comes to controlling them, it’s as easy as pairing your smartphone with the drone via an app and you have a virtual viewfinder with remote control.
If that impressed you, then you’ll be surprised to know that this is old news. Drones have been around for a while and they certainly don’t possess the wow factor that they once used to have. However, as we all know, technology has its own constant path of evolution. What would be the next step? How about Autonomous Drones?
You heard that right, folks. We live in a brave new world where drones will now automatically decide how you cinematic footage should look like. A startup by the name of Zero Zero Robotics came up with their autonomous drone called the Hover Camera Passport in 2017.
It was an incredible piece of technology which used Artificial Intelligence to detect and track faces, obstacles, and objects and followed them around. This year, Zero Zero Robotics have come out with a successor to the Hover Camera Passport. It’s called the Hover 2.
Like its predecessor, the Hover 2 is an autonomous drone that uses AI to basically know what to film and where to go. Its specifications include:
- Resolution of 12 MP for still images and 4K for video.
- 2-axis gimbal with Electronic Image Stabilization.
- A flight time of 23 minutes.
- 1/2.3” CMOS sensor.
- Up to 5 km of range.
- 360-degree Obstacle Avoidance.
That doesn’t sound half bad for a self-flying drone if you ask me. The flight time is actually an improvement from the Camera Passport, which had less than half of the Hover 2. However, don’t let that distract you from the fact that the Hover 2 comes with some other features that more than make up for its poor battery life. They are:
You are presented with 4 presets as to how you want your Hover 2 to frame the shot. They include Waist-Up, Full-body, Backdrop, and Birds-eye. Once you’ve selected your option, sit back, relax and let the drone do its thing.
Unlike a traditional follow shot algorithm that only tracks and follows you from behind, Omni-Follow allows your Hover 2 to follow you from your front, back and side as well. It can even switch between these in the same shot. The best thing is that while it follows you, it can detect and avoid obstacles on the camera’s blind spots thanks to its Optical Radar.
This handy feature will let the Hover 2 keep you focused while moving around, making a cinematic shot all by itself. It will work regardless if you’re moving or standing still.
For added convenience, the Hover 2’s app comes with an in-built suite that allows you to add cinematic filters and soundtracks to your footage without having to learn to use a complicated video editing software.
This is probably my favorite feature of the Hover 2. BlastOff mode allows you to access the maximum range of the drone which happens to be an impressive 5 km. To do that you have to replace the normal propeller guards with the light, aerodynamic ones and add landing gear.
You also have to use a BlastOff controller to control your Hover 2 at max range.
The Hover 2 is an amazing piece of tech that definitely deserves to be on the markets. Zero Zero Robotics is still a startup and does not have enough funds to mass produce the Hover 2 on their own. You can find the project for the Hover 2, read more about it and fund it on their Kickstarter page. Here’s a sample footage from the Hover 2 to get an idea what it’s capable of: