"Is that a drone?"
You probably call them drones, but we call them multicopters. A multicopter flies using the downward thrust of multiple electric motors to achieve lift. It steers and moves by controlling the angle of the vehicle. This is accomplished with the assistance of gyroscopes, computers, and most importantly, the skill of the pilot.
Aerial photography drones come in different sizes and shapes, but are normally referred to by the number of rotors they have. The most common configurations are tricopters (3 rotors), quadcopters (four rotors), hexacopters (six) and octocopters (eight). More advanced designs use multiple motors on each arm for redundancy and are referred to as Y6 (six motors on three arms) and X8 (eight motors on four arms). The size of the vehicle is normally designed around the weight of the camera and the stabilization system, also known as a gimbal. We use state-of-the-art three-axis (roll/pitch/yaw) gyroscopically-stabilized gimbals to carry all of our cameras. These systems provide a perfectly level and smooth mount for many different types and sizes of camera.
Advanced models such as ours also have fully redundant global positioning system (GPS) receivers and extremely sensitive altimeters and gyroscopes to maintain a steady position in any wind up to 25 mph. This means the pilot can concentrate on getting the best shot, instead of fighting the weather. Our flight controllers are also capable of flying precise, repeatable, GPS-guided routes at exact altitudes. This is perfect for advanced photogrammetry or 3D scanning and survey applications. This advanced flight control system can also be used by film crews to exactly repeat difficult shots.
Propellerheads also flies state of the art radiometric thermal cameras for agriculture surveys, building efficiency inspections and possibly even search and rescue operations. Our professional equipment also supports broadcast-quality SDI and HDMI 1080/60 digital downlinks for use by news agencies during live feeds and breaking events. Our platforms have flight times of up to 45 minutes per sortie.
Our most advanced aircraft is the new DJI Inspire with a Zenmuse X5S (Panasonic GH5) camera and the Apple ProRes and CinemaDNG RAW licensed software. The current fleet for Propellerheads also includes: DJI Matrice 600 capable of lifting a RED Epic/Dragon, Alexa Mini, or any SLR for flight times ranging from 18-40 minutes and is equipped with the newest Ronin MX gimbal with a wireless follow focus; two Panasonic GH4 equipped DJI Inspire 1 Pros; DJI Inspire 1; DJI Phantom 4; custom built heavy lift drone. All production aircraft and equipment are registered with the FAA and carry full hull insurance.
Our aircraft are also equipped with a 3000 lumen remote controlled lighting system and all of our gimbals can be installed for upright, as opposed to underslung, mounting. This configuration can be used to inspect bridges, ceilings and capture shots of overhead subjects.
Past and current production airframes. We've been flying since the beginning of this tech.
"Where do those crazy-looking things come from?"
While you can buy extremely expensive multicopters from specialized vendors, none fit the specific requirements we had for our customers, so we built our own. (If you are interested in purchasing one, please check out our building and consulting page, then contact us for a conversation to determine your specific needs at any skill level.)
A properly tuned aerial photography multicopter is a perfect mesh of a number of complex systems. Each is chosen and ordered individually to fit our particular requirements, then hand-assembled to exacting standards to ensure each aircraft is stable, and most importantly, vibration free enough to capture sharp images and smooth videos.
One of the advantages to building our own vehicles is we know them inside and out, so any potential issues are found and fixed immediately. We take safety incredibly seriously and follow a thorough preflight inspection before every flight. Our safety record is impeccable, and we will never fly over vehicles, people or in a reckless manner for any reason.
In the unlikely event of a system or parts failure, our vehicles have multiple levels of redundancy built into all flight-critical systems. These range from lost-link return-to-home capability to redundant battery backups and motor-out programming built in tot he vehicle, all to ensure safe and controlled flight at all times. In the unlikely event of a total radio failure, they are programmed to automatically climb over any obstacles and return to their takeoff location immediately. Once over this spot, it will land autonomously and shut itself off.
PROPELLERHEADS AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY IS A PROUD USER OF THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS AND MANUFACTURERS.
- Quadframe.us professional-grade airframes and gimbals (Manufacturer authorized builder)
- Fortis Ruggedized Airframes (Manufacturer authorized builder)
- FrSky Taranis radio controllers with telemetry, exclusively from Aloft Hobbies
- Alexmos 32bit brushless gimbal controllers from Basecam Electronics
- DJI Professional & 3DRobotics Pixhawk flight controllers
- ZTW Spider professional multirotor speed controls exclusively from Altitude Hobbies
- Sony Cameras
- Nikon Cameras and lenses (Nikon Professional Services member)
- GoPro Hero 4 HD cameras
- ImmersionRC video and UHF long range transmitters from GetFPV
- IBCrazy video transmission antennas from ReadymadeRC
- APC, Gemfan and Tmotor multirotor Carbon Fiber propellers from GotHeliRC
- Flytron Strobe lighting systems