Date:7 June 2016
Flying is not something that comes naturally to me. But I am fond of recording epic moments, and I have to admit that aerial footage adds something special to the videographer’s arsenal, amateur or professional.
The unfortunate reality is that I, and many others, haven’t been able to capture some of the magic due to budgetary constraints.
The Bebop 2, the latest flagship from Parrot, could well be the answer thanks to a built-in high-definition camera with onboard storage.
Now, as I said, flying doesn’t come naturally, but once I downloaded the 54 MB FreeFlight3 app (free on the iStore and Google Play) my curiosity was piqued. If you’re a beginner, there are a number of easy tutorials on the Parrot support page, and all you need is a smartphone. The size of the screen is quite crucial as that affects how much you can see through the Bebop 2’s camera. Because the controls obviously require the constant presence of thumbs on the screen, it pays to use a larger device just for the purposes of visibility.
I launched the Bebop 2 out of my front yard and right into a the Cape’s South Easter, but was quite surprised that it held its own in the wind. The tutorials familiarized me with the controls quickly enough, but it’s crucial to set the sensitivity beforehand because the Bebop can move off quickly (up to 18 metres a second). The 2 700 mAh battery allowed me nearly a full fifteen minutes of whizzing around, recording daily happenings in the neighbourhood, snapping a few photographs – some of which a good 100 metres away (the Bebop 2 is capable of being flown up to 2 km away using Parrot’s Black Sky Controller). It’s mightily impressive!
NOTES: For some arbitrary reason, flying the Bebop 2 at the office with my Sony M4 Aqua resulted in a frozen video feed. The issue was resolved with the resident PM iPad…
JUST THE FACTS
H x W x H: 89 x 382 x 328 mm
WEIGHT: 500 g
BATTERY LIFE: 25 minutes
RANGE: 300 metres
PRICE: R10 605
CAMERA: 30 FPS 1080 p video, 14 megapixel stills.