Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quadcopters are Changing the World of Mobile Photography

This is the future of videography and still photography for mobile devices! Get yourself a quadcopter and you will be having a blast in aerial photography, or so to speak.

Let's face it, anything this simple would endear photography and videography enthusiast to dabble in a little photography anywhere in the world and what's more, you don't need to carry any heavy RC controller in your gadget backpack to fly one of these.

Those of you familiar with Parrot AR Drones will know this. They were one of the first to come out with the wildly difficult to control quadcopters and this allowed the Chinese made DJI Innovations company to usurp their throne. Their RC controller of choice was based on the Android or iPhone app but the AR Drone cost a bomb to own and was difficult to operate.

But Parrot is fighting back with the Bebop drone that is both simple to fly and easy to operate, all from the comfort of your Galaxy Smartphone or iPhone.

The idea that you don't need a separate controller to fly the Bebop is what appeals to mobile photographers. The Bebop is not a very big device to carry with you. If at all, you only need a foam pack to protect it from being crushed when it is carried around in your backpack.

The Bebop comes with a 14 megapixel fish eye camera but it does not produce 14 megapixel images. Instead, what happens is quite clever. The sensor scales the photo to size as it corrects for any vibration with a 3-axis gyroscope. So you may be getting far less than the 14 megapixel image but at least you get to share that on Facebook quickly and efficiently.

It even comes built in with a GPS so that you don't have to worry about it flying away and not coming home when there is signal interference.

Made for Oculus Rift 

Oculus Rift is a VR style First Person View (FPV) goggle that can be paired with the Parrot Bebop. This means that you can view and control the flight as if you were flying within the drone itself.

This idea isn't new since the Parrot Bebop can already pair with your smart device of choice and allow you FPV mode whenever it takes off. But Oculus is probably a safe bet for people wanting a FPV goggle that acts like the Fatshark FPV system.

But the downside of it all is this, you can't fly this Bebop anymore than 12 mins, tops on a single charge. You may have to swap batteries to fly this longer but it certainly won't be able to fly further. The appeal of the Bebop will be for videographers and photographers who want a different angle of the world. Much of the time, we have to climb to a high place to get a better picture and this poses some problems post 911 as going up to tall places within the city limits is never going to be an easy affair. With the Bebop and your smartphone, you can of course shoot incredible aerial photos of places and building without having to worry about your fear of heights, and that is probably one of the biggest selling points of the Bebop. The problem now is that Parrot hasn't yet determine the price of the drone. It has come out to publicly state that it can cost between north of US$300 and south of US$1,000. For me at least, I think that Parrot will sell by the truck loads if it priced it no more than US$350 a pop. That way, aerial photography will be way more accessible than the ones offered by DJI Innovations.


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