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The drone kit we use on production shoots

When you hire a professional drone team, it can be tricky to work out which drone kit package is best for your production needs. But fear not! Below is a detailed summary of the drone and camera equipment we use, and which sort of projects it’s best for. If you have any questions about choosing the right drone kit—please get in touch! We’d be happy to chat them over with you.

DJI INSPIRE 3

Cinema-level camera quality and 8K Raw/ProRes output with the portability, flight time and quick setup of much smaller drones.

  • Feature films
  • High-end TV
  • Commercials
  • Low light shoots
  • Travel and location work

The new and long-awaited Inspire 3 has taken all of the strengths of our workhorse Inspire 2 and made significant advances. The X9 camera has a Full Frame sensor outputting 8K resolution, offers dual native ISO (800/4000), and can shoot up to 120 frames per second.

These capabilities push it firmly into the ‘Cinema sector’ of the drone market, where previously only heavy-lift drones could lift large cinema cameras and lenses. The 4000 native ISO provides fantastic low-light performance, with full-night shoots being a real possibility. Lenses currently available are full-frame 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm, with a longer telephoto lens coming soon.

It can be flown by a single operator, or dual crew much like the Inspire 2, but the Inspire 3’s controllers both connect to the drone independently, meaning that the pilot and camera operator can now retain a link but be in completely separate locations. Very useful in some situations.

Dual-redundant batteries provide an extended flight time of around 25 minutes. It has a top speed of 58 mph, and can dive at a heart-stopping 22 mph! On the other end of the scale, we can take it down to a controlled slow crawl for intricate jib/crane shots.

RTK (real-time kinematic) functionality on the drone, when teamed with an RTK ground station, enables us to provide centimetre-accurate complex jib moves and repeat them exactly as many times as required—something no camera drone has been able to do before. The quality of the video link to both the main camera and the FPV pilot camera is exceptional, meaning we have far improved situational awareness while pulling off challenging shots.

Click here to see a quick edit celebrating our maiden voyage flying the DJI Inspire 3 drone. We’re very excited about this beast, and we can’t wait to capture some more uncharted beauty with it!

DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine

Huge flight times, tiny fold-away portability, Prores output with 5.1K resolution and mid-flight lens changes, means professional quality in even the most challenging locations.

  • Television
  • Documentary
  • Live Events
  • Sports
  • Online Content
  • Multi-location Travel

When I got my hands on the new Mavic 3 Pro, the first few flights were the most fun I’d had with a drone in several months.

It reminded me of how a drone isn’t just a camera in the sky—it can be a comprehensive storytelling tool that, when paired with an experienced pair of hands, can unlock unparalleled cinematic possibilities.

The 3-lens system is an absolute godsend. Never before have we been able to switch lenses mid-flight—normally having to land, power off, switch lenses and then go back up—not an option when capturing key events which may only happen once.

Switching from the Hasselblad 24mm lens to the 70mm brings a whole new dynamic in terms of shooting detail from an unobtrusive distance, and minds are blown when moving to the 166mm, at which point framed shots can ooze a parallax which was previously only reserved for big-budget helicopter shots.

Most at home in TV series, documentaries, live events, and high-end corporate and dynamic web content, this drone blends cutting-edge technology with an evolution in useability.

Previously, drones of this size could only deliver in H.264 or 265 (which the ‘non-Cine’ version of this drone is limited to) and this simply doesn’t stand up to any colour grading or post-production. Now we can deliver in Prores 422, which certainly puts us in the good books of the editor!

The HDMI output on the controller gives us the ability to hook up to an Outside Broadcast satellite truck, meaning we can provide a feed for live TV broadcasts. This feature came into its own on a recent BBC News story we worked on.

When paired with an experienced operator, this drone does squeeze about as much compelling narrative value as possible, from a single-op setup.

In unlocking the full potential of the Mavic 3 Pro Cine, we’re capturing the essence of the client’s vision, and creating compelling visual content that stands the test of time in today’s crowded media landscape.

Even after six months, on every job I fly this on I’m still getting shock-and-awe comments from Directors. Something I’ll never get bored of hearing!

DJI INSPIRE 2

The Inspire 2 improves every aspect of the iconic Inspire 1. This is our all-rounder. It’s well-suited to most shoots and can be operated by a single crew, or dual crew for more advanced shots or challenging environments.

With multiple flight modes, the aircraft can both move faster, and more slowly and steady, than other aircraft in its class.

A dual battery system provides both safety redundancy and extends flight times to over 20 minutes. Batteries have self-heating capability, enabling operation in colder temperatures than other drones couldn’t handle.

There are two camera options:

  1. The X7 camera can shoot video at 6K in 12-bit Raw, and 5.2K in 10-bit Prores HQ. Still, the images are at 24MP.
    Its Super 35mm sensor aligns with the standards of the movie industry, and its 14 stops of dynamic range and low-light capability surpass any other aerial camera of its size.
    Its native carbon fibre lenses provide focal lengths of 24mm, 38mm, 56mm and 85mm.
  2. The X5S camera has a micro four-thirds sensor, providing 5.2K in Raw or Prores HQ output, and still images of 21MP.
    Olympus lenses of 24mm, 30mm, 50mm and 90mm cover all the framing options.

Some jobs require slow, steady movement through the air. This is surprisingly difficult, as their small mass gives them lots of acceleration.

The Inspire 2 has a Velocity Clamp feature to ‘turn down’ its responsiveness, enabling smooth tracking movement at a walking pace.

It also has a high-speed mode, making it one of the fastest drones available with a top speed of 58 mph.

FPV 5″ RACING DRONE

Carrying a 4K GoPro, this high-speed racing quadcopter can fly up to 70mph and climb, dive, chase and roll very precisely. We fly it using video goggles that show a live feed of the drone’s camera, so the pilot has a ‘First Person View’ as if they were ‘inside’ the drone. This is what enables the drone to be flown in such a meticulous manner.

It’s great for filming large landscapes in a cinematic fashion such as mountains, valleys, tall buildings, rocky coastline, and forest canopies.

It’s also great for high-speed action sequences, extreme sports and dynamic coverage of any moving subject.

Click here to find out more about what our FPV filming capabilities can do for your production!

FPV 3.5″ CINEWHOOP DRONE

Carrying a 4K GoPro, this FPV drone is known as a ‘Cinewhoop’.

A Cinewhoop is a certain kind of FPV drone—it moves more slowly than the racing version, but it flies more smoothly. Cinewhoop’s propellers are protected by a padded frame, meaning it can be flown close to buildings, objects and people with minimal risk of damage if the drone was to come into contact with any of these.

We fly it using video goggles that show a live feed of the drone’s camera, so the pilot has a ‘First Person View’ as if they were ‘inside’ the drone. This is what enables the drone to be flown in such a meticulous manner.

Click here to see a mini-reel showing some of our recent indoor flying jobs.

The protected propellers make the Cinewhoop a perfect drone for indoor flying—tours of buildings, hotels, offices, real estate, events… really any internal space which would benefit from being shown off in a smooth, forward-moving motion.

The dull ‘building tour’ has now been given a rocket-propelled facelift, and using this drone, we can provide you with fascinating video content that your customers will really want to watch.

If people and interactions are choreographed into the movement too, the video becomes many times more engaging.

Click here to find out more about what our FPV filming capabilities can do for your production!

AERIAL 360/VR

We have been working with time-lapse and 360º specialist Steve Flanagan, to develop a high-quality drone VR and 360º solution.

Combining the smooth flight characteristics of the ALTA 6 aircraft with the cutting-edge Kandao Obsidian R camera, we’re able to produce a variety of outputs up to 8K resolution and 3D stereoscopic 360º content.

With our expertise in the latest optical flow stitching software, the removal of the drone provides a user-controlled spherical 360º environment for commercial, technical or educational purposes.

ALTA 6

The ALTA 6 is a refined cinematography rig designed to carry Freefly’s range of MoVI gimbals. Its party trick is the ability to carry the smaller M5 or larger M15 gimbal either underneath or above the aircraft on its top mount—this opens up a whole range of creative possibilities and in turn, makes the ALTA pretty unique in the world of professional UAVs. The Freefly ALTA unpacks and unfolds, ready to shoot, in under five minutes.

We most often use the Sony A7Sii or A7Rii cameras with this rig, but it can also carry other DSLRs such as the Canon 5D range, and PL mount cine prime lenses are also an option.

In terms of specialist setups, we’ve used the A7Sii with tilt-shift lenses in addition to removing the gimbal to attach 360º camera rigs, and we can also fit powerful lamps for dramatic lighting effects.

ALTA 8

We have access to an ALTA 8 octocopter, Freefly’s biggest drone with capability to lift the heaviest cinema payloads such as Arri Alexa Mini, RED Epic and Canon C500, with large lenses and remote focus and iris control.

With the capability to mount the MoVI M15 or MoVI Pro gimbals on both bottom and top mounts, this is a setup for high-end commercials, dramas and feature films where there must be no compromise on quality.

DJI MAVIC 2 PRO

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is our trusty and portable solution for lower-budget shoots, and its quiet manner and 25 minute flight time means it gets the job done with a minimum of fuss.

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro only offers solo-operator configuration, making it perfect for simple video shots, still photography, and shoots where many locations need to be covered in a day.

Its 1-inch Hasselblad sensor can provide 4K or HD video, and capture still images with a resolution of 20 megapixels.

Adjustable aperture and ability to add ND filters means we can expose image for any situation.

In terms of codecs it is limited to H.264, or H.265 which additionally enable us to record to a Log scale, giving a flat colour space better suited to colour grading.

DJI MINI 3 Pro

Don’t be fooled by the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s small size, this ultra-compact drone really packs a punch. Critically, this drone weighs 249 grams. This puts it under the 250g threshold, below which a drone doesn’t legally need to comply with the standard drone regulations requiring it to be separated by at least 50 metres from uninvolved people.

So because it can be flown over ‘persons not under our control’, it becomes very useful in congested areas and other places where some serious paperwork would be required to fly a bigger drone—some projects don’t have the budget or the time to allow for this paperwork.

It’s a significant step up in quality from our previous Mini 2. It has a flight time of 30+ minutes, and its 24mm lens can shoot 4K or HD video, and capture still images of 12 or 48 megapixels. The gimbal can also flip itself to shoot in portrait 9:16 aspect ratio, perfect for social media content. It can also shoot slow motion at up to 120fps!

This thing is tiny and whisper-quiet, meaning that usually, people don’t even know it is there!

The DJI Mini 3 Pro may be limited in terms of output, but it’s an incredibly useful tool to have in the kit bag for tricky locations where you just need to get the shot.

Robin Goodlet
Eco World London Development Company Ltd
Managing Director
Skyhook impressed with their thorough approach to the challenges of UAV flights at our Battersea site. They made me aware of the requirements for clearance in restricted airspace, and passed me copies of all their permission documents.
Whilst on site they operated in a safe and responsible manner, managing risk by ensuring that crane operators and other traffic were aware of their movements.
The end product was of high quality, and our management team in Kuala Lumpur received the files before the end of the day.
Ian Molyneux
RoundHouse Pictures
Producer

Outstanding service from initial contact through to the final shot and delivery. They raised the level of production far past our expectations. Very experienced in what they do, adaptable to what the day threw at us and delivered some fantastic work. Will work with them in the future and would highly recommend them to anyone who wants to take their production to the next level. Skyhook are the real deal.

Duncan Shears
Tech TV
Senior Producer

Skyhook helped us out on a logistically challenging shoot with utter professionalism and got us a fantastic final product. Highly recommended!

Chris MacDonald
Roberts Limbrick Architects
Graphics & Visualisation Specialist

Fantastic expertise and very knowledgeable. We have had several drone shoots so far which have been quite challenging (filming for CGI/camera tracking) and Skyhook has delivered each time.

Mia Xerri
Be The Fox
Producer

A brilliant team, who provided some excellent shots for our branded content series. We were so happy to work with them and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.

James Nee
Working Word PR
Head of Creative

Fantastic eye for the perfect aerial shot, very professional, and easy to work with. Initially commissioned to create content for a Welsh Water online promo, Skyhook’s footage was subsequently used on BBC News (broadcast and online), which was a testament to their good work.

Pete Fergusson
Nemorin Creative Film & Video
Owner

Chris and the team at Skyhook are second to none within the aerial filming industry. They take safety and the strict regulations seriously while at the same time capturing stunning images. Use these guys, they’re good.

Claire Jackson
North One TV
Production Manager

Skyhook proved to be a great asset to this programme. They were ready to go and in position when required. A lot of their material made it into the final edit which we already had a number of cameras covering, so this is a testament to their work. Very easy to work with and with a number of drones to choose from.

Tristan Chytroschek
A&O Filmproduktion GmbH
Producer & Director

Working with Skyhook was great. They are friendly, efficient and very professional. The preparation and permit application went smoothly. The shoot day went like clockwork and we got all the shots we needed – and more. The footage looks great. Highly recommended!

Andrew Swann
Gingersnap Media
Director

Skyhook were great to use on our recent promotional film for Southern Water. Some stories can only be told from the air, and the footage shot for this really brought a huge sense of scale and impressiveness to the final film. Skyhook were receptive to my needs, efficient and a valuable asset to any production.

Joseph Morris
Pace Media
Producer

Great results and an absolute joy to work with — highly recommended.

Little Dot Studios

Chris and his team were very professional and hard-working, providing us with excellent footage and generally being a pleasure to work with. I look forward to working with them again in the future.

Amber Millington
Agile Films
Head of Music

Skyhook really impresses with impeccable safety and professionalism. The versatility that they can offer with this unique way of shooting is freeing and inspiring. Not only do they offer a brilliant service but the way in which they do so is why we would use Skyhook again and again. They are incredibly easy to get on with and combined with a creative flair that will allow you to get the most out of this state of the art technology.

Blink Films

Hugely helpful and accommodating in our request to film a drone shoot in the centre of London. From the start, they realistically set our expectations as to what was possible but also worked really hard to make the shoot happen in difficult circumstances. The whole Skyhook team were great and we were really pleased with the results — dynamic and unique footage for the documentary.

Gianni Diliberto
Photographer and Film Maker

It was great working with the Skyhook team. They were very informative about the procedures of drone filming and accommodating while we organised locations and dates. They took direction very well and were a genuine pleasure to work with. We managed to film some dynamic beautiful footage which added an incredible perspective to the video.

James Dawson
Little Gem TV
Documentary Director

Chris got some amazing shots for us of Stansted Airport for our BBC series. Lots of bureaucratic hoops to jump through but he did it all brilliantly. He’s well organised, focused, highly professional and really knows what he’s doing. Highly recommended!