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Rik Cordero over at RunPlayBack.com put together a nice BTS look from one of his recent projects. The new music video for rapper Joey Bada$$ was put together using fairly accessible consumer priced equipment.

A Varavon 3-Axis Birdycam Gimbal was used to help stabilize the handheld and tracking shots. A broad throw of light was offered up by the massive ePhoto R640 LED Ring Light (found here), and a GoPro HERO4 on a DJI Phantom Quadcopter with FPV setup was used for aerials. According to Rik, this massive 640 LED Ring Light was extremely versatile and used almost throughout the entire video. I'm a big fan of this light as well.

find-price-button ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light

The video was shot using the Panasonic GH4 camera (currently on sale here) with mostly old Canon FD Lenses and a Metabones FD Speedbooster.

Here's a look at the BTS video.

And here's a look at the final edited piece

I'm just throwing up a bit of a summary here, but you can read an entire article about the workflow and tools used on this and other projects over at Rik's site http://RunPlayBack.com


About a year and a half ago, DJI Released it's first Phantom Quadcopter capable of mounting a GoPro. At the time it was an amazing value for a ready-to-fly quadcopter that was both easy to fly and loaded with features for the beginner, but it also had several issues that needed additional add-ons for camera use.

The GoPro mount caused severe Jello effects in video, which meant adding on various mounts or an aftermarket 3 axis gimbal. Without an FPV (first person view) Video stream you basically maneuvered the quad in hopes the camera was positioned for framing correctly. Without the FPV stream the operator needed to maintain a visual on the unit to steer the copter. This would limit the distance you could fly. Even if you could add an FPV stream, with all of the extra gear your flight time dropped below 10 minutes.

Fast forward today, DJI has released several new products catering to the Phantom Quadcopter line including the Phantom 2, a new 3 Axis Gimbal for the GoPro, the Phantom Vision (built in camera), and now the Phantom 2 Vision+ (built in camera with 3 Axis Gimbal).

DJI Phantom Vision Plus Quadcopter
find-price-button DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter + Hard Case + Extra Battery + microSD

My top pick for the best and easiest Ready-To-Fly off the shelf quadcopter for imaging is the new DJI Phantom Vision+! The new Vision+ is now a joy to fly with up to 25 minutes in the air, comes with a built in camera on a super stable 3 Axis Gimbal that streams live video back to your Smartphone. For beginners looking to dive into Quadcopters capable of incredibly smooth, incredibly stable aerial photos and videos, I highly recommend the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. Here's a look at how easy it is to get setup for it's first flight.

The streaming video app takes all the guess work out of flying and shows important information like altitude, distance, and battery levels. Even if the unit is out sight, you can still fly through the video stream and tilt the camera through the smartphone. Without touching the remote the Phantom Vision hovers in the same spot. Stable enough they've also included a Timelapse setting in the app.

DJI Pahntom Vision Plus App GPS Fail Safe
DJI Vision App for Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter

In case you dare to fly too far, the DJI Phantom will switch into Fail Safe and fly back to the location of it's original launch (just make sure you have a clear path back). While I can't say the quality of the Vision+ camera is comparable to a GoPro, the entire Ready-To-Fly system is built to work seamlessly together offering longer flight times, stable imaging, and live video streaming.

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter can be akward to travel with, so I highly recommend a hard case, an extra battery for more play time, and you'll need a microSDHC card to store the videos and photos. The best bundle I have found comes as a complete kit with all of these extras and is available via B&H (click here).

DJI Phantom Kit hard case travel bag extra battery sd card
find-price-button DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter + Hard Case + Extra Battery + microSD

[Important Note: The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is not a toy. It is a serious flying machine. Consider your safety and the safety of others. Extreme care should be taken, and all rules, regulations, and laws should be considered at whatever location you choose to fly. ]


GoPro DJI Phantom Quadcopter DJI QuadCopter
find-price-button DJI Phantom GoPro Quadcopter Kit GPS + NAZA-M - eBay

The DJI Phantom Quadcopter for the GoPro Hero cameras are still gaining popularity, but getting smooth footage is impossible without a few modifications. The first step is to ensure your rotors are balanced properly, and then start looking into a way to create an isolation mount for your camera. There's been several ideas on how to create this, but this DIY Wire Isolation Mount seems to be a great and more secure solution.

The single wire isolation mount design is adjustable to have more or less tension. A few web searches show how to DIY one yourself, or if you're not the DIY type, check out one ready made GoPro Hero Wire Isolation Mount for the DJI Phantom now available via eBay (click here).

iso wire gopro phantom jello fixGoPro Wire Mount
find-price-button DJI Phantom Single Wire Isolation Mount GoPro

DJI Phantom Quadcopters Currently on eBay


The latest buzz (no pun intended) for Flying GoPro cameras is the new DJI Phantom Quadcopter designed specifically to mount the GoPro Hero cameras. Unlike the more complicated copter systems out there, the DJI Phantom comes in a fully assembled complete kit (found here) where you just need to mount your GoPro (or other light cameras) and you are literally ready to start flying.

find-price-button DJI Phantom GoPro Quadcopter Kit GPS + NAZA-M - Ready to Fly

Even though it looks like a toy, it's a pretty advanced little copter. Check out a few highlights about the new DJI Phantom GoPro QuadCopter:

Phantom has an integrated flight dynamics system, the Naza-M + GPS multi-rotor autopilot system, as well as the dedicated remote controller and receiver. The proven stability of the Naza-M autopilot system allows you to easily achieve great flight performance.

With the built-in Naza-M autopilot system plus a GPS module, the Phantom has GPS Attitude and Attitude Control Mode. Pilots can switch between the two modes to achieve a particular flight experience.

Phantom also has the Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC) function of the Naza-M autopilot system.

Phantom also has the failsafe function of the Naza-M autopilot system. This means when the communication between the Main Controller and the transmitter is disconnected, the outputs of all command sticks from controller will go to the center position. If the GPS signal is good enough, the system will automatically trigger Return To Home and landing safely.

DJI Phantom GoPro Hero3 Flight

The DJI Phantom Quadcopter was announced several weeks ago, but only on a Pre-Order status. They are now showing In Stock status ready to ship. You can find additional photos, videos, and specifications following the link via eBay (click here).

GoPro DJI Phantom Quadcopter DJI QuadCopter
find-price-button DJI Phantom GoPro Quadcopter Kit GPS + NAZA-M - eBay

The DJI Phantom Quadcopter Ready-to-Fly kits are also available via Amazon (click here)

DJI Phantom QuadCopter GoPro Hero Flight
find-price-button DJI Phantom QuadCopter for GoPro Video Cameras - Amazon

Don't forget that the latest GoPro Hero3 (white, silver, and black editions) are smaller, lighter, offers more features, and higher video quality than previous GoPro cameras. Should be a killer match up with the DJI Phantom. You can get more information about GoPro's latest Hero3 from the official Official GoPro® Store.

GoPro Hero3 Black EditionBuy GoPro HERO Camera at GoPro.com
find-price-button GoPro Hero3 Black, Silver, and White Editions

DJI Phantom Quadcopters Currently on eBay