|The DJI phantom with stabilized flight, GPS positioning and advanced flight modes|
So what's not to like?
Here comes the rub! They are inexpensive, sophisticated, highly capable, easy to fly (to a point) and allow very creative camera moves that are becoming part of the visual language of film making. The tricky thing is that this also allows them to be used to intrude on peoples privacy, and they can also be dangerous in the wrong hands. To safeguard the public, the CAA has legislated on their safe use. This legislation makes perfect sense, but it also limits the experimentation possible as an aspiring VFX artist. The law varies depending on whether the drone has a camera or not and whether the camera is used to record (drone is then seen as a surveillance aircraft) or whether the camera does not record and is there to assist flying. Weight is also a factor and the law changes if the drone weighs more than 7.5kg, If the drone is being used commercially, the pilot needs a license!
I've bought a drone and I'm learning to fly it in a way that lends itself to filming and useful camera moves. The stabilized GPS mode of flying auto corrects position changes and holds position in moderate breezes. It also adds to unwanted motion and can affect filming so other modes where the aircraft glides, can be more useful for smooth camera moves.
I'm finding learning to fly drones, addictive, and I've successfully tracked footage with a very low end camera. We're looking into Drone use as part of University policy, and who knows, drone piloting may become part of the course!