April 14, 2015
NAB 2015

3DR's New Solo Smart Drone Is Absolutely Mesmerizing, & Only Costs $999

3D Robotics Solo Smart Drone
The most buzzed-about product on the floor at NAB isn't from Blackmagic or Panasonic or RED. It's from a small drone startup called 3D Robotics.

After watching this absurdly epic launch video for the company's new Solo Smart Drone, you'll understand where that buzz is coming from. Seriously though, if there were Oscars for product launch videos, this one would be a shoo-in to win best picture.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfN9lTp8ma0

And here's a video detailing the features of the Solo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP3Dgr9S4pM

Our very own Ryan Koo caught up with Jeevan Kalanithi to chat about the Solo.

https://youtu.be/j-CYm4Ubjrw

The 3D Robotic's Solo is available for pre-order now from B&H, and you can learn more about it over on the 3D Robotics site. Also, be sure to check out our comprehensive post with up to date information about all NAB 2015 announcements.


No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2015 is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock.

No Film School's coverage of NAB is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock

Your Comment

24 Comments

Because humanity has reach the next level "DRONE THE MOVIE"

I mush say, the video is terrifying if you know what Terraformars is.
other than that, it was expected (and not a bad thing) as phone were just phone, now drones, then It can even be SMART CAMERAS, who knows

April 14, 2015 at 10:15PM

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Edgar More
All
1298

Looks cool — but it's $999 for the drone, then you need another $399 for the gimbal and another $499 for Hero 4 (plus any accessories). So you're looking at almost $2k when it's all said and done.

$1299 for the Phantom 3, seems like a better bargain. The DJI gimbal looks a little smoother to my eye as well.

April 14, 2015 at 10:21PM, Edited April 14, 10:21PM

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If they have good customer care, I will probably go for this.

April 15, 2015 at 12:08PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1448

Once you're in 2G territory you might as well save the extra 1000.00 and grab an Inspire.

April 15, 2015 at 5:59PM

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Tim Naylor - DP
Director of Photography
292

for three years, i've had my finger poised to push 'buy' when i see the next best / even cheaper drone. then i say ... do i need it ? would i use it ? no.

April 14, 2015 at 10:55PM, Edited April 14, 10:55PM

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stephen knifton
owner / creative director
398

Thank you for that. Seriously. Can you please be sure to make that comment every time one of these videos gets posted so I don't waste 2 grand and end up with yet another dusty case of expensive gear I never use?

April 15, 2015 at 12:12AM, Edited April 15, 12:12AM

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Deeder Murray-Holmes
Producer
345

Why would it be gear that you never use? The possibilities of drone shots are endless. And you don't just have to use it for filming, you could use it to scout out locations and finds prime filming spots that you never would have discovered on foot.

April 15, 2015 at 11:56AM, Edited April 15, 11:56AM

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Danny Bittman
Director / Writer / Media Composer
175

not being nasty here, just stirring the pot. the possibilities for drone shots are endless .. to be sure. the possibilities for drone shots in the work that i do ? limited.
i mean: can you run them over a crowd ? don't think so. can you run them inside ? don't think so. can you run them over water ? take yer chances. can you run them at events ? in public ? i just don't shoot that many desert chase scenes in my line of work.
and for real estate work: there's always google earth.
jes sayin' ...

April 15, 2015 at 12:33PM

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stephen knifton
owner / creative director
398

I'll answer your questions from an informed point of view being that I've owned and operated a rig for a few years:

can you run them over a crowd?

Definitely not a dense concert crowd. Lightly packed and from a safe vantage point, yeah. You can. You can get a really nice complex crane shot all with a piece of equipment that can be carried in a small pelican.

Can you run them inside?

Again, pick your situation wisely but yes with the Solo and the Phantom 3 it's becoming much more practical to do so.

Can you run them over water ?

Yes. All day, all night. If something happens over water it would not be anymore devastating to the craft than if something happened over concrete from 30 feet in the air.

Can you run them at events? in public? The short answer is yes.

For real estate there's always google earth.

People wouldn't be asking for them and paying for them if they wanted to show off their real estate using satellites.

Just saying. Also, less unnecessary spaces in your chicken scratch brah.

April 15, 2015 at 1:38PM

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Daniel Jarvis
Editor
102

You're right, Danny - the possibilities ARE endless, and that's why I get stars in my eyes and hit the buy button on so many goodies, dreaming of all the amazing things I'll do. But then I end up not finding time to learn it, even with their advanced software, because I'm too busy working. Did you see the Kickstarter for the drone that has an app where you literally draw a flight path on a google earth image, click a point you want it to focus on, set a height, and hit the go button? Drones are changing so fast that in a year or two, $2k may buy us something that would be a no-learning-curve, working tool right out of the box, with safety features that will protect the drone and make me comfortable flying it over crowds (no WAY I'd do that now - some overzealous prosecutor's wet dream.) That's more my style.

April 15, 2015 at 6:07PM, Edited April 15, 6:07PM

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Deeder Murray-Holmes
Producer
345

No this video is not the oscar winner. Other than the monkeys, this video is pretty weak. The music is over the top and not good. It could have been a minute long instead of seven. This video is way way too dramatic for how little it actually delivers anything awe inspiring.
As far as the product goes, the footage is lackluster. GoPros look cheap and unprofessional. You have to use a better camera to get decent aerial footage. For the hobbyist, this is probably decent if you have lots of money to blow.

April 14, 2015 at 11:34PM

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Jake
578

I think its worth the 2k price. I'd buy it.

April 14, 2015 at 11:46PM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
878

April 15, 2015 at 2:31AM

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IF that thing could handle a BM micro that would be an amazing deal.

April 15, 2015 at 4:23AM, Edited April 15, 4:23AM

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Álex Montoya
Writer/Director
550

The biginning of the video with the monkies really made my made! I haven't laught so hard for a long time. All that kubrickian style was really funny.

April 15, 2015 at 4:29AM, Edited April 15, 4:29AM

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Jupiter de la Bâtardise
writer/filmmaker
214

According to the video, it's so easy a monkey could fly it. Don't bother investing in drones guys, by next year producers will be able to fly it themselves, baddum pah!

April 15, 2015 at 1:16PM, Edited April 15, 1:16PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
690

I really do appreciate the production value of the launch video, not to mention the even cooler factor of the product itself. BUT, that video was about 4:44 too long. I started to glaze over at that point. And agreed on one poster about the price. That is, I think for most buyers, the "base" price should always at least include the gimbal. So a more accurate starting price would be $1400. That said, if all the horror stories are true about DJI's customer service, this model seems like the logical choice for entry.

April 15, 2015 at 1:33PM

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After years of debating, two days ago I had finally made up my mind on which drone would be my first after seeing the Phantom 3. Now that I've seen this, I'm back to square one haha. Price wise, the Phantom 3 definitely has the edge offering both a gimbal and 4k camera for around the $1,300 mark. The Solo however, with its ease of use, cool "cable" and "orbit" features really makes this a tuff call.

April 15, 2015 at 2:59PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1200

I hope they come out with a controller that can be put on a bigger hex or octo with controls for the BM micro. Maybe the Pixhawk 2 will have the controller with it and a bus for the BM.

April 15, 2015 at 3:05PM

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The breakthrough will be when we can get something affordable that carries something better than a GoPro.

It's time for the GoPro to go.

April 15, 2015 at 11:27PM

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David Gurney
DP
2358

3DR has been in the "drone" business for a long time, probably longer than DJI. They are not necessarily a start-up company in that sense. They develop their own flight controllers such as Pixhawk, and the older APM FCs.

The only thing 3DR has been behind is in having a flagship small quad to compete against the Phantom. DJI was the first company to bring to the masses a fully turnkey setup with the Phantom, however, they were not the first to create multicopters for the normal folk. Mikrokopter from Germany was one of the very first companies that made flight controllers for multicopters so the end user would use them on their own frames, they were the ones who started it all.

So now 3DR they finally have a direct competition to the Phantom, Blade, and similar models. Good for them.

April 16, 2015 at 1:24AM

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J. Fandino
Drone sales at www.providentialsystems.com
196

This is the video to watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o40HCzkOjow&feature=youtu.be

I've been using DJI drones since before they were cool so I'll be brief: If 3DR really really delivers on those demos, they will eat DJI's lunch. It is really that simple.

There is a notable price difference between this and the Phantom 3. But the extra features are worth a lot more than that price difference. Not to mention that you will be using a GoPro, which is almost guaranteed to have better DR (Protune mode) than the included DJI camera. And you can take it off the drone to use an action cam, unlike the DJI included cam. So you get a better image, better camera moves, and more flexibility for an extra couple hundred dollars. It's a no brainer. That is, IF, 3DR delivers on their lofty promises. I wouldn't be an early adopter though. I'd wait at least 4 months of reviews before commiting.

April 16, 2015 at 7:50AM

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Jorge L. Molinari
Mechanical Engineer / Family Man / Video Producer
167

It's a nice little toy that can lift a gopro... But if you want to lift the new BM mini, a GH4 or any other serious cam, then you're gonna need a serious copter.

April 16, 2015 at 9:14AM

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Tom Holton
UAS Specialist
301

Cool concept, but the price might kill it. Why would I buy the drone without the gimbal if there isn't an on board camera? The price should be $1200 with gimbal.

And that launch film lets me know its a company of dreamers.

April 16, 2015 at 9:47AM

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