This epic video is what happens when a pro racing drone pilot turns on the camera

Feb 16, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This epic video is what happens when a pro racing drone pilot turns on the camera

Feb 16, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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These days, drone videos have all become a bit… samey. But that’s largely because most people shooting drone videos are all using the same drones. The vast majority of which are made by DJI. DJI makes some fantastic drones, capable of shooting some incredible video. But they’re too “safe”. Designed to be stable, steady, predictable, and easy.

But what happens when you take away that safety? That stability? That predictability? Well, that’s when you’re really forced to learn how to fly.

Johnny Schaer (Johnny FPV) is a pro drone racer. His drones are designed to be light, quick, nimble, fly upside down and through all kinds of crazy flightpaths that DJI’s drones could never achieve. And when somebody with the skill of Johnny turns on the camera, that’s when you get results like the video above.

To shoot the footage, Johnny used a drone built around the AstroX X5 Freestyle Frame (JohnnyFPV edition, obviously) frame with a GoPro Hero 7. It has no GPS, no gimbal, no stabilisation, no collision avoidance, none of those safety features that make more commercial drones predictable and easy to fly. He relies purely on his own skill to move the drone where he wants to move it and when.

Learning to fly like this is not easy. It takes a lot of practice to get anywhere even close to this good. It also requires some knowledge of electronics to be able to get all the components talking to each other and running perfectly, responding the way you expect them to do in an instant. I’ve built my own drones before, and it’s not that easy, especially when you’re creating your own unique drone designs in order to be better than the other guys.

I think everybody who wants to seriously learn drones should have a go at building their own at some point. No, it won’t have the fancy automated selfie modes of the Mavic Air or the stability of the Inspire 2. And, chances are it won’t have a Hasselblad camera. But what it will do, is really teach you how to fly. And, because you built it yourself, when you crash it – which you will – you’ll know exactly how to fix it.

[via Fstoppers]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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26 responses to “This epic video is what happens when a pro racing drone pilot turns on the camera”

  1. Carl Wilson Avatar
    Carl Wilson

    Amazing

  2. Paul Monaghan Avatar
    Paul Monaghan

    Amazing

  3. Sharitt Avatar
    Sharitt

    wow.

  4. Khirmer Siedrik Avatar
    Khirmer Siedrik

    respect_ so much respect to the person who took the video.

    1. Mark Star Avatar
      Mark Star

      And so little for the wildlife

  5. Sebastiaan Bras Avatar
    Sebastiaan Bras

    Only thing is those rhinos are fleeing of the drone… ?

  6. Lee Ballard Avatar
    Lee Ballard

    Whilst not going into the rhino chasing or the suspect Venice clip, it’s nice to see an FPV racer video that isn’t the same loop the loop, fly low, repeat. I’ve seen Johnny’s videos before and he’s an outstanding pilot.

  7. Ying Tong Avatar
    Ying Tong

    Different ball game.

  8. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    Overuse of drone shots has gotten quite annoying and overused, like slider shots a few years ago.
    But this… Damn. Those drift shots and clif jump were fuken orgasmic.

  9. waitwhat Avatar
    waitwhat

    Always screwing up an fpv video with trap music

  10. Mark Star Avatar
    Mark Star

    No doubt being used for commercial use, his drone is NOT certified for that.

    1. Frank Sarfino Avatar
      Frank Sarfino

      Actually your incorrect with a 107 any uav is fine for commercial use provided it weighs less than 55lbs

      1. Mark Star Avatar
        Mark Star

        Common misconception. And even if he had a commercial permit, he is irresponsible flying to close to wildlife. No worries, the internet will catch up to him. But I hope that lion destroyed his drone. So irresponsible, not to mention illegal.

        1. Frank Sarfino Avatar
          Frank Sarfino

          At the time of the filming the game wardens were on site and monitoring the flight. From my understanding he was being contracted through Nat Geo as well.

        2. Siva Haran Avatar
          Siva Haran

          Here is an excerpt from Johnny’s instagram: I’m in South Africa learning about the steps @vetpaw, @karmagawa, and @rhinorescueproject are taking to combat poachers. These Rhinos are being killed and pushed toward extinction for their horns which provide no medicinal value. The two Rhinos seen In the video were near a road that is actively used by poachers, and under the supervision of Vetpaw and the private game reserve, we used the drone try and push them to a safer area. While this shot turned out beautiful, I should not have flown this close to the animals. Please visit @vetpaw for more information on how you can save these Rhinos.

  11. Mark Hill Avatar
    Mark Hill

    Excellent footage, but I am not a fan of harassing wildlife and historic monuments.

  12. greginaustin Avatar
    greginaustin

    Stability of an Inspire 2? Somebody hasn’t flown an I2 lately….

  13. disqus_DBHX1IDRNz Avatar
    disqus_DBHX1IDRNz

    I loved it all except when “in the lions space” at the end. Being I’m very partial to lions and raise awareness for their plight, I so hate my species for the things some do that negatively affect wildlife, like there’s some right we have, like it was all put here for us, like so many think they special..

    1. Carsten Schlipf Avatar
      Carsten Schlipf

      Same for hunting the Rhinos

      1. SerengetiLion Avatar
        SerengetiLion

        I so agree man. Seriously that goes for all wildlife…

    2. bart4u Avatar
      bart4u

      I agree the drone just scared the wild animals. Best to just edit them out of the piece. Better just to replace it with a dog catching a ball or something like that. As long as the dog is used to the drone. Other than that it was very skilled flying.

  14. Phil Chia Avatar
    Phil Chia

    Can do with my 250 Racing Quad + GPro7. Just need about 1000h practice and 10 replacements from crashes ahhaha

  15. Jason Timmons Avatar
    Jason Timmons

    More like johnn6 has alot of opputunityaverage person doesnt, i have a 3dr and if i play with it i can get it do do all kinds of stunts also just by changing my settings

  16. Robert Lawton Avatar
    Robert Lawton

    I’ve got a couple of Mavic Pros with all the bells and whistles. It turns out only a few of its features are useful:
    – GPS with RTH (return to home)

    – gimbal
    – stabilization
    – decent camera

    All the rest of its features are pretty much useless. There is no substitute for learning to fly.

  17. Dennis Chua Avatar
    Dennis Chua

    lol doubt dji drones can maneuver that fast lol

  18. Phil Chia Avatar
    Phil Chia

    Dennis Chua actually DJI automations PREVENT you pulling moves like this!