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Modded Phantom Gets Spectacular Aerial Footage of Burning Man

09.12.13 @ 7:32PM Tags : , , , , ,

Burning Man_gopro_phantomIf you’ve ever been to or seen images of Burning Man, a week-long event full of art, self-expression, and exploration (of many things,) and yes, a humongous burning man made of wood, it’d be difficult to imagine seeing something more spectacular than that — unless it was great aerial footage taken of the event itself. Shared with us by Duc-Duy Pham of DSLR Pros, check out this aerial video that uses a GoPro Hero3 and a modded DJI Phantom Quadcopter rig, allowing for more versatility and control in order to show Burning Man like it’s never been seen before.

Run by a small team of filmmakers, DSLR Pros went to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert where Burning Man is held and took to the skies with their GoPro Hero3 and a modified Phantom copter to show you what their rig can do (more on the mods later.) Though the propellers are visible in some of the shots, the footage is pretty amazing — definitely takes event videography to the next level.

Check out the video of the aerial view of Burning Man below, then scroll down to find out more on how DSLR Pros modified a DJI Phantom using their Ultimate Cinema Edition Aerial Kit.

DSLR Pros disassembles and rebuilds these copters with pieces of equipment that give the rig and operator more versatility and control. The 8″ carbon fiber propellers run by T-Motor’s Anti Gravity motors give the Phantom longer flight times and stability. The Phantom’s stock radio receiver is replaced with a dual antenna receiver from Futaba, which includes a T8FG super transmitter that allows you to customize flight characteristics, measure flight times, and even switch between different copter models.

Another great feature of DSLR Pros’ modded copter is the 5.8 GHz FPV wireless downlink system, which streams the video feed from the attached GoPro to a portable field monitor that can be mounted to the transmitter — or if you’re really cool, video goggles are also available.

The video below gives you the full list of what the kit includes and what each piece does. Check it out below:

If you’re an experienced quadcopter operator looking to upgrade or customize your rig, check out DSLR Pros’ site to really get a feel for the services and products they provide. The Ultimate Edition will run you $3,926.87, however they offer kits for as low as $845, and give you the option to buy kits with or without a GoPro Hero3. If you’re interested, head on over to their site.

Do you use any mods on your quadcopters? What are some you’d recommend to filmmakers with varying amounts of copter experience?

Link: Ultimate Cinema Edition Aerial Kit — DSLR Pros


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Description image 43 COMMENTS

  • The operator flew his UAV over crowds, violating best practice guidelines agreed to in advance by UAV operators at the event.

    • All great video/film needs to break/bend the rules.

      • 1. Wrong
        2. He said guidelines, not rules. Agreed upon by all operators.
        3. Not when you risk injuring people, especially people not involved in your ‘great’ project.

        • It is actually pretty dangerous. Especially given that they are out int he desert with wind storms and the like. These things could easily fall out of the sky.

          • It’s also not even close to a “great” piece of work. The footage is repetitive and relies on the spectacle of Burning Man and the novelty of quad/goPro rigs. Boring. And, yes, kind of dangerous.

      • These things can kill people. An experienced operator recently sliced off the top of his head.

        • Granted, that was with a TREX 700, which is a single rotor heli with two blades that are more than half a meter in length each. It’s literally a flying saw blade when out of control.
          I’m not discounting your point though, it definitely stands, but honestly quads aren’t particularly dangerous when out of control. It’s just the momentum of the object that is the danger rather than the props.

      • There’s bending rules and there’s flying 2+kg of carbon, plastic and metal topped with a set of spinning carbon blades in close proximity to people. I love my quads, I love flying FPV and I love recording aerial video but whatever any pilot or manufacturer claims this is all new technology and should never be considered low risk. Flying these systems that close to people is just plain stupid and dangerous.

    • Who are you? The police?

    • Babylon Slim on 09.19.13 @ 7:24PM

      “The Event”. I thought that burningman began (back in the old days) way out in the middle of no-where to get away from cops and narcs and kooks. Has “the Event” devolved to the point where filmmakers have to be mindful of pain in the ass innocent by-standers and some self-proclaimed spokes-model? 2-bad.

  • john jeffries on 09.12.13 @ 7:38PM

    burning man used to be interesting

    now its just a rave

  • Pretty Cool video and nice system.

  • Anthony Marino on 09.12.13 @ 8:18PM

    Another (relatively) inexpensive tool to add production value. Been recently interested in going Ariel with the BMPCC though I have no idea when it’s coming I see no reason why it shouldn’t fly. I’m definitely gonna look up these guys. Thanks, great article

  • The footage isn’t /that/ spectacular.

  • Why is it that every example that I’ve seen of aerial footage from these nifty helicopters just reads like an advertisement? That video would have been five times better if it hadn’t exclusively been aerial footage. The imagery became boring rather quickly, making the event look small and insignificant. I mean, okay, I get it, you have a helicopter that hugs a GoPro perfectly.

    I’d love to see how these contraptions could really add to a story or explain something meaningful that traditional cinematography can’t. It’s just disappointing to watch videos like this and realize over and over again that I’m not impressed by the gimmick anymore.

    • I’m sure any video that consists solely of aerial footage would get boring after a while, but they’re at least good for showing what they can do. I’ve seen some pretty amazing footage taken by cameras mounted to quadcopters — great establishing shots or shots that’d need a crane/jib — extreme wide shots that go into close ups.

  • rod Hardinge on 09.13.13 @ 12:44AM

    I have seen footage from previous years and ground level seems more suited to the event, aerial shots leave very little to the imagination! night stuff looked great though.

  • Anotherthing on 09.13.13 @ 1:37AM

    I thought it was awesome, really gave you the scope of the event from up high. Why the hate?

  • Black rock city….sweet citizens of dust! What an incredible burn, Cargo Cult 2013 was unforgettable. Been shooting out there for the past ten burns and i never saw so many aerials, drones, copters etc…thanks for sharing! Its quite hard to capture the scope of burning man, and nearly impossible to capture the feeling. I brought the 1st RED one to the playa years ago (working on “As the dust settles”) breaking my back, it was hellish lugging that beast around…perhaps i will let my thumbs do the driving next year with one of these rigs :)

  • music is so over the top. Makes footage more underwhelming. The reason this stuff seems interesting to people involved is because they are on loads of x.

  • Nice footage for such a tiny camera (night stuff especially) but I’m not the only one who saw the word “Phantom” and expected it to be some ridicu-awesome slow-mo, am I?

  • The mods are pretty basic as far as RC/multirotors go. Nothing special here, just fancy advertising. Learn RC flight properly, save yourself some money.

  • i have a similar setup for sale. phantom, transmitter, monitor, case, extra bats, pan and tilt stabilizer etc.

    mine is over $1k less.

    email me if interested. n2itionproductions (at)

  • What was it that Ansel Adams said about fuzzy ideas? Aerial shots, slo-mo shots, steadicams shots etc are all tools to help you tell a story. If you don’t have a compelling story to tell it all becomes very boring rapidly. Burning Man could make a fascinating 2 minuet video, but this isn’t it.

  • Was expecting this to be aerial Phantom Flex footage…now THAT would have been impressive.

  • Reading some of the comments makes me wonder- this is footage out of a $4k setup. Its Spectacular when you consider that. Jaw dropping I would say, 5 years ago these were the kind of shots I could not have dreamt of.

  • Good comment Archie. How quickly we video professionals become tainted in our views toward equipment these days since so much cool, new stuff is being introduced weekly. Several ears ago to get any aerial footage I would have needed a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and Tyler mount…thousands of dollars for all that and I would have been shooting SD video with a 3-chip camera. The DJI Phantom, pimped out or not, is a good tool. A great mind will take it and produce great images that help tell the story even better. The more reliable, stable and easy to use they make these quad copters the better I say. We recently did a video on a big cattle ranch here in Texas and the quad copter footage really helped the viewer get a feel for the size of the ranch and just how beautiful the rolling hills acreage was, something hard to see from ground level and even with our boom arm.

  • Babylon Slim on 09.19.13 @ 7:03PM

    It seems that almost all of the ‘GoPro” footage that I see is with the camera set to maximum fisheye. Gets old fast. The whole reason that I finally broke down and got the 3-black was because it has “variable” focal lengths. Please – you kids – start exploring those. Of course I want a 4 or 6 rotor copter, gotta get me one. Oh… and Burning Man used to be – blah, blaah, blah…

  • Its not burning man but it is Hawaii, Ireland & Scotland… with better music too.

  • I ve participated once to the BM festival and i must say that i won’t film with a drone for one reason: dust.
    The Black Rock City in the Nevada desert is an hostile place. No vegetation, no animal, no water. It’s hot and not sandy but dusty.
    A lot of small drones have there motors / rotors not protected from the environment. This just for fan reason, to cool the rotors.
    What would happened if just a small dust wind come into one or two rotors ? Would you be still able to control it ? Well you can take the risk to damage your drone but the most reasonable will be to fly far away from any Burners!
    If i got one during my stay the most funny shot i would have done, was to film the arrival or departure.
    Because it’s unbelievable being in a flat desert and being in the same time in a hold up !
    Just live it … as photo & film are not permitted to push the Burners express themselves what they won’t do anywhere else.