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  • Writer's pictureCK Chan

A Cinematic Odyssey: Filming with the DJI Inspire 3

Embarking on a journey into the skies with DJI's Inspire series has been a remarkable experience, each iteration unveiling new possibilities for aerial cinematography. Having explored the realms of both the Inspire 1 and Inspire 2, the arrival of the Inspire 3 marked a significant leap forward. In this reflective narrative, I'll delve into the evolution of the Inspire series, comparing my experiences with the earlier models to the notable improvements witnessed in the Inspire 3. Additionally, I'll touch upon a minor hiccup encountered in my Inspire 3 journey, shedding light on the potential for future enhancements.

An Inspire 1 film production for Animal Planet in 2015. A documentary series filmed in Borneo with the sea gipsies.

The Evolution: Inspire 1 and 2 vs. the Inspire 3

It has been 10 years since we first flew the Inspire 1. Flying the Inspire 1 and 2 paved the way for a solid foundation in aerial cinematography, but the transition to the Inspire 3 revealed a host of improvements that significantly enhanced the overall user experience. DJI's commitment to innovation is evident in the Inspire 3's seamless integration of software and hardware, resulting in a more intuitive and smoother flight experience.

The Inspire 3 packs nicely into a single hard shell roller case, unlike the Inspire 1 & 2.

Smooth Operator: Software/Hardware Integration

One of the standout improvements in the Inspire 3 is the refined software/hardware integration, offering a level of coherence that stands out in comparison to its predecessors. The synergy between the drone's hardware and the accompanying software creates a user-friendly interface, streamlining the piloting process. This cohesive integration minimizes the learning curve, allowing filmmakers to focus on capturing the perfect shot rather than grappling with technical intricacies.

Shorter Setup Time with RC Pro

The setup time for any drone is a crucial factor, especially in time-sensitive professional productions. The introduction of the RC Pro with the Inspire 3 has significantly reduced the setup time, allowing for quicker deployment and ensuring that valuable filming time is maximized. This efficiency enhancement is a welcome feature, particularly in fast-paced scenarios such as live events or on-location shoots.

A night event shot with the Inspire 3

Unleashing Clean Imagery: 35mm Full Frame Sensors

The incorporation of 35mm full-frame sensors in the Inspire 3 opens up a realm of creative possibilities. Beyond technical specifications, these sensors enhance low-light performance, allowing for breathtaking shots in challenging lighting conditions. This feature proved particularly valuable for night shoots. Recently, we did several night shots during the Singapore F1 night race and the Garden of Lights event at Vivocity with the Inspire 3. The night footage coming from ISO3200 is awesome.

The RTK 2 Ground Station is a must-have for creating repeatable shots.

Precision in Every Frame: Repeatable Flight Paths with D-RTK 2 Ground Station

In the ever-evolving landscape of aerial cinematography, precision is key. The Inspire 3's D-RTK 2 Ground Station technology ensures a level of accuracy that is invaluable, especially in dynamic productions like the Amazing Race and PTO Asia Open. The ability to replicate precise flight paths allows for consistent shots, freeing up creative energy to focus on capturing the perfect moment.

Reduced Magnetic Interference

The perennial issue of magnetic interference, which often plagued earlier models, has been notably mitigated in the Inspire 3. DJI's engineering advancements have resulted in a system that is less susceptible to magnetic interference, ensuring a more stable flight experience. This improvement is particularly noticeable in challenging environments where magnetic fields might have previously posed navigational challenges.

8K filming with the Inspire 3 for PSA

8K Filming for Cinematic Brilliance

Resolution plays a pivotal role in bringing cinematic visions to life, and the Inspire 3 doesn't disappoint in this regard. Filming in mesmerizing 8K resolution opens up new avenues for storytelling. Whether capturing the grandeur of a landscape or the intimacy of a character's expression, the Inspire 3's 8K capabilities elevate the overall production value, creating a visually rich narrative that resonates with audiences.

The lens mount securely with a lock but the RC Pro controller often produce a warning that the lens is not mounted properly.

Challenges in the Sky: A Minor Setback with Lens Mounting

While the journey with the Inspire 3 has been positive, it's essential to acknowledge the occasional bumps in the road. One notable issue that surfaced during my flights is the system occasionally indicating that the lens is not properly mounted, despite multiple re-mounting attempts. This issue can be a minor frustration, disrupting the flow of a shoot and requiring time-consuming troubleshooting.

It's worth noting that this lens-mounting concern might be an isolated incident or a software glitch, and DJI has a reputation for actively addressing user feedback through firmware updates.

Conclusion: A Skyward Journey of Evolution and Discovery

Despite the minor setback with the lens mounting indication, the overall journey with the Inspire 3 is a testament to DJI's commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation. I remain optimistic about the potential for future updates to address and resolve any lingering concerns, making the Inspire 3 an even more indispensable tool in the hands of filmmakers seeking to capture the beauty and essence of the world from above.

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