Fun video footage of a tournament (DJI Spark)

TrueJim

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I think this is just kinda fun/unique to watch. I have a DJI Spark drone (the DJI Sparks are an amazing value) and I was given permission to use it to record video at this past weekends DC Taekwondo Open & Kukkiwon Cup.

We received a ton of questions from people at the tournament about the use of a drone to record tournament video -- in fact, I think this might be a trend that catches on bigly. Using a drone to record tournament video certainly provides a unique angle on the action. And the drones themselves are becoming super-easy to fly, and fairly affordable. As an example, the DJI Spark does automatic station-keeping -- when it's indoors, it uses its downward-pointing sensors to automatically maintain a stable location -- you don't have to touch the controls. (When its outdoors, it uses its GPS for station-keeping.)

Now I'm wondering what'll happen in a few years when 20 people all show up at the tournament wanting to fly drones...it may become another thing that tournament organizers need to manage.

 

CB Jones

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Awesome.

I'v been wanting to do the same but not real familiar with drones. I'll have to take a look at that.
 
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TrueJim

TrueJim

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Awesome.

I'v been wanting to do the same but not real familiar with drones. I'll have to take a look at that.

At this point in time, there's really only 1 "inexpensive" drone that's worth considering, in my opinion. That's the DJI Spark. That's because more than another other affordable drone on the market right now, this drone is truly intended to be a flying camera, rather than a toy for flying. (I have no stake in DJI -- this is my independent opinion. I'm into cameras, I'm not into drones.)

The drone itself costs $350, but you REALLY want to spend $500 for the complete beginner's bundle, which includes a dedicated controller, charger, and propeller guards.

Why the DJI Spark? The DJI Spark is smarter than I am. It has sensors all around the drone that make it trivial to fly. For example at a sporting event, you send it up into the air, you park it where you want it, point the camera at the action, and press the record button -- then you can walk away and get a beer. The drone does its own station-keeping, including altitude-keeping, without you having to touch the controls at all.

You get only about 10 minutes to a battery, so I have 4 batteries. That was enough for me to more-or-less keep up with the action at the tournament. When a battery got low, I'd put it on the included charger (which charges 3 batteries at a time), pop in another battery, and by the time I needed another battery, there was usually one that was ready-to-go.

Of course the propellers were a little whiny, so I know one person complained about the buzzing noise, but honestly I could barely hear it above the hubbub of the tournament, and nobody else complained. In fact, the dedicated controller connects to your smartphone to give you a real-time video feed, so lots of refs who weren't busy came over to watch the video as it was being recorded. The actual recording takes place on the drone itself, on a micro-SD card.

If you do any kinds of sports photography or sports videography (as I do), I highly recommend adding this gizmo to your kit.
 

Archtkd

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Truejim: Thanks a lot for the post. I always consider and have found acquiring good camera equipment to be one of the best investments a dojang can make. Hadn't considered a drone, but I now do, after reading your review. It also could be a good purchase from the tax perspective.
 
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