Ever wish you could fly a fighter jet and feel the rush of flying fast and low through tight spaces? Unless you enlist in the Air Force, piloting an FPV drone is about as close as you can get.
What is an FPV drone?
Imagine if you did get to fly a fighter jet. What would you see? You would be able to look out into the vast expanse of the sky, and gaze down at the ground far below. You would be flying in what the pros call, “first person.”
Usually, this isn’t how it works when you’re flying a drone. While almost any drone can be equipped with a camera or other sensory device, pilots usually fly them “third person.” while looking up at the drone in the air and watching it move in whichever direction they send it.
FPV, or “First Person View,” allows drone pilots to fly like a fighter pilot would, using a screen to see exactly what the drone’s mounted camera sees, in real-time. One of the great benefits of this view is that it lets pilots feel like they’re in the cockpit themselves.
What are FPV drones used for?
Cinematography Any video of a couple walking down a beach during the sunset is going to be beautiful (with a decent camera, of course), but now imagine you can film around them in a full 360-degree swoop before zooming out and panning up to see the ocean, the beach and the sunset in all their glory. By seeing exactly what the drone sees in real-time, a good pilot and sharp cinematographer can capture immersive footage that makes viewers feel like they’re in the driver’s seat. While FPV drone technology is still relatively new to the world of cinematography, Hollywood hits like Red Notice have tapped into its potential and used FPV drones to create powerful scenes—particularly in high-speed action sequences.
Racing What would the point of FPV technology be if there weren’t pilots out there ready and willing to test its limits? FPV drone racing pits the best pilots against one another in obstacle-filled courses at 50 feet. These competitions test pilots’ ability to dive, swerve, ascend and maneuver with agility for the fastest times. If you actually got into drones because you wished you could be a real pilot, FPV racing is probably right up your alley.
Anything that requires fast, accurate tracking While traditional drones are great for capturing wide shots or surveying large areas, FPV allows pilots to fly with much greater precision (with some practice, of course) and to focus on much smaller targets. This is valuable not just in filmmaking, but during security incidents as well. FPV drones are also invaluable for tracking wildlife and helping conservation efforts. And that’s just the beginning. As with most new technologies, there are many other creative applications that have yet to be explored.
Why aren’t all drones FPV drones?
In theory, any drone that can carry a camera can become an FPV drone, but the specialized equipment necessary to fly first-person isn’t necessary for most drone projects, like conducting traffic studies, inspecting roofs or photographing construction sites.
FPV flying also requires advanced camera equipment and a low-latency transmission so there are no delays in what the pilot sees on the screen. Meanwhile, cinematic-grade camera equipment has only recently become small enough to mount on a small, fast drone and deliver the kind of quality footage that viewers are looking for.
However they are used, FPV drones are an exciting new frontier for pilots, filmmakers and hobbyists alike. With the right technology and talented drone operations in place, FPV drones are ready for takeoff.
Need FPV footage for a project?
Contact the drone geeks at Extreme Aerial