When I started in the film industry over 15 years ago, I was taught this phrase, “If you take care of your gear, it’ll take care of you.” How true! Those of you who are in the film industry should know by now, always… always… always take care of your gear. Well in the aerial cinema industry, this rule follows ten fold!
Taking the utmost care of your drone equipment is so vital. Drones are not indestructible, and if they’re not taken care of, they will fail you. There’s a lot of expensive and fragile parts on any heavy lifter, but the most critical parts are your props. Drone props are the legs that carry the cinema camera where it needs to go to capture that epic shot. Now while in the air, your props are fine. It’s when you’re down on the ground and transporting your drone to the next shooting location that you have to watch out for.
Being a perfectionist, I always make sure my aerial ships are tuned and tested before any shoot. This includes cleaning and making sure my drone props are balanced. I’ve said many times, vibrations will kill your multi-rotor over time, so make sure your ship is vibration-free.
So as you can guess, when transporting your drone from location to location, it’s very easy to “bump” or “ding” up your props. Annoying and frustrating. So naturally the best fix is to protect your drone props. Some manufacturers will provide a thin cloth bag for you to cover your props with during transporting. In my opinion, this isn’t enough protection. If your props get bumped hard enough, then can still get damaged through the bag. This is where I had the idea of protecting my props with tubular foam… a.k.a…pipe insulation.
I went down to my nearest Lowes (or Home Depot) and purchased several pieces of 1″ x 6′ pipe insulation. An added bonus is they’re only a few bucks a piece and not very expensive. Then I cut the pieces to the proper length depending on the size of my props. I did make sure I left a little overhang of foam, so the foam covered about 1/2″ beyond the tip of the prop. This will add further protection to the ends of your props. So even though the foam is probably the cheapest part to our multi rotor, the pipe insulation serves for a very important job.
I hope you guys and girls enjoyed this little tip. If you want to learn more about utilizing drones in the filmmaking industry, check out our Multi Rotor Tutorial Series for Filmmakers.
In my next tips and tricks post, I’ll be sharing some MoVi gimbal tricks. Until next time… safe flying!