What Gear Do I Use?
I’m often asked about the kind of gear I use to shoot for different clients and jobs. Although I’m on a budget and don’t have all of the fanciest toys, there are a few drone accessories and pieces of gear that you shouldn’t go without. I’d like to share my thoughts with you on my current build out and how it’s working for me, both in hobby shoots and professional work. If you’re interested in learning more, send me a note using the email at the bottom of the page!
Drones & Accessories
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
My P3 Pro is my reliable daily driver. Every shoot I know it’s going to be stable, reliable, and get great footage. I’m scheduled to upgrade to the Phantom 4 Pro shortly, but The P3 pro is 80% of the way there…for the money this drone is a very solid value buy. I would advise taking a solid look at this drone if you’re interested in stepping up from the cheaper drones and getting into professional work. It’s easy to get caught up in having the latest and newest things, but sometimes good is good enough! The P3 Pro is a very powerful tool if you learn how to use it. Check it out on Amazon here.
Ipad Mini 2
The Ipad Mini 2 is exactly what I need for increasing my flight monitor from phone to tablet size. It makes a huge difference for ease of use, reviewing shots, seeing the surroundings, and sharing with others around you. The P3 pro remote control easily extends to hold the ipad, so you’ll be able to link them up with no problem. The DJI GO app runs great and video playback is crisp and bright. Using an ipad also will save you battery life on your phone and avoid having calls or texts interrupt your flight. You’ll want to invest in a sunshade like I have, as well as a lanyard to take off some of the extra weight on the controller. Get your ipad mini 2 here!
Skyreat Range Extender
The Skyreat range extender is probably the one accessory that has delivered the most ‘bang for the buck’. For about $15, it has boosted my signal strength to 4 bars (full!) over areas full of interference. This has allowed me to get incredible shots from over a mile away! Highly recommend that you pick these up here if you are working with a DJI phantom or Inspire.
Hard Shell Backpack
This isn’t the nicest backpack on the market but man, does it get the job done. The foam cutouts on the inside provide a nice sense of security for your P3 or P4, while having space for up to 3 batteries, the controller and a few additional accessories. I can fit everything from my sunshade to the ipad in here with the drone and it is fairly innocuous to boot. It fits as a carry-on for most planes too, if you’re interested in bringing your drone with you on your travels. One bad thing about this bag is that it comes on the slow boat from China…expect a few weeks for delivery. Grab yours from Amazon here.
64GB SanDisk Micro SD Card
These SD cards haven’t let me down yet. Plenty of space to hold 4K footage and they load really quickly. Your most difficult challenge will be keeping track of them! I have 3 that I rotate frequently, and it’s a good idea to have a backup. Pick up a few on the cheap here.
Amazon Prime Subscription
We can all agree here – when you’re looking for a product that’s well reviewed and will get delivered in a few days, you look at Amazon. I use Amazon Prime to get drone accessories delivered when I need them (usually 2 days because I can’t plan ahead!). I enjoy the reviews and price comparisons that give me confidence to buy the right drone or accessory.
Here’s a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, on me. Check it out and see for yourself!
Software, Editing, and Hosting
Bluehost Website Hosting
As a first time website creator, I had no idea where to start. Bluehost’s one-click wordpress install was super helpful in getting this site off the ground. Plus, I’m still bootstrapping the site and any dollar saved is a big help. Check out Bluehost at the link above and get started with a site of your own…and let me know when you do!
ASUS ROG Laptop (16GB DDR4 RAM, 1 TB HD, 128 GB SSD)
If you’re a MS windows user that wants to edit 4K video, this laptop will handle it. It will also handle a to of other applications, from gaming to memory-intensive applications. Very solid performer with a bright, large screen to allow you for complete creative control. This isn’t the laptop for everyone, but it handles the intense editing and 4K rendering. It’s on Amazon here if you’re interested in taking a look.
Lightroom is a great way to edit your aerial stills and really make them pop. There are endless tutorials online that will teach you how to do simple edits that go a long way. I use Lightroom for all of my stills but am hoping to move into photoshop and premiere pro once I get a few more clients under my belt. Lightroom comes with Photoshop as part of Adobe’s cloud plan and can be had for about $10 a month. Check it out here! (Yes that’s my pic of Cincinnati in the background!)
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is a great video editing software package. If you’re working with a windows PC like I am, then you need to consider working with Adobe. The color grading, stabilization, and effects really will make your work stand out. Check it out here!