Guide to FPV – The Most Fun You Can Have With a Drone

First-Person-View flying has become a cool new addition to the world of drones which is basically a drone with a built-in camera. Well, don’t a lot of drones come equipped with a camera? Yes, but the experience is still not FPV. You see, although the controllers of most high-end drones like the Mavic have a small screen, they do not offer great viewing angles and as immersive of an experience as FPV flying. FPV gives a dynamic way of portraying a scene and it can provide a different perspective depending on what you are going to be using it for.

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Aerial Photography

If you are into taking great scenic photos and videos, then aerial photography is the ideal FPV style for you. High resolution cameras, video stabilisation and drone agility will all make for remarkable visual presentations even if you are just starting out. The drones parts and accessories required for this type of aerial photography are quite different from freestyle and FPV racing.

Aerial Photography Drone

Freestyle

The most enjoyable FPV flying for most newcomers is probably freestyle since it poses no restrictions on how low or high you are meant to be flying or where you need to fly. Basically, freestyle FPV is all about being able to find the best way around obstacles and/ or make the coolest tricks but you can also make a dynamic visual experience if you are planning to get into drone videography.

Racing

If you have fast reflexes and can handle manoeuvring through tight gaps, FPV racing is what you should go for as precision plays a vital role in winning these races.

Must-Have Drone Accessories

FPV System

The first requirement that sets FPV flying apart from other drone activities is the FPV system as it gives you that first-person-view. The live feed from the camera can be broadcasted to a smartphone or tablet but what makes FPV flying even more exciting is the fact that you can use special FPV goggles.

Goggles

Now this is what makes FPV so immersing, with a pair of goggles you can truly experience a bird’s-eye view. There are goggles that can track head movement, so when you move your head the camera moves too, which gives you a virtual reality type of experience, except that everything is actually real and not made by software. The screen is usually split between what the camera sees and what you can see on the ground, but you can switch between the two.

Drone Accessories

Sunshade

If you are going to be filming, it’s a good idea to get a sunshade to prevent the harsh sun from shining directly onto the screen of your phone or controller. Whilst some people make their own using cardboard, if you want to get footage without the unwanted glare, consider investing in a solid sunshade.

Memory Card

The one that you put into your DSLR or smartphone will allow you to record and transfer the recordings to your laptop or desktop for further editing. The size of the required SD card depends on the resolution of the footage you’ll be capturing, a 720p video will take up less space than a 1080p or a 4K recording. You’ll also need to check how big of an SD card the drone can fit, meaning how much additional storage space it can handle.

Spare Batteries

Always bring spare batteries! Drone batteries aren’t that impressive when it comes to runtime as it usually ranges between 15 to 30 minutes. This may be okay if you aren’t going to film for a very long time, but I’d still advise you to bring extra ones.

Spare Propellers & Guards

Although propellers may not run out of juice, in case they get damaged to the point of no return it’s good to have a set as backup. Eliminating the chances of failure can help you have a productive and fun day which is why you should also get propeller guards. Protecting your propellers in the first place will help reduce the chances of them getting damaged but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in an additional set.

Landing Pad

To make landing smoother and to keep dust, debris and small rocks from entering or hitting the drone when taking off, you should consider getting a landing pad. This is also useful for when you want to take off from tall grass with a drone with small legs. This way you will maintain your drone clean and have a dedicated spot to launch it from every time you need to use it instead of having to find a nice plain area.

Neutral Density Filters

These drones parts and accessories are for filmmakers and people who want to get versatile when shooting videos. A neutral density filter helps reduce the light coming into the sensor and lets you shoot at slower shutter speeds. The shutter speed should double the frame rate of your recordings, so if you are shooting at 1080p 30fps the shutter speed should be at 1/60 but some drones have it fixed. This is where neutral density filters can help. ND filters come at different levels of intensity but you should never go with just one, it’s always a good idea to go for a set.