SHENZHEN, CHINA—DJI has launched a mini-drone. The drone-maker describes the Spark as “an easy-to-use, fun-to-fly mini camera drone that lifts off from the palm of your hand.”
Spark is DJI’s first drone that can be controlled by hand gestures. When Spark takes off, it automatically enters “Gesture Mode.” This features new advanced gesture controls like PalmControl, which lets operators control Spark with hand movements. DJI recommends using Spark’s separately available “propeller guards” for hand launching.
Spark weighs 10.6 ounces– less than a can of soda—and can be operated by a remote controller, a mobile device, or hand gestures alone. Spark will be available in five different colors: “Alpine White,” “Sky Blue,” “Meadow Green,” “Lava Red” and “Sunrise Yellow.”
Spark comes with new flight options, e.g., QuickShot Intelligent Flight Mode activates a preset flight path for recording a short video and tracking a subject along the way, DJI said.
DC Drone Film Festival 2017 Now Accepting Submissions
WASHINGTON—The DC Drone Film Festival is returning to the National Drone Show and Government Video Expo for its second year and is now accepting entries. We are calling on drone videographers to share their work with the pilots, producers, equipment manufacturers, drone enthusiasts and other broadcast and AV professionals who will attend the 2017 National Drone Show and GV Expo, which will take place Nov. 29-30.
Submissions are accepted in any or all of the six categories: Narrative, Nature, Sports, Architecture, Corporate/Industrial/Business, and Shorts. Submission must not exceed five minutes—one minute for the Shorts category—and must consist of at least 50 percent drone footage. The entries are judged on originality, technical expertise and cinematography/visuals.
Each winner in the six categories will receive a $250 cash prize and have their video screened throughout the 2017 National Drone Show and across NewBay Media’s broadcast and video network of sites.
To submit your film, please visit DC Drone Film Festival, produced by the National Drone Show and NewBay Media.
Four QuickShots are available: Rocket, sending Spark straight up into the air with the camera pointed down; Dronie, flying up and away from your subject; Circle, rotating around the subject; and Helix, spiraling away from a subject as it flies upward. For each QuickShot, Spark will automatically create a 10-second video from the flight that is ready to share on social media.
Previously introduced Intelligent Flight Modes such as TapFly and ActiveTrack can also be found on Spark. Based on DJI’s vision technology, a new TapFly sub mode called “Coordinate” allows Spark to fly to a location the operator taps on a mobile device screen. TapFly’s Direction Mode allows the operator to keep the drone flying in the direction tapped on the screen. Using ActiveTrack, Spark will automatically recognize and track an object, keeping it at the center of the frame. Spark’s 3D Sensing System will actively sense obstacles in front of the aircraft.
With the remote controller accessory, operators can switch to Sport Mode and reach speeds of up to 31 mph. Sport Mode sets the gimbal to first-person view by default, so the camera moves with operator. Spark will also be compatible with DJI Goggles for an immersive first-person view perspective.
Spark houses a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor camera that captures 12-megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos with the assistance of a 2-axis mechanical gimbal and “UltraSmooth” technology.
Spark includes many previous DJI drone shooting modes with two new additions: Pano and ShallowFocus. In Pano Mode, the camera creates horizontal or vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading, taking a series of pictures and stitching them together.
ShallowFocus creates photographs with a shallow depth-of-field shots. An array of filters and automatic editing templates available in the DJI GO 4 app enables operaters to quickly edit videos and share them directly to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
Spark’s FlightAutonomy system consists of the main camera, a downward-facing vision system, a forward-facing 3D Sensing System, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-precision inertial measurement unit and 24 powerful computing cores. DJI says these features allow Spark to hover accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet and sense obstacles from up to 16 feet away.
Like all recent DJI drones, Spark can return to its home point automatically with a sufficient GPS signal. While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low, connection is lost, or the operator presses the return-to-home button, Spark flies back to the preset home point while sensing obstacles in its path. Spark also integrates DJI’s GEO System or NFZ geofencing to provide up-to-date guidance on areas where flight may be limited by regulations or raise safety or security concerns – helping you fly safely and responsibly.
Spark is powered by a high-energy density LiPo battery and has a maximum flight time of up to 16 minutes. When flying with the remote controller accessory, Spark allows for 720p real-time video transmission from up to 1.2 miles away.
The U.S. retail price of a DJI Spark, including aircraft, battery, USB charger and three pairs of propellers, is $499. The Spark Fly More Combo includes an aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables, with a U.S. retail price of $699. Pricing and availability of other accessories for Spark will be announced at a later date. Spark will be available for pre-order at DJI’s online store plus, four the DJI Flagship Stores as well as authorized dealers. Pre-orders will start shipping in mid-June.
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