You couldn’t walk very far at NAB this year without tripping over one of these things. I got to watch a few “test flights” of a few different models by a few different manufacturers (the one pictured is from a Dutch company called Aerialtronics and costs around $10k, “ready to fly,” not including camera/lens, and they claimed it can fly as high as a mile).
My main observations:
– They are noisy as heck, so make sure you have an ADR budget.
– The demos were all done when there was virtually no wind, so the shots looked smooth like buttah. Am skeptical about the potential reality of shooting in windy conditions.
– The demos were all done by operators who clearly had lots of experience flying these things. Training is clearly required to get good results (and not send your precious camera/lens crashing down from 10,000 feet).
– They all look like FUN TO FLY.
Considering the costs of renting a real helicopter, this could be an interesting trend. In the right conditions, you could also do jib and crane type effects. Wish I had $10k kicking around right now.