One of the most exciting announcements from NAB Show 2018 is a drone that’s designed to be used with any 360 camera. The drone will be invisible in the 360 video, and moreover, the video will be stabilized straight out of the camera. Here’s a video demo! UPDATE: here is an invisible drone that uses DSLRs.
I’ve previously posted ways to mount a 360 camera to a drone. I’ve also posted about a few drones with built-in 360 cameras, such as the Spherie drone. The VR Drone, on the other hand, is a purpose-built drone designed from the ground up for 360 cameras.
The design is essentially a drone built around a double 360 camera gimbal. Because there is a camera above and below the VR Drone, the drone can be cloned out of the video and can appear invisible.
Moreover, the VR Drone stabilizes the cameras, keeping them constantly vertical no matter which direction the drone flies. By using two cameras, the cameras effectively serve as counterweights for each other (therefore it is unnecessary to add counterweights). In addition, the center of gravity of the drone is balanced at its center, as opposed to being off-center when a gimbal and camera are mounted on a drone.
As a result, you get an aerial 360 video where the drone is invisible in the shot (after you combine the footage from both cameras), and the video is stabilized without the need for additional stabilization software. Here’s a video from NAB Show 2018, care of CreatorUp:
The configuration shown in the video (hexacopter) that can support two Z Cam S1 cameras costs $7,500. As mentioned in the video, they can create other configurations for smaller or larger cameras.
Meanwhile, I keep hearing rumors of a GoPro 360 camera drone but it seems strange that they would all but give up their Karma drone only to pursue a drone for a presumably smaller 360 market. (I hope they focus first on at least finishing the android app for fusion and creating a protective housing for it.)
Anyway if you’re interested in the VR Drone, check out its manufacturer, ATI (Aerial Technology International).