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    Buy a drone or not?
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    Senior Member scorsesefan's Avatar
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    I'm considering buying a drone for the first time, but I'm not sure how much use I'm going to get out of it. I live in NYC and there are only a handful of parks that allow you to fly a drone within the 5 boroughs. On the other hand I do a good deal of shooting on Long Island (a suburb of NYC) where there are less restrictions. I don't do much corporate or real estate work, etc. Just documentaries at this point...

    Thinking back on my last few docs I could have used a drone a few times (mostly to establish the documentary's location). I was thinking of the Mavic Air 2:https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...BoCoYYQAvD_BwE

    Are the filmmakers out there that own drones gathering dust or are they using them often? Thoughts?

    Thanks


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    Sometimes 2-3 drone shots in a nice project is worth the entire investment for something as cheap as above because of how impressed clients become. If executed well, you could leave a good impression on them which is obviously good for business.

    If nothing else, you could probably get some cool stock footage at RM or Jones Beach.


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    I bought a mavic mini recently and been getting up to speed on that. It's not as feature rich as the Mavic pro 2 but I'm impressed with the footage so far for real estate use. latest firmware allows setting white balance and I think it can lock exposure setting. The Mavic pro 2 has an obstacle avoidance feature that the mini doesn't have. That could come in very handy around buildings.


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    They're not that expensive (depending on the model) and are a good bit of kit to have.

    On the other hand, most decent models are made in China, and due to political developments it may soon become very difficult to get dependable support (not that it's very easy to begin with... my Mavic Air developed sudden violent left turns, and I cannot get them to respond to my submitted ticket for the life of me).
    Pudgy bearded camera guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorsesefan View Post
    I'm considering buying a drone for the first time, but I'm not sure how much use I'm going to get out of it. I live in NYC and there are only a handful of parks that allow you to fly a drone within the 5 boroughs. On the other hand I do a good deal of shooting on Long Island (a suburb of NYC) where there are less restrictions. I don't do much corporate or real estate work, etc. Just documentaries at this point...

    Thinking back on my last few docs I could have used a drone a few times (mostly to establish the documentary's location). I was thinking of the Mavic Air 2:https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...BoCoYYQAvD_BwE

    Are the filmmakers out there that own drones gathering dust or are they using them often? Thoughts?

    Thanks
    Could you have legally flown a drone for your last few documentaries?

    At the prosumer level, it sounds like owning a drone in NYC sucks. Dedicated drone specialists with clearance to fly, NYC is one of the best places on earth (I love those shots with a long lens looking straight down as it passes over the apex of a building, as seen in many trailers).

    I'm finding it a tough sell to buy given your location, infrequent use (this may change) and rental prices, which are surely next to nothing?

    Don't think for a second it will be a fun hobby. If you're under 95 years old you'll be bored before the end of your first flight. It's a tool just like a zoom lens. I'm sure some people find it relaxing, good for coordination, reasons to be outside etc. but that doesn't sound like a concern for you.

    I held off on drones for a long time but had a project where I planned to bring someone in with a phantom 4. The client had a phantom 3 and was wondering why we couldn't use their drone. I killed two birds with one stone - not needing to pay someone for a fairly cheap product and owning a better drone than the client paying me to make the video.

    If you do enough out of state filming where you'll be allowed to fly then it's a no brainer. Also, maybe opportunities will arise that otherwise wouldn't exist. As well as corporates, I've used a phantom 4 for long form news and collected footage for an artist that was shown in an exhibition, played on huge screens - cool experiences that happened because of the drone.


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    Senior Member scorsesefan's Avatar
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    @norbro have you shot at RM or Jones beach? I live right next to Forest Park and as far as I know drones are legal there... @Sneakle I was looking at the Mavic Mini but no 24p was a deal killer to me... Mcbob, Mavic doesn't have a US support center?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mcbob View Post
    They're not that expensive (depending on the model) and are a good bit of kit to have.

    On the other hand, most decent models are made in China, and due to political developments it may soon become very difficult to get dependable support (not that it's very easy to begin with... my Mavic Air developed sudden violent left turns, and I cannot get them to respond to my submitted ticket for the life of me).
    Our inspire 2 repair request was really fast but I can only imagine how poor the support would be for the mavic line. As well as valid requests, there would be countless beginners clogging up the system with completely avoidable questions. I'll probably get a mavic at some point but won't be surprised if there are issues. Sudden violent left turns doesn't sound good though!


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    Quote Originally Posted by scorsesefan View Post
    @norbro have you shot at RM or Jones beach?
    Hundreds of times over the last 10 years (including Montauk, Hamptons, Gilgo, Long Beach, etc), but never with a drone and rarely ever in the summer because it's too crowded. Usually fall/winter/spring when it's pretty much empty for random camera tests.

    Depending on the beach, besides a fee you'll also need to live locally to enter.

    JB and RM are open for everyone and $10/day unless you have a summer pass.


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    Senior Member scorsesefan's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've shot at RM and Jones. Not a drone though. I was born in Manhattan but move to Suffolk county when I was young and then moved back to Queens...


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    When I first used a drone quite a few years back, think first phantom. Drones needed to be "flown". You really needed to get the flying skill part down first. I havent used drones for awhile simply because it's been easier to use a licensed pro for shooting commercial work. I flew a friends mavic 2 pro for a few minutes recently, and that thing is amazing. Let's you focus on the shots you want and the style rather than the pure flying part. Loved it.
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