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Freefly’s New Alta Drone Lets Cinematographers Mount Their Cameras On Top

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Freefly is best known for its MoVI camera stabilizers, but the company started out with aerial cinematograhy, and while it hasn’t focused on it all that much lately, it’s long offered a professional drone, too. At this year’s NAB show, Freefly is returning to the drone market with the Freefly Alta, a ready-to-fly, multi-rotor platform for aerial cinematographers.

The Alta is unabashedly a tool for pros, but the company also wanted it to be easy to use. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes to get the Alta out of its custom (and included) Pelican case and up in the air.

Obviously, there are plenty of ready-to-fly drones on the market, but what’s probably the Alta’s standout feature is that not only can you mount the camera underneath the drone but also on top. This will allow cinematographers to get shots that weren’t previously possible and as far as I am aware, this is the first drone to feature this capability.

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The Alta can carry a payload of up to 15 pounds, enough to carry a RED Epic or the upcoming ARRI Alexa Mini and gimbal. With the gimbal and camera attached, the drone should be able to stay aloft for up to fifteen minutes.

Freefly also tells me that the company developed its own flight controller for the Alta that combines “years of fine-tuning” and experience with the third-party controllers that were needed to power the company’s older drones.

Besides the Alta, Freefly is also launching a couple of new products around its MoVI line. These include a new MoVI stabilizer for large cameras — the aptly named MoVI XL. But Freefly’s most interesting new tool for cinematographers is probably the MIMIC.

Using the MIMIC, a camera man can follow an actor while the director can hold the MIMIC controller and tilt, pan and roll the camera. That sounds a bit abstract, but this video shows why that’s actually pretty cool in practice.