Flying FPV is a completely different experience compared to flying normal drones for two main reasons:
- In FPV, you fly acrobatically without any electronic support. You don’t have any return-to-home assistance or radar sensor to help you avoid obstacles. Everything is manual.
- You are truly flying inside the drone and you can only see the space in front of you.
For these two reasons, FPV is quite hard to begin with. In particular, if you are a beginner with drones overall, you will need to exercise a lot to get a good level of confidence in the air.
You don’t need a huge amount of money to start FPV. You can just start by buying a radio controller and a simulator. In FPV, every piece of gear is interconnected, so you don’t need a radio controller or a pair of goggles for every single drone.
Here some examples of what you might spend:
- Radio + Simulator = from $130 to $300
- Radio + Simulator + Goggles = from $400 to $900
- Radio + Simulator + Goggles + FPV Drone = from $600 to $1300
- Radio + Simulator + Goggles + FPV Drone + Batteries & Accessories = from $900 to $1500
Cinematic FPV, in general, is cheaper than other commercial drones because you can use your basic gear with a multitude of different drones. You don’t need to buy a different radio, pair of goggles or batteries for every drone you want to use.
Start with a simulator
Crashing in FPV is exceptionally easy. So if you can crash virtually you will save you money and time.
Buy a pair of goggles
Goggles are crucial components in FPV, and your budget can compromise your choice. If you have a big budget, you can buy the DJI FPV System and use digital video transmission. Otherwise, you can buy some good analog goggles and save quite a lot of money.
Get used to fisheye
FPV cameras are all equipped with fisheye lenses, which are quite hard to get used to, but you can wear your goggles and practice on the simulator to develop space and distance awareness.
Fisheye lenses may be disturbing at the beginning, but they give you a much wider view, which is crucial in FPV.
Buy or build a drone
You can start with a small, cheap FPV toy drone. The power and the flight characteristics are different compared to a bigger drone, but it’s a good way to get used to the fisheye and dive into FPV without spending too much. Toy drones are very funny to fly, so it’s not a bad choice to buy one for practicing.
When it comes to Cinematic FPV drones you have two options:
- Build your own FPV drone
- Buy a ready-to-fly FPV drone
Check out this article to learn more: Pre-Built vs Custom-Built FPV Drones.
If you build your own drone you can learn how it is made and how to fix it. However, ready-to-fly drones can save you days, weeks or even months of work. But you should still learn how to repair them. Most of the pre-built drones in the market are for fun, which is why you need to pay attention to what you are going to buy. Take a look at the Buyers Guide to see the best drones for Cinematic FPV.
FPV drones are extremely powerful and hungry for energy. In a common low KV 6S cinematic setup, you can get 6 to 10 minutes of flight time. You can start with a set of 4 batteries for practicing, but you need more if you are going to work in a video production environment.
When it comes to accessories there are a number of useful gadgets you can buy, but these are the bare minimum you need:
- A good battery charger
- A GoPro Hero 7/8 or 6 (see this article about GoPro settings and stabilization) with some ND filters
- Zip ties, scotch, nipper, screwdriver and a solder
- A backpack designed for drones or photography
If you don’t know what to buy, please go to the Buyers Guide to see a hand-curated selection of Cinematic FPV products.