Drone News & Drone Directory

MultiRotor Pilot Mag



Atlanta Hobby is at it again with the release of another top quality FPV airframe intended for racing and freestylers alike. After the tremendous launch of the Katana KMR 250 in May, they are ecstatic to announce the newest edition in the Katana line, the KMR-X. The KMR-X is a 190-class airframe designed for durability and simplicity with both the race and freestyle pilot in mind. Constructed from tough 4mm carbon, the frame was assembled with a neutral Center of Gravity (CG) allowing pilots to make freestyle rolls and flips effortlessly. When fully assembled and with the recommended equipment installed, the KMR-X has a flying weight of only 413g (including a 1300mAH 4S High Sierra battery). The KMR-X design provides incredible agility, giving it an excellent feel in the air while hitting optimum race speeds. The KMR-X gets you to the finish line first.


Other Key Features:

• Simple design keeps the airframe light.

• Multiple motor mounting holes for a variety of motors.

• The top includes cut outs for a variety of video transmitters cameras.

• The simple FPV camera mount allows for angles up to 90 degrees.

• Strong 4mm bottom plate provides ease of mounting for flight controllers and power distribution.

• Diagonal carbon fiber weaved bottom plate for maximum rigidity.


Katana KMR-X 

Atlanta Hobby


The post KATANA KMR-X CHANGES THE FPV GAME appeared first on The Drones Mag.

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The DJI X5: The Perfect Aerial Solution

This article was originally published in June/July 2016 issue.
by Joe Papa Photos Erika Sievert
The-DJI-X5--The-Perfect-Aerial-Solution-6There is no question that mirrorless cameras have carved out their place in the market. Sony’s A7s has been recognized as one of the world’s best low light options. Panasonic’s GH4 can capture 4K footage that rivals cinema cameras costing more than triple the price. Since these cameras are both compact and lightweight, they’re ideal for aerial platforms where image quality and costs are paramount. Having the ability to change lenses offers staggering creative options, added working distance as well as greater detail. The larger sensors also offer significantly cleaner output, higher bit rates, frame rates and more dynamic range.

TYPE: Mirrorless 4/3 Camera/Gimbal
FOR: DJI Inspire 1 / Matrice
PRICE: $1,699 without lens / $2,199 with 15mm


• 􀂋Larger sensor claims 14 stops dynamic range
• 􀂋Aperture and focus now possible from DJI Go App
• 􀂋First fully integrated RTF mirrorless option on a small platform
• 􀂋Greatly improved low light performance
• 􀂋Lens options offer endless creative options
• 􀂋Lenses minimize distortion and greatly improve resolution and sharpness
• 􀂋HD Video feed standard

• 􀂋Vibration Mount required and not included
• 􀂋2-3 minutes less flight time
• 􀂋Lenses require balancing rings
• 􀂋Lower bit rates may be a factor in image quality for the most discerning clients
• 􀂋45mm lens stabilization was not good and is very difficult to control even with APP adjustments
• 􀂋320 degree panning in each direction can cause some frustration as you run out of travel

The X5 was tested on our DJI Inspire 1 using the included 15mm lens and Sandisk Extreme 64GB micro SD Card. Not included, but also tested were 3 optional lenses including the 12mm, 25mm and 45mm listed as compatible in the specs.

Lens: Replaceable lens; M43 mount supporting auto-focus

DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH *
Panasonic Lumix 15mm f/1.7 *
Olympus M. ED 12mm f/2.0
Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 *
Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ * (photography only)
Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f1.8
Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 (photopraphy only) *Requires a balancing weight

CAMERA SENSOR: 4/3-inch CMOS sensor
RANGE: 100~25600
FIELD OF VIEW (FOV): 15mm/ f1.7∞72 degrees, 12mm/ f2.0∞84 degrees
STILL PHOTOGRAPHY MODES: Single shot, Burst shooting: 3/5/7 frames,
AUTO EXPOSURE BRACKETING: 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7EV bias, Time-lapse (5/7/10/20/30 sec)
VIDEO RESOLUTION: UHD: 4096×2160 (24/25p); 3840×2160 (25/30p); FHD: 1920×1080 (24/25/30/48/50/60p)
VIDEO: MP4, MOV (MPEG-4/AVC/H.264F); JPEG-Lossless(RAW)
SUPPORTED STORAGE DEVICES: Class 10 or UHS-1 or above Micro SD cards, Max capacity of 64 GB, SSD with Capacity of 512GB (ZENMUSE X5R)

NAME: DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH
FOCAL LENGTH: f=15 mm (35 mm film camera equivalent: 30 mm)
APERTURE TYPE: 7 diaphragm blades/circular aperture diaphragm
LENS CONSTRUCTION: 9 elements in 7 groups (3 aspherical elements)
IN FOCUS DISTANCE: 0.2 m to ∞ (from the focus distance reference line)
MOUNT: Micro 4/3
FIELD OF VIEW (FOV): 72 degrees
MAX. DIAMETER: Approx. 57.5 mm
OVERALL LENGTH: Approx. 36 mm
MASS: Approx. 115 g

MODEL: Zenmuse X5; Zenmuse X5R
MOUNT: Detachable
CONTROLLABLE RANGE: Pitch: -90 to +30 degrees; Pan: ±320 degrees

The-DJI-X5--The-Perfect-Aerial-Solution-10AUTHOR’S OPINION

Having flown so many different size machines, cameras and gimbals, it is hard to imagine that things wouldn’t simply continue to get larger. The truth is that in the hands of a professional, a camera is a tool. Use the right tool for the job and your life becomes much easier. Unfortunately, there is never one “multitool” that does everything as good as the perfect tool. A Red Epic is not the right tool for 95% of us despite producing incredible image and video quality. At the same time, a GoPro can be the perfect tool when filming 360 degrees, surfing or attached to a suction cup mount of a Formula one car. Try to suction cup a Red to your surfboard and you’ll see quickly why it’s the wrong tool. While DSLR cameras hope to span the cavernous gap, they also bring with them weight. The X5 is a newer generation of camera that sheds all the extra weight of a larger camera, but keeps the image quality. In fact, some mirrorless cameras have set the standard for image quality and left countless more expensive cameras in the dust. I’m quite certain there will be a day where the sound of a mirror in a DSLR will be nothing but a story I tell to my grandchildren. Mirrorless cameras are where all the technology is being concentrated and companies like Sony and Panasonic are leading the pack. For aerial capture, a mirrorless camera is the ideal blend of image quality and weight. Three years ago it would have cost you 30-100K to have a copter that gave you HD video link will low latency, aperture and focus control and 4K video and you’d still have to land to change exposure. Now all of it’s available and more for a fraction of the price, flies for four times as long and fits on the front seat?

Until the X5, flying a mirrorless camera required a Z15 or comparable gimbal, a larger airframe and all the other typical accessories associated with these rigs. They’re more difficult to transport than a typical quad used with a GoPro size camera and cost significantly more when you factor in everything you’ll need. On our S900, the charger, battery packs, monitors, transmitters and HD video transmitter added thousands of dollars to the overall cost. The DJI Inspire 1 has quickly become one of the most popular RTF platforms with pilots and smaller budget film crews. It’s a complete solution with very few compromises. While the X3 camera is certainly capable of holding it’s own in the field of these tiny sensors, some clients demand more. For most, the GH4 was the answer…until now.

While DJI directly compares the X5 sensor to the Panasonic GH4’s when discussing size, the camera bodies are substantially different in design. The X5 is void of the typical camera grip, LCD and controls, but combines the camera body and 3 axis gimbal into a sleek, compact package. The memory card slot and USB connection have been relocated to the top of the camera and includes a plastic hinged dust cover. The Inspire 1 requires a new vibration mount and landing gear pads that compensate for the heavier and larger size. This mount isn’t included with the X5 and commands a hefty $99 for this rather simple (option) required piece. While the X5 offers class leading and niche capabilitie, it would have been nice to see this vibration mount included for the 2000+ price tag. Some lenses require optional balance rings that screw onto the lens filter threads, but use no glass.

When initially powered up, the Inspire 1 recognized the X5 and immediately made it evident that the firmware must be updated. Current firmware for this review was from DJI’s website and was dated for 12/22/2015. The DJI Go App version compatible with this version is 2.6.0. This is the fourth iteration of firmware for the DJI Inspire 1 running the X5 and numerous improvements, both listed and quite obvious, were implemented. These refinements and fixes also include more lens choices.

The DJI Go App now offers additional functionality when paired with the X5. For those familiar with the Inspire 1 interface, these additional functions will be easy to dismiss as no big deal. For those coming from bigger rigs flying the GH4 or cinema cameras, the difference will be nothing short of staggering. Unfortunately, those upgrading from a GoPro type of camera may be overwhelmed. Full control of every camera function is expanded to include focus and even aperture. For video, it’s now possible to use multicoated ND filters along with aperture to maintain the ideal shutter speeds while filming. For more creative control, DJI even offers a cinema style remote for “pulling focus” by a third person during the shot.

While the X5 offers DJI’s version of a Log preset that potentially unlocks additional dynamic range and post production grading flexibility, footage captured in standard preset modes offers jaw dropping leaps in image quality over the X3. There are significantly fewer artifacts from compression and sharpening. Color rendition and dynamic range is natural and more forgiving in high contrast scenes. We’ve been shooting with the X5 for months now, using all the prime lenses currently compatible. While the focal lengths between 12mm and 17mm sound similar, they offer noticeable differences in field of view. On one shoot involving a commercial building, we found the 12mm lens to be ideal. Switching to the 15mm made it impossible to capture the entire width of the building within the constraints of neighboring buildings. On another shoot involving a revolving around a clock tower monument, the 25mm lens offered a far more cinematic look and feel our director loved. In low light we were able to push the camera to ISO 1600 without hesitation which we never were comfortable doing on the GH4.

All lens changes can be done in seconds, but be prepared to purchase the required lens balance rings from DJI to ensure optimal performance and prevent potential problems. Our model seemed to benefit from a nickel being double side taped to the side of the body with some lenses. It is, however, possible that we are looking for perfection in the balance. Also, as we moved up through the focal lengths, camera control settings needed to be slowed down so our camera operator could maintain precise the required lens balance rings from DJI to ensure optimal performance and prevent potential problems. Our model seemed to benefit from a nickel being double side taped to the side of the body with some lenses. It is, however, possible that we are looking for perfection in the balance. Also, as we moved up through the focal lengths, camera control settings needed to be slowed down so our camera operator could maintain precise lenses

The X5 on paper may be very compelling for some or dismissed by others. In actual use there is an intangible synergy of all the components in the system that transcends other options entirely. The total experience is far more satisfying and pleasurable to operate than typical DSLR or cinema rigs because the entire system has been built for a single purpose. It makes the S900 with GH4 option seem very outdated and disconnected from the operator since about all you can do from the ground is actuate the shutter. The X5 is like a GH4 that has its entire interface relocated to a tablet display on the ground…right at the user’s fingertips. The Inspire can fly in places that larger machines can’t dream of while offering full camera control from the ground via and HD video feed with no complicated wiring, antennas or brick batteries needed. Between scenes, the Inspire is easily transported and ready for flight. For those with even higher image quality demands, the X5R offers Raw 4K uncompressed capture for unimaginable power in post editing.

I truly believe that the X5 will change the way we think about capturing video and still images in the air. As of now there is nothing that combines all these features into one reliable platform to even compare it with. It’s lowered the cost, increased safety and made flight more enjoyable and confident. I absolutely recommend it.

DJI dji.com
EMPIRE RC empirerc.com
OLYMPUS getolympus.com
PANASONIC panasonic.com

The post The DJI X5: The Perfect Aerial Solution appeared first on The Drones Mag.

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What’s it Like Filming a BMX Legend? Come and Find Out

This article was originally published in June/July 2016 issue.
by Mike Steidley

This month let’s take a look at the video we produced with BMX legend and multiple X-Games medalist, Ryan Nyqvist. Having been fortunate enough to work on a variety of high profile action sports shoots, when the call came to direct a video with such an iconic rider we knew we were in for a treat. Let’s recap the experience and divulge some insider tips.

Any BMX rider will recognize the name Ryan Nyquist and Haro Bikes. This important company is deeply rooted in BMX history so we wanted to be sure this  video received proper attention. The adventure began in the planning stages south of LA at Haro’s marketing agency, The Creative Bar. We had a chance to sit down with the CEO of Haro and the masterminds at The Creative Bar to articulate our ideas face to face and develop the storyboard. The concept was twofold; first we wanted to produce a video showcasing this BMX rider’s move into Mountain Bike competition and feature some diverse riding. Second, we knew a rider of this fortitude and stature would have some insight to share with his fans and followers. There needed to be a way to car the message of the video into an enticing piece. After countless cups of coffee, pages of notes from brainstorming sessions and many contrasting opinions on how to utilize the camera to best convey the story, we arrived at our game plan.

What’s-it-Like-Filming-a-BMX-Legend---Come-and-Find-Out--6ENTER ALTER EGO

The concept was born; a video demonstrating the rider’s ability in both the disciplines of BMX and the larger wheel sized Mountain Bike would begin with him packing each independent bicycle for airline travel. We would follow Ryan on a day of training and riding and then conclude at the airport with both bags packed ready for a trip. The plot twist at the end was that the viewers would not know what genre they would see Ryan in next, forming an almost dual personality character, one for each sport discipline. This format allowed us to have some narration in the beginning to give some raw sound bites in Ryan’s own voice to his fans and then cut into the action while mixing in our storyline. We had a subtext theme to show the BMX version of Ryan in a white t-shirt and the MTB (mountain bike) version of Ryan in a black t-shirt. Thus the name of the project and video title was born: Ryan Nyquist Alter Ego.


Since BMX riding is done in a traditional skate park-style setting or dirt jumps, we wanted to make sure the location had some more mountain bike elements to it and really display our rider pulling moves with  a scenic backdrop. Opting for the West Coast location of Santa Cruz, California meant one major detail … airline travel. Joining us for this project was cinematographer, Ed Schilling who would shoot second camera and serve as spotter when needed. Since travel was now involved, we could meet this Midwest based filter in the airport and get on board the venture from there. We began organizing the schedule, shot list and ultimately, gear list. For the camera geeks out there, the gear consisted of several Panasonic GH4’s, more lenses then we knew what to do with, a fleet of drones, a DJI Ronin and a full light kit. We were essentially traveling with an entire portable production house on this one. Additionally, we could fly a GH4 or have it on the ground, which makes the color grading much more straightforward when we get to post. There was talk of bringing in Red cameras, but since most locations were only accessible after a hike and gear was loaded in the back of SUV’s, we opted for the small form factor cameras as it meant lighter support gear. Somehow this still translated into a massive baggage bill with the excess luggage at the airport. Remember to pack everything as bombproof as you can and never check your LiPos as they need to be on you at all times and go in your carry-on luggage. Next stop, California.

What’s-it-Like-Filming-a-BMX-Legend---Come-and-Find-Out--12THE GOLDEN STATE

We arrived in California with mountains of gear and convened with Ed Schilling, loaded all the gear up and were on our way. After getting settled there was the daunting task of double-checking the gear, cleaning lenses and camera gear and then getting a few flights in on the copters. As daunting as it can be, you can never check things enough and this is mandatory for safety. We always try to fly a few packs before heading on set to make sure everything is functioning correctly. Ge ing a solid compass calibration after airline travel and being in a new environment is a must.

Our preflight in this case was to check every nut and bolt to make sure all were secure, check the props, motors and ESC’s and then we were ready for a test flight. After the LiPos were charged we headed down to the California coastline to get some flights logged. Our mission achieved dual duty by grabbing some pickup shots of the sunset  and scenic coastline and also checking all the flight modes, overall copter stability and return to home in case we needed it for emergency. After a few gorgeous flights we were confident in our setups and ready to head to set.

We woke to a rarity in California for our first day of shooting which was heavy rain. Sometimes you need to be able to she gears and get maximum work done when on a remote location so we made the best of the day by getting all our audio work finalized for our voiceover and all our narration recorded. We also knocked out all of our intro shots and had Ryan pack two bikes for travel along with some general B-roll. This would serve as our cutaway shots for the voiceover. Plenty of slider work, macro shots and creative lighting brought out some dynamic footage to use for the edit. On to day two for a redo now that the sun was back out. We arrived to the first location after a drive deep into the woods to a secluded set of dirt jumps and wooden mountain bike slope-style jumps. Wrapped in heavy trees, this location had the look we were going for. The rain did a number on the jumps and berms so some  trail maintenance was needed to get everything up to par before Ryan was able to shred and lay down all of his tricks. There were now two ground cameras ready to roll plus the drone so we needed to be mindful of keeping the drone out of the shot of the other cameras.

What’s-it-Like-Filming-a-BMX-Legend---Come-and-Find-Out--11Using the bit of downtime we had while the trails were being groomed we did some test runs with the copter so the ground guys could make sure we all were on the same page. With the trails ready to ride and Ryan feeling good, it was time for him to throw a leg over his Haro Mountain Bike.

The first few shots had some nice tracking lines from the drone with Ryan hi ing all the obstacles. We worked a few angles to make sure the basics were covered before getting a bit more advanced. With Ryan focused we started to really plan out each shot. Evaluating each trick and deciding which angle would be best from the drone and which would be best from the ground was essential. We would time every shot to make sure the drone was not in line of sight of the ground camera as to not burn anything that otherwise would be usable. Lots of bright light meant opting for a neutral density filter to step down the camera and help control light. Also, when filming a person you typically are not at a very high altitude with the drone so be mindful of its shadow as to not have that pop up into any frames. We were sure to get our DJI Ronin out for some groundwork and did some unusual shots running full speed after Ryan and almost up the entire distance of the jump. We framed the second angle on the drone to just miss spoiling the shot and it made for a dynamic edit that had some shots that let the viewers guessing which film tool was used. Ryan pulled out all the stops and landed some insanely difficult tricks while throwing a full sized mountain bike around like it was a smaller BMX. Definitely an impressive skill-set by Nyquist. You become aware of how he gained so many X-Games medals with his style and magnitude. After filling up the memory cards to the maximum and Ryan giving it his all, it was a wrap on riding day number one.

Day two brought us to a new location with a new set of challenges. We arrived to assess the location and had only one good direction to aim the camera to keep a nice backdrop. Turning 180 degrees would show some unsightly construction that would take away from the end edit so there was no choice but to get creative when it came to shot planning. There was a line of four big jumps with the last fully wrapped in trees. This also would prevent going full speed with the copter as there would be no way to safely navigate the trees without smashing our bird. We broke down each jump to establish some lines and considered the copter more as a giant jib. J-hook jib shots and crane rises done from the drone took most of the morning and next we focused on some long tracking shots that eventually would travel over the foliage. We opted for a high altitude shot over the trees to get a cutaway shot of a 720 spin over the jumps. This shot was essentially a hover so we chose to go over crank at 120 FPS and use the shot in super slow motion in the final edit. The trees did give lots of options for the ground crew to stay out of frame so we really were able to work fast on this one. On one run we locked focus at a very low F-stop to get some nice depth of field shots that kept Ryan blurry while at the bottom and allow him to pop into focus at the peak
of the jump and his trick.

What’s-it-Like-Filming-a-BMX-Legend---Come-and-Find-Out--14As expected, the Golden State was handing out lots of sunshine and in order to stop down the camera, we needed to darken the light coming in. This was achieved by running the lowest ISO possible and the addition of ND filters to get a nice low f-stop. When working with talent and a drone, you need to make sure, however, that the rider always knows your game plan and to only cross the jump line or path of motion if planned; always think safety first. Make hand signals, communicate between runs or whatever else it takes to manage safety as a top priority. With another exemplary day in the books we set off for the last day of B-roll filming. With a goal of connecting the storyline to the action we headed off to the airport to start our first location of the day. We filmed a few scenes entirely on the Ronin for speed and efficiency, as we just needed some quick clips.

What’s-it-Like-Filming-a-BMX-Legend---Come-and-Find-Out--13Following that was a driving scene that called for a few unique shots. We headed down to the Santa Cruz coastline to find a driving location that would give a great car tracking shot that could gain into an epic sunset shot. We arrived well before sunset and got things mapped out. We jumped into Ryan’s truck to grab some ground clips of him inside that would then cut to a drone shot. Since the sky was a gorgeous, magic hour color we opted to light the inside of his truck with some LED light panels from Ikan so there would be an even exposure from inside to outside. With the sun just getting into the perfect position there were only a few chances to accomplish this shot, it would be one of the longest holds in the edit so we wanted to get it spot on. The shot follows the car as a tracking shot that then makes a giant J-hook with the camera tracking the car. Starting out with the truck in the left hand of the shot we tracked and slowly rotated out to reveal the rocky coastline. As we gained up the waves began to appear and then as we completed the J, the sunset over the coastline now was in frame. With that shot in the books it was officially a wrap and time to head to the editing bay.


What an impressive adventure with many stunning filming locations and shots! To view the final video check out Drones magazine website or visit the digital edition. We hope you enjoyed this recap of our latest adventure and we will see you next month! Happy flying and stay safe out there. =


MIKE STEIDLEY mikested.com
VISION AERIAL MEDIA visionaerialmedia.com
HARO BIKES harobikes.com
THE CREATIVE BAR thecreativebar.com

The post What’s it Like Filming a BMX Legend? Come and Find Out appeared first on The Drones Mag.

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Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing

Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing Main
Opale Paramodels have an amazing new release: The Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing 

Following in the footsteps of the ultra- successful Hybrid 1.8, the new Hybrid 3.0 is sure to be an instant favorite.  Just like the 1.8, it features their hybrid construction featuring single skin and double skin construction for an easy to inflate, easy to launch wing.  The aspect ratio has been increased to give you a better penetrating wing but it retains the stability that the Hybrid series is known for.  This is a wing that will keep the expert thrilled but is still stable enough for the beginner.

Technical features:

Flat area:  3.0sqm

Flat wingspan:  4.0m

Aspect ratio:  5.3:1

Cells:  32

Lines: Aramid 25 / 50 daN spliced – DFL 70

Nylon Ultralight Fabric 20D 32gr/m2

Check out more information at EspritModel.com as well as, more photos and a video of the Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing below.

Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing p2 Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing p1 Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing p3 Opale Hybrid 3.0 Wing p4

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Have You Entered the KDE Direct Drone Photo Contest?!

 KDE Direct Drone Photo Contest MainFly. Capture. Win.

The folks over at KDE Direct are running an exciting photo/video contest with a first place prize of $1,000 and a second place prize of $500 for use at online web-store!

We enjoy seeing all of the photos and videos by the community who are sharing their work with us. We love seeing our industrial components in the air! To say thank you, we’re launching a photo/video contest for July. First place winner gets $1,000 and second place winner gets $500 to use at KDEDirect.com.

For entry consideration, use #FlyKDE and tag @kdedirect with your images or videos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. All images must be posted by July 31, 2016, and will be reviewed by the KDE Direct team. Winners will be announced the beginning of August 2016.

Read the full rules and guidelines on the KDE Direct Blog here. Good luck!


KDE Direct – KDEDirect.com

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