How would you like to capture an aerial 360 video without the drone anywhere in the shot? Here are four drones that can capture a 360 view without the drone visible in the shot, with sample videos.
360 cameras are sometimes called invisible flying cameras because they can capture a third person view without the selfie stick being visible in the shot, as if there was an invisible drone following you around. But there are some drones that are truly “invisible flying cameras.” They can capture an aerial 360 view while being totally invisible to the camera.
CINE-BIRD by StanFPV
Cine-Bird is a low-profile FPV drone that can be used with either a GoPro MAX, Insta360 One R, or Rylo to capture an aerial 360 video without the drone being visible. The Cine-Bird also has a regular FPV camera which allows it to be flown with FPV goggles.
Cine-Bird has 3-inch or 4-inch props and runs on a 3S battery. The 360 camera is inserted into a flexible TPU frame that holds the camera securely. Here’s a sample video, shot with GoPro MAX on the Cine-Bird:
The Cine-Bird is available as a frame kit or as a preassembled RTF (ready to fly) quad. I actually have this drone but I haven’t been able to test it due to lack of time. Please note that this is heavily backordered. It took me two months to get it from the time I ordered one. The other thing to note is that Cine-Bird doesn’t work with the Insta360 One R lens guards. However if you have the GoPro MAX version, you can use the MAX’s protective lens covers with it. You can order it here (around $519 for the preassembled one).
COVERT 360 by Ki FPV
The Covert 360 is a larger invisible FPV drone with 5 inch props and 6S battery, and is designed to carry an Insta360 One R. As with the Cine-Bird, the Covert 360 has a mount for a regular FPV camera as well.
Unlike the Cine-Bird, the Covert 360 works with the One R’s standard camera bracket. This enables it to use the One R’s lens guards or even the Freewell ND filters for One R.
Here is a sample video:
The Covert 360 is only available as a frame kit. You’ll have to build it yourself, which is quite challenging and is better reserved for experienced FPV pilots. Available here for $99.
STEALTH360 by Rob FPV
Stealth360 is an invisible FPV drone that works with Insta360 One R or GoPro MAX. It has a similar size with the Covert 360, and uses 5 or 6 inch props and a 6S battery.
The Stealth360 is designed to hold the 360 camera at the back of the quad, with a standard FPV camera in front. Like the Covert 360, the Stealth360 can be used with the standard One R bracket which enables you to use the One R lens guards.
Here’s a sample video:
Stealth360 is available only as a frame kit, and you’ll have to build the FPV yourself. The kit is available here for $85.
INSTA360 ONE R AERIAL EDITION for DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic 2 Pro
The previous drones are FPV drones that require full manual control, with no GPS, altitude hold, or other features to assist you, which makes them much more difficult to fly than the more popular drones such as from DJI or Parrot. FPV drones also usually have relatively short flight times of less than 5 minutes per battery. For consumers, it may be easier to fly with the One R Aerial Edition for Mavic.
The Aerial Edition has a split 360 module that is placed above and below the Mavic, rendering the Mavic invisible in the 360 video. Moreover, you’ll be able to fly with altitude hold, making it much easier to control than an invisible FPV drone. It will also have longer flight times thanks to the Mavic’s larger batteries. Finally, the Aerial Edition includes a pair of lens guards.
The One R Aerial Edition’s disadvantage is that it has a large distance between the lenses, which means that the stitching will not be as smooth. Other users have also complained about a jello problem from vibrations. Here’s a review by CreatorUp:
As you can see, there are no easy solutions for invisible 360 drones. I plan to test the CineBird when I have more time.