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.