Why the DJI Inspire 2 Is Really, Really Exciting For Aerial Cinemtography

As a self confessed late comer to the drone scene but keen follower of everything DJI for a couple years now - I’ve been sitting in anticipation since the Inspire 1 first came out to see what would be included in the Inspire 2. 

The time is almost here and literally everything I hoped the upcoming drone would be - came true. 

 

Obstacle Avoidance

The first feature, which I think we were all expecting DJI to include is their obstacle avoidance sensors (first introduced with the Phantom 4). I simply would not buy a drone unless it included this feature. Flying a camera in the air is asking for trouble so minimising the risk of collision is an absolute must. 

DJI Inspire 2

The Inspire 2 is by no means ‘disposable’. You need to have a lot of caution when flying it. 

It is a hefty investment when compared to the Phantom 4 or Mavic Pro so if it crashes into a tree and falls 20 feet onto rocks, breaks and is rendered unusable, I would be screaming. 

I can sleep easy knowing that the Inspire 2 will have my back when flying. I can focus on getting great shots and not have an anxiety attack every time I use it. 

 

Apple ProRes & H.265

DJI Inspire 2_1

I love ProRes. It’s a nice balance between fairly ungradable 24mb 1080p video shot on a DSLR and the massive file sizes and headache of shooting RAW. One of the things I hate about my Phantom 4 is the compression (50MB/s 4K? Seriously?). It’s more compressed then shooting to card on a DSLR and it’s a task and a half to grade. Forget shooting in DLOG on the Phantom 4, I don't even know why they bothered including that picture profile (instead I recommend shooting in ART if your a Phantom 4 user). 

But the Inspire 2… It’s got beautiful ProRes (additional codec upgrade required). A variety of video compression formats are supported including Adobe CinemaDNG, Apple ProRes 422 HQ (5.2K, 4K) and ProRes 4444 XQ (4K), H.264, and H.265. Provided you have some high capacity SSD’s, you can do a few flights worth in ProRes before needing to swap media out. With the Inspire 2 you can actually take advantage of DLOG and get that extra dynamic range. 

If the large file sizes of ProRes are too much, then the H.265 codec which maintains substantially more information at 100mb/s compared to H.264 100mb/s is the way to go.

100mb/s is compressed enough and just what you need to get stunning (and clean) video with little to no image deterioration. 

Cinema5D

In this really helpful review from Cinema5D's, Seb - goes on to explain in great detail the image quality of CinemaDNG and Prores codecs. Plus there are lots of really gorgeous shots from Seb and it's worth while watching regardless. 

Dual Battery Redundancy

You may notice a common theme so far. I care a lot about keeping my drone safe so making sure it comes back undamaged is vital. Thankfully DJI has added battery redundancy.

The dual-battery system ensures that if one battery fails during a flight, the other will be able to provide power for a safe return to home. - DJI

This dual battery system means no more 15 minute flights like in the Inspire 1 and improves flight time to last just under half an hour. 

In this moving story, a father (Ryan Phillippe) reunites with his estranged son (Noah Schnapp) in Depression-era America, rekindling a bond once thought lost forever. The Circle was shot entirely on the Inspire 2. 

 

Newer and Better Cameras

The Zenmuse X4S has a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor, pretty much the same as the new Phantom 4 Pro. However the new Zenmuse X5S is what you should really care about. 

The new Zenmuse X5S has a larger Micro Four Thirds sensor with 20.8 megapixels and an incredible 12.8 stops of dynamic range. The Zenmuse X5S camera now supports 8 lenses from wide angles to zooms. It shoots 20fps continuous burst DNG RAW (20.8 MP). - DJI
DJI Inspire 2 Camera

The resolution has jumped up from 4K of the X4S and Inspire 1 series to 5.2K 24/25/30p in the X5S and 4K slow-motion in 50/60p. 

Despite recalling faulty aircraft and going into financial hardship, DJI is following the example set by struggling rival, GoPro, by making their drone and camera modular. One obvious benefit I see is that if DJI continues to support this modular model and they release newer and better cameras in the future to fit onto the Inspire 2. 

Not only will you be able to use the cameras in the Inspire 2, but down the road, in a ‘DJI Osmo' like handheld gimbal.

In the future, a handheld mount will be available for the Zenmuse X4S and X5S cameras, bringing those cameras down to the ground for more flexible filmmaking. - DJI

It’s pretty much a given that it will be the same handheld mount as the Osmo as the technology already exists. 

 

The DJI Inspire 2 opens the door for new creative methods to approach visual storytelling. The innovative uses of the Inspire 2 and its intelligent features on The Circle offer just a small taste of what filmmakers will be capable of with such a powerful storytelling tool.

The Inspire 2 isn’t perfect but on face value it looks like everything I had wanted in a drone. Good luck to DJI who somehow have to find ways to innovate further. Although an 8K, Super 35, 14 stops of DR and 100% crash and waterproof drone with more then half an hour of flight time would be nice. 

What features would you like to see in the future?

NOTE: This post only outlines the features I think are most important to operators and if there are other features you think are worth mentioning then let me know in the comments section. 


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