With a bit of fanfare today, DJI announced the Phantom 3 Drone at a launch event in New York City. But it was a worldwide affair at one point when they showcased its live stream capabilities with flights above the Hollywood Hills, Santorini in Greece, and a launch party in Singapore that ended in a beautiful nighttime vista of the city.
Unfortunately the Hollywood remote had a bit of lag and some quality issues but the other two looked quite nice. Clearly these moments were also designed to show the audience filled with press and enthusiasts the 4K camera featured onboard the new Phantom 3 Professional. This launch is clearly timed to come before the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Conference in Las Vegas, and likely telegraphs DJI’s intention to go head-to-head with the cinedrone-focused 3D Robotics, which has a new drone announcement coming next Monday.
The updates announced today are intended to make shooting video by drone a more accessible experience for everyday consumers. The Lightbridge downlink will now be capable of live streaming 720p video to Apple and Android devices. They claim the new GPS system “uses more satellites,” which may mean a quicker position lock for pre-planned flight paths. A one click YouTube stream option is integrated into their Pilot software, too.
One of the more interesting bits of software announced was an app called “Director,” which promises to flag the best bits of a flight and have a finished video (with music) done by the time the drone lands, with easy ways to share them socially via YouTube, YouKu, Facebook and Instagram.
Despite the heavy consumer push, they also seemed to be reaching out to the professional community with the appearance of well-known videographer and early drone adopter Philip Bloom, who used a Phantom 2 and an Inspire on the set of his upcoming CNN show “The Wonder List with Bill Weir.”
“Anybody who shoots, anybody who films like I do, most of their stuff is on a tripod,” Bloom said in an interview.
“But once you start using this, it opens up your creativity in a way that no other piece of gear does.”
What really got the crowd excited, though, was the price point for such a highly-featured quadcopter. The Phantom 3 Advanced which features 1080p video will run you $999 and the Phantom 3 Professional sports a 4k onboard camera and a $1,259 price tag.