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DJI’s new Inspire 3 is an 8K drone for moviemakers

DJI has just unveiled its most advanced camera drone to date, but its hefty $16,500 price tag suggests it’s not for the everyday user.

Indeed, the new Inspire 3 is designed for professional moviemakers who want a powerful machine capable of nailing the best shots.

DJI's new Inspire 3 camera drone.
DJI’s new Inspire 3 camera drone. DJI

An update of the Inspire 2 that launched in 2016, the Inspire 3 sports a new streamlined design that offers improved mobility for complex maneuvers.

To help with flights in tricky locations, DJI has equipped the Inspire 3 with nine sensors that can detect obstacles in all directions, giving pilots the best chance of a safe flight.

The machine can zip along at 58 mph (94 kph) and fly for up to 28 minutes on a single charge, five minutes longer than the Inspire 2.

A neat feature for filmmakers is the new Waypoint Pro intelligent flight mode that includes the 3D Dolly option. This lets you set a flight path for the drone to take repeatedly, with the pilot controlling the drone’s back-and-forth maneuvers with a simple push and pull of the joystick. You can see it in action in the video at the top of this page.

And consider the classic dive shot where the camera suddenly swoops in on the subject. With Inspire 3, DJI has increased the drone’s dive speed from 9 meters per second with its predecessor to 10 meters per second, making for even more dramatic footage.

For the best-quality captures, Inspire 3 uses a cinema-grade imaging system that features a brand new Zenmuse X9-8K Air Gimbal Camera, which DJI says is its lightest-ever full-frame three-axis gimbal camera.

It can shoot 8K at 25 frames per second (CinemaDNG) and also at 75 fps (ProRes RAW), and 4K at 120 fps for slow-motion footage.

DJI’s new drone also comes with a pro-level remote controller, the DJI RC Plus, which features a 7-inch, 1200-nit display for ease of use in bright conditions. In addition, the first-person-view camera has enhanced low-light capability that offers an improved picture for pilots flying at night or in locations with reduced lighting, with low latency enabling more precise drone movements.

At first sight, the Inspire 3 looks to be a remarkable piece of kit and reminds us yet again just how far the camera drone has come in recent years. And it’s not just for the kind of aerial shots that directors used to have to use a helicopter for; drones are now adept at capturing super-smooth ground-level imagery that can go way beyond what any dolly track can achieve. Indeed, there are few pieces of technology that have revolutionized the filmmaking process more than drones in recent years.

Commenting on DJI’s Inspire 3, award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda said: “Just seeing what it can do, I have great confidence that I can show any of the directors I’m working with new possibilities of new shots that we haven’t been able to do before.”

According to DJI, the Inspire 3 can be purchased via its website from April 14, with authorized dealers expected to receive it by the end of June.

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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