Affordable Drone Technology Implements New Director Mode

UAV drone technology makes it easier for filmmakers to scout locations and drive down the costs of aerial cinematography. Even so, drones still range from $2,000 to $22,000. But French technology company Parrot, which began offering its AR Drone in 2010, demonstrated a soon-to-be released update during CES that will introduce a new Director Mode into its control scheme.

More than two years ago, Parrot released the AR Drone and followed with an updated version last year. “Marketed primarily as a tech toy for hobbyists, the drone costs $300 and can be controlled via iOS and Android devices,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The updated version carries an onboard camera with 92-degree wide angle lens capable of capturing 720p video and stills (a video on the Parrot site provides details of the system in action).

Now with Director Mode, operators have the ability to tweak camera settings remotely, along with using “nine pre-programmed movements that the drone can execute with computer-controlled precision, eliminating human inaccuracies and enhancing picture stability,” details the article.

Because of the 720p resolution, it would be difficult to use this version of the drone as a feature filmmaking tool, even when considering its tempting $300 price tag.

“However, with technology advancing ever more quickly,” writes THR, “we would be very surprised if we didn’t see higher resolution offerings in the future as well as more in-depth controls aimed at filmmakers, making this a very viable option for the cost-conscious.”

The post includes a 3-minute video demo from the CES show floor.