The Skydio 2+ is a significant upgrade to the original 2 model
While other drones offer subject tracking, 360-degree lenses, and various other creative effects, Skydio have taken a unique approach so that even a drone operator with minimal flying skills can create professional cinematic results by pre-setting not only the drone’s flight-path, but also the required photo shoot along the way. This allows the subject to get on with their chosen adventure activity, while allowing the drone to do all the flying and the camera to do all the cinematic heavy lifting automatically.
Drones generally have obstacle avoidance built in; some cover every direction. The Skydio takes a different tack and uses 6 on-body cameras for full-time all-around obstacle avoidance by creating its own 3D map of its surroundings. Quite simply, amazing. The phrase don’t try this at home, or perhaps, don’t try this with any other drone, comes to mind.
There are 3 ways to fly the Skydio:
- Short distances, using only your iOS or Android device
- Add the Skydio GPS beacon to unlock hands-free flight with up to 3km range
- Take full control with precision and range of up to 6km with the Skydio controller
The controller system allows the user to set any of a whole range of what Skydio call ‘skills’, essentially styles of tracking and movement, so that the drone will follow suit, with its impeccable 3D mapping and smart AI obstacle avoidance providing a safe path.
What others may call waypoints, Skydio calls keyframes, a term perhaps much more familiar to cinematographers. The 2+ can then do all the hard yards, flying, tracking, avoiding obstacles, and taking amazing footage, all with the press of a button.
The onboard camera is very useful with 4K 60 frames per second HDR capability. However, while no slouch, the 1/2.3-inch sensor is possibly the weak link in this beautifully thought-out piece of kit. While other manufacturers have stepped up to 1-inch sensors, the Skydio 2+ would appear to be lagging a little in this area.
Skydio state a 27-minute flight time, a few minutes more than the original model 2, but given real world times usually being a few minutes less than advertised, extra batteries are really a necessity. For super subject tracking, the GPS beacon is a good addition.
The Skydio web site uses the words, ‘Live the moment. Capture the impossible.’ This incredibly unique drone will help you to do just that, and in so doing allow even someone with average drone flying skills and developing cinema skills to create footage that will amaze and inspire.
Our Final Opinion on this Gadget
Is this the perfect drone for such creative activities? It sure is getting close. A few more minutes of flight endurance, a larger camera sensor, and a few tweaks to the video parameters would see this drone as the absolute benchmark in cinematic creativity.
SKYDIO 2+ autonomous keyframe drone – quite incredible capabilities, unfortunately let down a little by flight endurance and sensor size.
No, it doesn’t. Size without battery, and with antennas down is 229 X 274 X 51mm, and the weight with battery fitted is 800g.
The sensor is a Sony IMX577 1/2.3” 12.3MP CMOS and camera aperture is f2.8