Flying FPV is a completely different experience compared to flying normal drones for two main reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Budget

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.

The physics of a good simulator like LiftOff is almost authentic and the transition from a simulator to a real FPV drone is relatively indistinguishable.

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.

Analog

Pros:

  • Huge variety of products from expensive to inexpensive
  • Analog transmission works with different brands and products

Cons:

  • Poor video quality

Digital

Pros:

  • Clean video broadcasting
  • Better transmission range

Cons:

  • At the moment there is only one product (DJI FPV System)
  • Quite expensive

Take a look at the Buyers Guide to see what the best goggles on the market are. As I wrote in this article, most of the FPV products are made just for hobby and are not good for professional usage. Be careful what you buy.

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.

Batteries

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.

Accessories

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.

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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