Video / Buying Guide

Essential and Special Accessories for Today's Drones

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Think of professional companies that offer solely drone video production services. When they come on set, they come prepared with essential accessories. What exactly are the essentials? There really are just several (later, we’ll touch on cool, special drone accessories, like launch pads, but first let’s review what the essentials are).

Newcomers to the world of drones might be surprised to see propellers on the list but, for many, these are crucial. Propellers are the first point of contact in case of a collision, and even a small chip can seriously alter your drone’s performance. Having spares can be the difference between finishing your shoot or not. There are different options, such as high-altitude propellers that perform better in thinner air but, as far as essentials go, all you need are spares of your originals—just in case.

GoPro Karma Propellers

This next item may be too obvious, but allow me to emphasize. Whether you’re going to shoot a major scene or you’re just taking your drone out for fun, getting there and back is much more efficient if everything is packed nicely in a case. Some of the leading options are Lowepro backpacks and hard cases, many of which can hold your drone, accessories, and laptop securely. These cases are creatively designed, and some feature a separate, smaller but substantial case inside a giant side pocket—for days when you only need the drone and a few items.

Lowepro DroneGuard Kit

What else? Surely memory cards. In the drone world, you’ll mainly be using microSD cards and SD cards. You certainly want to have enough cards, and you may want to stock up on a spare or two, but, more importantly, you want to get the right card for your camera, because each camera interacts optimally with specific types. SanDisk cards are offered in as many speeds, classes, capacities, and other factors as you might need, and are highly popular options, known for cutting-edge technology and reliability. To determine which card types you need, you can check with your drone/camera manufacturer, or you can go to the B&H website, pull up your drone or camera, click on the Accessories tab, and see what’s suggested.

SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO Memory Card

Once you’ve recorded your footage, you want it transferred to a larger, more secure platform. That’s just good practice. You want it backed up as soon as possible to know your footage is safe (and possibly so your DIT can begin working on the footage right away). You want a hard drive. Check out WD portable drives, which feature high transfer rates, password protection, and much more. They’re available not only in different capacities and speeds, but also different shapes and colors to match your personal preferences.

WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drive

With the image itself ultimately the only thing that matters, lens filters can be genuinely essential. Certain weather conditions can drive this point home better than any explanation. Several different types are available, including ND and CPL filters, to correct for conditions such as strong sunlight, and to reduce glare, improve color saturation, and the like.

Polar Pro Filter 6-Pack

Of course, you’ll want batteries. Having spares is a must. However, you may want to consider higher-capacity models instead of just spares. First, please consider whether the heavier weight would be fine for your setup.

3DR Solo Quadcopter Bundle with Gimbal for GoPro HERO3+ / HERO4 and Spare Battery

Now, the big one: FPV systems (First-Person View). An FPV system allows you to see on a small monitor what the drone sees up above, and to control the drone in the process. For many, this is the cream of the crop of drone video capture, as you can clearly see what you’re recording and can maneuver the drone from more of a pilot’s perspective.

Traditional FPV systems feature a camera, transmitter, receiver, and monitor all as separate items. The camera and transmitter are attached to the drone, the receiver and monitor stay with you on the ground, and a live feed is transmitted from one set to the other.

However, most of today’s consumer drones, like the DJI models, have everything incorporated into a complete, all-in-one system. The camera and transmitter are built in, and the video gets sent in real time to the dedicated remote controller that comes included with the drone. The controller provides an HDMI port, and all you need to do is connect a monitor (any on-camera type monitor) to that port. Some monitors, like the Elvid SkyVision models, are designed specifically for drones. The SkyVisions, for example, come with a special bracket that lets you mount them right on top of the controller. Alternatively, you can also connect special goggles or glasses instead of a monitor and feel even more like a pilot.

Elvid SkyVision 7" Wireless Aerial Imaging Monitor, Battery & Charger Kit

But, very importantly, these all-in-one systems are not all the same. Each system is proprietary. Some transmit over the 5.8 GHz frequency, some over Wi-Fi, and some over both. So, when thinking FPV, you must treat every drone on a case-by-case basis. And you can browse our line of accessories for FPV systems and match things up accordingly.

VUFINE Headband Mount

Now, briefly on to the special accessories, with which we’ll end. These include launch/landing pads, lens cleaners, lens covers, decal/sticker sets for personalizing your drone, and even instructional DVD courses and computer-based simulators that teach you how to fly like a pro. There is a variety of them. If you’re interested in seeing the rest, check them out, categorized by drone, on the B&H website.

Hoodman Drone Launch Pad

2 Comments

Thank you. I can see how this would be useful to the person who isn't even a novice drone user yet.                                                                               I can imagine many of these types need a small shot of reality in what they may be getting themselves into.                                                            Good Primary Info!

unless you have just arrived from Mars that is the most useless, BHP sales driven ramble i have ever read. in short, bollocks. write some useful stuff.

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