As you probably know by now, flying and maintaining heavy lifter drones out in the field can be a complex and sophisticated job which does require many “drone tools.”
Over the years as pro aerial cinematographers, we have accumulated many drone tools and spare parts that helps provide us redundancy for our drones and gimbals and keeps them running smoothly while on set. Certain parts on your drones and gimbals can wear out over time or just simply break when out in the field. It’s time to be the “drone doctor.”
We have 9 field tool trays that work very well when flying the Freefly Systems Alta. These trays hold all of the Alta’s spare parts, along with other paraphernalia. We prioritized all of the items in the trays, by putting the items we use most frequently at the top of the pile.
The trays themselves are convenient because they interlock within each other, along with their translucent lid which allow us to identify what we need at a glance.
The thing we can’t stress enough to drone pilots wanting to learn how to be a pro in the aerial cinematography industry, is be redundant in all areas, especially with your drone tools. So don’t have just one or two HDMI cables on hand, but have 5 or 6 cables. Cables break out in the field all of the time. We consider them expendables, and you’ll need to have a lot of them.
Also, be as versatile as you possibly can be. Having all types of video cables whether it being HDMI or SDI, be prepared to fly all cameras that your gimbal supports.
We support all of the following cameras:
- Red Weapon/Dragon/Scarlet-W/Raven
- Alexa Mini
- Canon C500/C300/C100
- Black Magic Ursa
- Black Magic Cinema
- Canon 5D Mark II/III
- Panasonic GH3/GH4
So in order to support these cameras, you need to have the proper video cables, start/stop triggers for recording remotely and battery power/cables. This obviously requires many different cables of many times. A lot of times we’ll build our own power cables, depending on what we need. You never want to tell your client you can’t fly a specific camera because you didn’t have that one particular cable.
Remember, full versatility is what makes you shine from other aerial cinematographers who don’t go that extra mile with their drone tools.
If you want to learn more about drones, check out our drone training tutorial series, featuring the Freefly Systems Alta and DJI Inspire. You can learn more about our series below.