While I wasn’t looking, drone photography got very cool

I’ve had a passing fascination with the idea you could buy a quad copter for a few hundred buck and fly it around your hood.  In fact, in the last year the many posts of people creating really compelling videos of landmarks and events from above.  With sweeping shots of buildings and monuments from perspectives you’ve never seen from previously.  It’s all really neat.

This weekend I was at a local hobby shop and when I pulled into the parking lot everyones face was gawking skyward.  I realized what they were looking at was a drone and it’s camera.  The operator, a store clerk, was using a standard two toggle control with his Galaxy 5S mounted on it.  The drone had a ball shaped camera underneath and was sending live video back to the phone, while also recording full 1080p/60fps.  The control over the drone was stunning.  It was a windy day and the drone moved about as if it was still outside.  He could send the thing far enough away that I would lose site of it in the sky and he pointed out that all he had to do was press a button and via GPS the unit would simply return back to his location.  Sure enough it came zooming back into view, slowed down and landed near us.

That package, the Blade QX3 350, sells for less that $1000.  That’s a lot of money, but considering the technology, that sure seems a good price.

Doing some digging now it seems there is a growing list of drones that will fly and shoot video while following you automatically.  Meant for those extreme sports guys, who all love to video their fun, now can do it alone.  The Hexo+ and AirDog are small drones that connect to the user via a tracking device and simply take flight and follow your movements, actions and spills all while shooting full HD video.

Now, I realize I’m really late to this party, but I assume that many are.  I’m told every six month a bigger (or smaller), badder more versatile drone hits the market and in short time, what is possible is going to be very much like having a robot pet follow you wherever you go.