Building an FPV drone is quite easy these days even if you don’t have the strongest electronics skills. Custom building is the best way to learn how to make a drone and makes doing routine maintenance faster.

In this article, we are going to build a drone designed for Cinematic FPV. The main objectives of this build are:

  • Keep propellers out of view
  • Improve flight time (6- 10 minutes)
  • Create a smoother feeling
  • Make installation and maintenance easier

Here is what you can do with this build:

Parts & Electronics

Frame: iFlight DC5

The frame is made out of carbon fiber and is the skeleton of the drone. There are many shapes and designs (check out this article How to choose the right Cinematic FPV frame) but for this build, we are going to use the iFlight DC5.

Why this frame?

  • Dead Cat style is good for Cinematic FPV
  • Perfect for the DJI FPV System
  • TPU, straps, and accessories come included in the kit

Flight Controller and ESC: Hobbywing G3

The flight controller acts as the on-board computer while the ESC is a small electronic piece that powers the motors. The Hobbywing Xrotor is the perfect bundle for a solid, reliable Cinematic FPV drone.

Why this FC and ESC?

  • Made of high-quality, durable parts
  • Used by a lot of pro pilots
  • Sensor for battery consumption
  • Onboard 12v output for the DJI Air Unit allows for an easy installation
  • BEC comes pre-installed

Motors: EMAX ECO 1700KV

The propose of this build is to improve your flight time. To achieve a 6-10 minute flight time we need low KV motors with 6S batteries. The EMAX ECO 2306 1700KV motors are ideal for cruising but also for quick punch maneuvers.

Why these motors?

  • Cheap but sturdy and lightweight
  • Good efficiency

FPV Video & Radio Controller: FPV DJI System

For the FPV feed and radio control, we are going to use the DJI FPV System. Unlike the analog system, the DJI Air Unit is easier to install and has a good transmission range.

Why the DJI FPV System?

  • Very easy to install
  • High-quality digital video transmission
  • Good range

TPU Accessory: iFlight GoPro Mount

This mount is made for GoPro Hero 5, 6 and 7.

Why the iFlight GoPro Mount?

  • Very easy to install
  • High-quality 3D print

Propellers: Azure 5140

The Azure 5140 props are designed for better efficiency and flight time.

Why the Azure 5140?

  • Good efficiency
  • Longer flight time

LiPo Battery: Tattu 6S V3 1400mAh

LiPo batteries make a big difference when it comes to “punch” and flight time. A good compromise between power and weight is the Tattu 6S V3 1400mAh battery.

Why these batteries?

  • 6-8 minutes of flight time
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful discharge rate (120C)

Parts & Electronics Summary

Frame: iFlight DC5Buy at Banggood
Buy at Amazon
Flight Controller + ESC: Hobbywing Xrotor G3Buy at Banggood
Buy at Amazon
Motors: EMAX ECO 1700KVBuy at Banggood
Buy at Amazon
FPV, Goggles and radio controller: DJI FPV SystemBuy at DJI Store
GoPro Mount: iFlight GoPro Mount
Props: Azure 5140Buy at Amazon
Batteries: Tattu 6S V3 1400mAh 120CBuy at Banggood

Tools & Accessories

If you are building a drone you will need a few different tools and accessories.

Here is everything you need:

  • M5, M3, and M2 screwdriver
  • A basic solder
  • Solder flux
  • Solder tin
  • Zip tie
  • Electrical Tape
  • A scissor

Building Steps

Step 1 – Mount the carbon frame

The iFlight DC5 comes with everything you need to mount the frame. You can follow the instructions and mount the base plate and the arms of the drone.

Step 2 – Mount the DJI FPV Air Unit and the Motors

The DJI Air Unit needs to stay at the bottom so you can move the camera cable from the back to the front of the frame. Mounting the motors makes it easier to solder them to the ESC. The motor vibration could loosen the screw so be sure to tighten them well.

Step 3 – Solder the XT60 power cable to the ESC

This might be the most difficult step because you need to solder a thick cable onto the ESC. Don’t fret. Here are some useful tips to help you:

  • Apply some flux on the plus and minus connector
  • Rub together a good amount of solder tin to make a small ball
  • Apply flux on the XT60 wires
  • Apply some tin on the XT60 wires
  • Heat the plus connector onto the ESC and add the red XT60 wires
  • Heat the minus connector on the ESC and add the black XT60 wires

Before jumping to step 4 please make sure everything was soldered on correctly:

  • Red with +
  • Black with –

Step 4 – Mount the ESC on the frame

Now you can place your ESC above the DJI Air Unit camera cable.

Step 5 – Solder the motors

If you successfully soldered the power cable on you will not have any problems with the motor wire.
Here some tips:

  • Put some flux on the ESC connectors
  • Connect each motor wires in order
  • You can place the wire around the ESC for a cleaner built

Step 6 – Mount the Flight Controller and Solder the DJI FPV Air Unit

Now you can mount the flight controller and connect the cable supplied to the ESC.
These are the final solders you will have to do:

  • Put some flux on the pins of the Flight Controller
  • Apply some tin on the pins (see diagram below)

Follow this diagram and connect each wire to his specific pin on the board.

Step 7 – Mount the top plate

Very good, you built your Cinematic FPV drone. Now you can mount the top plate and the straps for the battery. Don’t put any props yet, we need to update and setup the flight controller before!

Betaflight Configuration

Step 1 – Update Betaflight

First, you need to download and install the Betaflight Configurator from GitHub: https://github.com/betaflight/betaflight-configurator/releases (download links are below “Assets” section).

  1. Open the Betaflight Configurator and click on the “Update Firmware” icon on the top right of the screen
  2. Select “OMNIBUSF4SD (Legacy)”
  3. Click “Load Firmware (online)”
  4. Click “Flash Firmware” and wait a few minutes to complete the process

Step 2 – Betaflight Configuration

Now you can download the settings file and load it in your flight controller.

Download Betaflight 4.1.1 Settings

FilmFPV_Betaflight_4.1.1_Settings.txt (2Kb)

Go to the CLI tab and click “Load from file”

Select “FilmFPV_Betaflight_4.1.1_Settings.txt” and click “Open”

Click “Execute”

You can now check the settings by comparing your Betaflight tabs with the screenshots down below.

Download Betaflight 4.1.1. Screenshots

FilmFPV_Betaflight_4.1.1_Settings.pdf (6,5Mb)

Step 3 – Motor Direction

In the Betaflight Motors tab, we need to check the direction of every motor and correct any spin issue with the BLHeli Suite app.

First, you need to plug the battery (remove any propellers).

  1. Enable “I Understand the risks”
  2. Check if the “Motor 1” direction is equal to the image on the top left of the screen
  3. Check “Motor 2”
  4. Check “Motor 3”
  5. Check “Motor 4”

Write down on a piece of paper the number of the motor which spins in a different direction.
Remove the battery before continuing to the next step.

You can donwload the latest version of BLHeliSuite from GitHub: https://github.com/bitdump/BLHeli (you can find the download link in the description below the phrase “For flashing and configuration, download the BLHeliSuite PC software”).

Before opening the BLHeli suite app:

  • Plug the battery without any propellers
  • Open the BLHeli Suite app
  • Connect the flight controller to your computer with the USB cable.

In the BLHeli Suite app:

  1. Click “Connect”
  2. Click “Check”
  3. Right-click on the motor number to adjust (motor 3 for example)
  4. Change the “Motor Direction” using the slider (choose only “Normal” or “Reversed”)
  5. Click “Write Setup” to save

Repeat these last 3 steps for each motor you have to adjust.

Step 4 – Bind the DJI FPV Controller & Goggles

  1. Power on the air unit, goggles, and remote controller.
  2. Press the link button on the air unit when the linking status indicator is solid green. The indicator will turn solid red when the air unit is ready to link.
  3. Press the link button on the goggles. They will start to beep continually.
  4. Make sure the distance between the air unit and the goggles is within 2 m. When linking is successful, the linking status indicator of the air unit turns solid green, the goggles stop beeping, and the live view will be displayed.
  5. Press the link button on the air unit when the linking status indicator is solid green. The indicator turns solid red when the air unit is ready to link.
  6. Press the record button, C button, and right dial on the remote controller simultaneously. The remote controller beeps continually and the status indicator blinks blue.
  7. Make sure the distance between the air unit and the remote controller is within 2 m. When linking is successful, both the linking status indicators turn solid green and the remote controller stops beeping.

DJI video tutorial: https://youtu.be/nptTbbWKMZs

Step 5 – Set Sbus Fast Baud on the DJI FPV Goggles

Open the main menu and go to Settings -> Device -> Protocol and select “Sbus Baud Fast”

Flight Test

All right, if you have done every step correctly now you can go out and fly. Go in an open field and fly 3 or 4 batteries to check that everything is working correctly.

Happy Cinematic FPV!

Stefano Rinaldo

Stefano Rinaldo

Hi, my name is Stefano Rinaldo and I live in a small town among the Dolomites. I started my journey in the drone industry about 8 years ago as a videomaker and aerial cinematographer in a company specialized in multirotor and RC stuff. Two years ago I dived in the incredible world of FPV. After months of trial and error, I figured out how hard it is. This is why I started FilmFPV to make FPV more easy and accessible for filmmakers, content creators, and drone pilots.

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