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Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

DJI Phantom Standard 3 drone connects to a mobil device on the DJI GO app through it’s own WiFi network.

New technology is continually evolving. Taking a look at gizmos and gadgets that peek our interest and make our jobs as photojournalists a little easier and fun. For the first in the series, read Feather tech talk, No. 2.

The use of drones has become a technology phenomenon.

These flying gadgets have added yet another way to capture shots from the sky. Drones can now be used to reach areas for journalism that otherwise could not be reached by people. With easy access to the sky, in a cheaper way than a helicopter, photographers, video producers and journalist have a simpler way of getting the bird’s eye view.

Feather video journalist Austin Peterson, ’22, uses a DJI Mavic Pro-Platinum to capture unique aerial shots in his videos.

“I use my drone for aerial footage and especially at the beach going over the water,” Peterson said. “Drones introduce a new perspective to filming, it adds a new layer of footage where you can film a whole environment with a subject or get broll of places you couldn’t get to. We haven’t used drones specifically in most of our Feather videos, but on my personal Instagram, I posted a video that was all drone footage. It added a new “top-down” perspective. For example, I got footage of surfers from above, which could add more content to add than just a camera at eye level.”

Drones open up another way journalists can record and photograph news around the world. They are used to film live events, scope out natural disasters by seeing an overall view and reach otherwise unreachable territories.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Drone controllers can hold a mobil device that connects to the drone’s camera for filming uses and to see the location of the drone for flying purposes.

Not only are they beneficial to the news and other forms of media but it can also help oversee agriculture. The use of drones with cameras can help farmers analyze their crops by seeing an aerial view of the fields. 

To capture a new perspective from above also allows movie and commercial producers a different shot. In past years, directors hired helicopters to film an above view. Now drone controllers are able to access the above shot with ease at a much lower cost.

Other ways drones are used is the ability to find criminals faster, analyzing wildlife and observing dangerous locations that would be too risky for people.

With this new technology on the rise and growing popularity with the public, new rules are made in order to maintain privacy. Drones are becoming more and more accessible to citizens. This leads to the risk of privacy. Police now set up no flying zones in areas to limit unwanted media.

CNET Twitter features a video below of the DJI Mavic Pro drone and the functions it offers at a price

Police and the government are not the only groups of people who are concerned with drones flying in public areas. According to Pew Research Center, 54 percent of public people think drones should not fly in rural areas with the fear of being spied on.

Former video journalist on The Feather and alumnus Jaden Ventura, ’18, uses his DJI Mavic Pro drone for different perspective shots in his videos. Ventura also makes sure the location he flies the drone is allowed and does not fly in areas that will not permit him.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

The DJI Phantom Standard 3 drone can reach up to .5 miles and stay connected to the controller. The DJI Mavic Pro can reach 4.35 miles.

“I definitely prefer using the drone for videography over photography,” Ventura said. “The perspective a drone gives to a video is more powerful than just an aerial image. Using a drone shot to establish a location or give the audience an angle they’ve never seen before is so more skiable to me than a still shot is.

“Like I previously stated,” Ventura continued. “I use drone shots to establish locations or gives the audience new perspectives to a scene that they’ve probably seen shot the same way over and over. There have been a few time when I have wanted to fly my drone yet wasn’t able to since I was too close to an airport or within a national forest but I’ve never encountered any security or have had any authorities approach me.”

For beginners, the lower end drones for a cheaper cost are recommended for learning experience. An example of an affordable quadcopter is the Hubsan X4 for approximately $30. From here, they begin to increase in price. For more quality in photography the  DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ starts at a cost of $450. This flying device has a higher performance in ariel photography. One of the most expensive drones is the DJI Matrice 100 for $3,300. 

Before any novice takes the air, be sure to look up local laws in your region on flying restrictions and permitted flying zones. This precaution ensures public safety to local citizens on the matter of privacy and air traffic control near airports.

The Fresno Yosemite International Airport recommends citizens who fly drones for recreational purposes to never fly near airports or aircraft. Other guidelines to follow include flying at or below 400 ft., stay away from groups of people, keep the drone within sight and stay away from emergency locations such as fires.

Drones can be found for purchase at Amazon and Best Buy.

Check out Fresno Bee’s article on drones: Measure aims to regulate drone use over private property.

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