View Full Version : Easiest, high quality drone to intercut with Sony FS7 a7S etc.?

10-28-2016, 03:46 AM
Im thinking about getting a good drone as an addition to my business. But from what i can see, theres not much difference between Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 for example. Inspire 1 raw looks tempting but the file size will be insane, since its Cinema DNG on SSD.

What drone solutions is there that is good quality on the image?

Im thinking a little about the Dji M600 with Ronin-MX carrying a Sony a7S II as well. But then its a very high-end cost compared to the Dji Inspire 1 series.

10-28-2016, 04:02 AM
I've intercut P4 video with both FS7 and A7SII and it matches well. Quality wise both FS7/A7SII are way above the P4 but in the end it looks fine in 1080p.

10-28-2016, 07:01 AM
Buy a used Phantom 3 professional for cheap (same quality as Phantom 4), fly it around for a bit and decide if the quality will be good enough. Sell it after and you probably don't even lose any money. A Phantom/Mavic is the easiest and cheapest solution, so if it works for you, go for it. An Inspire RAW is also pretty easy, but not cheap. A Matrice/Ronin MX is neither cheap nor easy, but the most flexible.

I actually had this same decision not long ago and went with the DJI Inspire RAW (X5r). File size is a pain, but really it's not that big of a deal. Each card lasts 45 minutes, and you can start and stop recording midflight to only get the good stuff, so the cards actually last quite a while for me. Offload and generate prores files and toss the CDNGs if you'd like. Or just use the MicroSD proxies that are the same quality as the normal X5, but that seems like a waste to me.

Quality on the X5R is very good, and you have a selection of lenses you can use. In good light, I'd definitely take the X5r raw over an a7s. It's pretty much like shooting GH4 raw video. Fun to use on an Osmo as well for ground work.

Shooting with an integrated camera like a Phantom 4 or Inspire is also much easy than a separate camera. Being able to start/stop recording, change camera settings seems minor but was actually a pretty big deal for me that makes life much easier. That and the size/setup time of the Matrice was the deciding factor for me. Matrice + Ronin MX is really great when you have an entire crew and have professional drone pilots. For small crews, one-man band type gigs, an Inspire is the way to go.

Honestly, I'd probably hold off on buying any Inspire for now though. Seems like a DJI Inspire 2.0 announcement is imminent. That should send down prices on the originals, and maybe they'll have an upgraded version of the X5r that does some sort of prores recording

10-28-2016, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the tip!

I bought a P3 Advanced to learn to fly with, but after just two tries i find it so easy to go zig zag between trees and what not that im already looking at getting a proper camera drone to supply with my business.

Thinking about getting a P4 for now, and then getting the next Inspire announcement. That its getting old has crossed my mind, so thank you for "verifying" that for me.

I agree on the hassle with M600 and a7S. It will definetly take longer time to set up. But im mostly into nature and landscape shots for my own documentaries, and i really dislike watching other docs where you have great quality equipment, but then they cut to a low quality drone that just sucks on colors and contrast. So i think i would rather have a P4 + M600 & a7S than to compromise.

But the Inspire Raw is very interesting. Just shame with the CinemaDNG. I dont do ProRes on Windows, but DnxHD is an equally good codec for 10 bit storage i guess. Its just more work, id rather just have 10 bit 4K in the drone footage, dont need raw, really.

10-28-2016, 11:52 AM
To me at least footage from my P4 is borderline to be considered as good quality but somehow it looks fine in the end. I have a Mavic on order and probably go with that and ditch my P4 as the Mavic is something I can bring with me more times.

I myself wouldn't want to handle a larger drone or a more complex setup, even if the footage looked excellent. I just want it to be as free as possible from to much hassle. Otherwise it might end up as a dust collector.

10-29-2016, 05:24 AM
+1 Osslund. At least for my own docs and projects.

A larger drone would in part be mostly for the really big stuff, or for other paying clients.

How would you rate the Mav vs. P4? Same image but more versatile drone? The size do look amazing.

11-08-2016, 02:22 PM
I'd consider P4 and Mavic are on par with each other. The thing with that tiny Mavic is portability.

As I have a Think Tank TakeOff roller/backpack for my Sony A7SII system (body and four lenses), Zhiyun Crane gimbal AND there's room for a Mavic with conroller and batteries inside, it means I only need to bring one bag! My P4 on the other is inside a large B&W 61 case...

11-18-2016, 08:34 PM
The thing with aerials is unless you're making a video of all aerial stuff, it's going to be a tiny part of a much bigger whole. If the subject of the aerials is pretty, hardly anyone's going to notice what kind of camera/drone it was shot on... especially on a 1-2 second cut in a much larger piece.

We get really hung up on technical details, but in the end... if the shot's a stunner it doesn't matter if it was shot on a Phantom or an Alta with a RED hanging under it. The same goes if it's a crappy shot.

I've seen mind-blowingly beautiful stuff shot on a Phantom 2 with a GoPro under it... but I've seen a lot more complete shit shot with much nicer cameras/drones.

In reality, this is not that much different from ANY material, terrestrial or aerial.

11-19-2016, 12:40 AM

I'm buying the phantom 4 pro and I'm confident it'll cut well with my FS7. The extra dynamic range and better codec and bit rate will be good enough for me.

If you have deeper pockets he inspire 2 and x5s shooting raw or prores etc will give you the closest match to the FS7 on a ready to fly platform with the ease of use as a Phantom.

11-19-2016, 10:09 AM
Martin - I've hired pilot with the Inspire 1 on several occasions... and without shooting log or raw, find the footage to match pretty well with my FS7. But I think for best results and most dynamic shots, the Inspire is a two-person operation, one to pilot/fly and the other to man the camera and controls.
It's certainly an interesting time and multiple choices now in the drone world...

Joshua Milligan
11-26-2016, 08:02 AM
I just finished shooting a project using the Phantom 4 with my FS7, A7SII and A6300 and I feel it cut relatively well with them. As jbregar said, the aerial shots are just a few clips of a much larger piece, so if they are shot well, most people will only admire the video as a whole and not focus on whether or not the drone looked slightly different than the other cams. Philip Bloom has done an excellent job over the last couple years using both the Phantom series and the Inspire series to cut with his FS7 and A7 series cameras. His work looks great!

All that being said, I did take back my P4 because right after I bought it for my project the P4 Pro was announced. My camera store worked with me to help me change out the P4 for the P4 Pro. While I do feel the P4 did a great job in cutting with my other cams for my recent shoot, I do believe that the 24mm lens with the higher bitrate and bigger sensor will give me just a bit more to work with when interjecting aerial footage into my projects. The better lens and extra dynamic range won't hurt either. I truly believe that this $1,400 drone can be good enough for most projects, even when cutting along side much better cameras. It's quite amazing really.

04-30-2017, 03:59 AM
I ended up with a Phantom 4 Pro for work and Mavic Pro for docs/hiking/sports.

Inspire needs a higher end FAA equivalent licence in Norway because of weigth. While i dont need any exam to shoot with the lighter drones. Ive only had a handful requests from clients about drone photography, so that excluded the Inspire for my part. Im a filmmaker, not a drone pilot. Once i had that decided, the choice was easy.