Insta360’s rumored entry into a drone market ends up complimenting the drones made by DJI, rather than competing with it. The Insta360 Sphere is an attachable collar that houses a pair of 360 cameras, one for above, and one for below. The result makes the drone disappear in the captured footage.
Much like the GoPro Max, which can take advantage of an optical blind spot that occurs when twin 360 cameras are overlayed, the Insta 360 Sphere can capture 360° video without exposing the drone of the Sphere itself, thereby making it what the company called an “Invisible Drone Camera.”
“What’s cool about the Insta360,” says Gene Nagata (aka Potato Jet on YouTube), “is that I can point the camera where it needs to be and hit record. Then later, I can compose the shot afterward. Now I can have that, in a drone!”
The Insta360 Sphere has a unibody construction and is designed to attach around the fuselage of a DJI Mavic 2 without interfering with any of the collision avoidance sensors or the GPS navigation antenna of the UAV.
Through what looks like a pair of repurposed Insta360 One camera modules, the Sphere is capable of capturing uninterrupted 360° 5.7K video without showing the rotors or any part of the Mavic’s body.
The entire drone is hidden in the blind spot of the overlapping camera’s field of vision, and users can still use the Mavic’s 4K camera to add to the content.
Meanwhile, with the potential for a shaky camera, while flying, Insta360 has also built-in Flowsafe stabilization, which will smooth out every video captured in spite of the wind conditions.
But the real feature here is that the Sphere lets the content creator concentrate on one thing at a time … safely piloting the drone itself.
Footage captured with Sphere is also supported by Insta360’s suite of editing software tools, so later in the edit bay, the creator can swap hats and become the cinematographer, grabbing shots from the 360° 5.7K image, and even tossing in available footage from the Mavic’s 4K camera as well.
“Sphere represents a continuation of Insta360’s mission to help people capture and share their lives better, making Insta360’s industry-leading 360 reframing and editing software accessible to a wider range of creators,” states the Insta360 blog.
“Sphere users can edit their videos using the same AI-powered features as the Insta360 ONE Series in the Insta360 app. Creative effects like barrel rolls and dolly zooms are as easy as a tap.”
The retail price of the Sphere is $429.99, and comes with the Sphere harness, Sticky Lens Guards, Lens Caps, a Battery and Charging Cable, and a Lens Cloth. That’s a bit steep for a drone accessory, to be sure.
But when one considers it comes with dual Insta360 cameras and a secure locking mechanism that keeps the device firmly attached while in flight, not to mention the stabilized cinemagraphic options it opens up, that’s a pretty good deal.
Currently, though, the Sphere only supports the DJI Mavic 2 and Mavic 2S, but it’s easy to see that if this product truly does take off (no pun intended), Insta360 will likely create a more universal design to fit multiple models as well.
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