Drone flying takes off as a popular hobby


Herding sheep and filming AFL training sessions is all in a day’s work for Ryan Hamlet, project manager at hobby drone online retailer I-Drone.

The AFL team wanted to see aerial footage of its training session, Hamlet says. ‘‘People also ask us to film their weddings because it is cheaper than a helicopter shot and we can move in closer.’’

Most people buy drones for filming, Hamlet says. ‘‘Most drones we sell have a camera either built-in or bundled with GoPro [a lightweight, rugged, mountable action camera].’’

The DJI Phantom 2 drone is popular, he says. ‘‘It comes out of the box and ready to fly. These drones have been simplified for people new to the hobby, starting at $885. You can bolt a camera on, or get the Phantom 2 vision+ with a camera built in for around $1510.’’

Despite the ever-growing technological sophistication, getting good aerial shots while you’re standing on the ground is difficult. ‘‘It’s important when framing a shot to see what’s going on, otherwise you’ll get a bunch of horizon with stuff happening in the corner,’’ says Hamlet, who suggests using a first-person view (FPV) set-up where the camera on the drone broadcasts live video to a screen on the ground.