1. What's In The Bag?
As you hopefully know by now, this course is not about having the latest and greatest gear. That being said, it is a lot of fun to follow the developments of the drone manufacturers and the related accessories. For the purpose of this course, any DJI drone released since the Phantom 3 appeared way back in 2015 will be more than good enough. With a 3-axis gimbal and an HD or 4K camera and we're all set. Like we keep saying, it's what you do with it that counts. Some of our best shots were filmed in 2014 on a Phantom 2 with a GoPro Hero 4.
Now that we've sorted ourselves out with a drone, let's take a look at all the other bits and bobs you might want to have with you on your aerial adventures!
After the video below we've put a list of some of the accessories we use ourselves. Some of these links are affiliate links that earn us a commission were you to make a purchase.
We will discuss Neutral Density (ND) filters at length later in the course. The two brands we use are Freewell and PolarPro. They both make really nice filters that add no unwanted lens flares, colour casts etc., so we are confident recommending both. Here are the links to their Amazon stores where you can browse for the right filters for your drone.
- Freewell ND Filters: https://amzn.to/3c07WQp
- PolarPro ND Filters: https://amzn.to/3c9WxNW
Car Charging Solutions
Drone batteries are expensive...car charging solutions are not! The first recommendation you saw in the above video is a simple cigarette lighter USB car charger.
- Anker USB Car Charger: https://amzn.to/3azfbi2
This is ideal for any USB charging requirements, e.g. your smartphone. However, it doesn't put out a fast charge so we would also recommend you look at getting the BESTEK Inverter linked below. We use this as it converts the 12V car socket power into mains power. On the unit itself you can plug anything into it such as your DJI drone battery charger or a laptop charger. We've sat for hours in the car using this to power our laptops. Just make sure you don't drain your car battery in the process!
- UK: BESTEK 400W Inverter: https://amzn.to/3OFeh3d
- USA: Gearco 400W Inverter: https://amzn.to/3RkM4iW
Portable Power Solutions
Another absolute necessity is a portable power pack. At the very least you can keep your smart phone or tablet topped up if you are on a long hike. Even better however is the fact that some drones can be charged directly via a USB-C output from a power pack so you can charge your drone in your backpack when you are headed to the next location. Power packs aren't that expensive so it's tempting to get a really big one for maximum number of charges but just keep in mind that you're going to have to carry it! We've had Anker power banks for a few years now so it's a brand we're confident to recommend.
- Anker 10000 mAh Power Bank (208g): https://amzn.to/3yA9I2h
- Anker 20000 mAh Power Bank (343g): https://amzn.to/3AJaFZ5
The landing pad featured in this course had the advantage of being very light and portable. However, in some situations it's not ideal because getting the pegs into the ground to secure the landing pad can be tricky. If they don't go in fully then they stick up and there's a risk you clip the drone's props on them when landing. Still, it's a good, cheap option so here's the link...
- Landing Pad: https://amzn.to/3SqKj3i
An interesting option that we haven't actually used is this weighted landing pad. It's described in the reviews as being like a big mouse mat so it's still light enough to be portable but with enough substance to not fly away with a puff of wind - something the standard landing pad absolutely will do if it is not pegged down. See what you think and do let us know in the comments if you have any other ideas.
Weighted Landing Pad: https://amzn.to/3MR19XU