Have you looked through our photographs and wondered how we manage to get so many cool shots from high above the ground? Although a few have been taken from Pam's office window, the vast majority have been taken on our DJI Phantom 4 Drone.
Why get a drone? Firstly, do you like taking photos? If yes, and you want to capture something no-one else can get, from a different perspective, then get a drone! The aerial shots give you a new dynamic view with photos you'd never get otherwise. If you don't like taking photos but do enjoy a new perspective then a drone will let you see what the birds get to see.
Which drone? There any on the market, we knew wanted a drone but were happy to wait until the right one came out, and that for us was the DJI Phantom 4. We wouldn't recommend going for an older model of DJI as the 4 has all the features of the earlier models combined. New on the market is the Phantom 4 Pro, which will do more nifty things but is more expensive. The other leading brand alongside DJI is Go Pro. We can only big ours up as we haven't tested the others but do believe that nothing has been compromised on the Phantom 4, the camera quality is spot on and doesn't encounter many glitches, as a lesser known brand might.
How much? The Phantom 4 is around £900-£1000
What extras? Your new Phantom 4 comes in a styrofoam case, which is great but not practical to carry especially if for a distance. We purchased a rucksack from Amazon which is designed for the Phantom 4, it has 2 compartments, which the drone and charger fit neatly into. We also purchased a range extender so we can send the drone farther afield. You can also purchase a spare battery as the rechargeable batteries only have a flying time of around 30 minutes. There is also lens filters available to buy. A must is micro SD card (We recommend 'SanDisk Extreme' because it will work best in 4K , a cheap one won't be able to write to the disk on 4K) these can which can easily be found on Amazon or most supermarkets. Lastly a hard drive is a great place to back up all your footage.
Drone safety- Read up on NATS/ FAA or local rules and regulations before taking to the skies. With drones getting more popular rules are only going to get stricter. The main rules regarding safety and to avoid landing yourself in trouble are; don't fly within 150ft (50m) of people and properties and 500ft (150m) of crowds and built up areas and keep well away from airfields.
How to operate a drone- Follow tutorials before using, the controls are rather easy- there is an up/down knob and left/right knob, a button for photos and one to record, and a button to move the camera up and down. The drones height and distance are tracked- you just need a smart phone which attaches to the controller. On the controller theres a 'return to home' button- which you can use anytime and in emergency where you need to land fast. You download an app on your phone, keep updating this as sometimes it can glitch and momentarily loose connection, if this happens, pause for a minute while you think then bring the drone back using the return to home button on the controller.
Can you crash a drone? Yes, and it may happen to you, ways to avoid a crash are do not let the drone out your sight, on the Phantom 4 if you let go of all the knobs the drone will stay hovering, so if you panic about crashing into a wall etc then let go, and re-focus, there is no rush. The front of the drone has a sensor so if flying forwards and you are about to crash the anti-collision sensors will kick in and move the drone out of danger (note only if the drone is flying forwards). You can land the drone on the ground, but we like to catch it in our extended arms as it saves hitting debris on the ground, potentially damaging propellers or camera, the Phantom 4 does come with spare propellers and more can easily be purchased. If you panic, just focus on either the smart phone screen or only the drone, you could mix yourself up looking at both. Shannon is uber confident with the drone and after a little bit of practice finds it easy peasy, Pam on the other hand still fears it will drop out the sky and is a lot more cautious, drones shouldn't fall out the sky, but do take care around birds as they can target the drone subsequently knocking it out of the sky.
Do you have a drone? If so which one? Are you fearless using the drone like Shannon or weary like Pam?