I Plunk Down My Own Hard Cash for a DJI Phantom 3 Professional: First Footage

by Hugh Brownstone11 Comments

What can you do with a Phantom 3 Professional 4K after a lifetime grand total of 80 minutes’ flying? THIS, SUCKA!

Back in August I wrote a five-part series comparing the DJI Phantom 3 Professional 4K [B&H | Amazon]  and 3DR Solo [B&H | Amazon] from the perspective of a rank newbie: I’d never flown an RC (radio controlled) aircraft of any kind.

Each quad had its strengths and weaknesses, and even though I’d initially been attracted to the idea of aerial videography by 3DR’s Smart Shots technology, I ended up preferring the Phantom [note: the Solo with gimbal is finally available].

When DJI announced that they’d added their version of Smart Shots to the Phantom 3 (called Intelligent Flight Mode or IFM), well…

I bought one: the DJI Phantom 3 Professional 4K – the exact same one I’d tested — along with an extra battery, a hardshell backpack [B&H | Amazon], and a 64G micro SDXC card. They arrived the day before we embarked on a 10-day road trip to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, so I didn’t have time to upgrade the firmware.

Thus: no IFM this time around, but no beginner mode anymore, either: just manual.

What can a person with just under 80 minutes’ flight time do with a Phantom 3 Professional?

This (no post-production other than cuts and an added soundtrack).

Cape Breton Phantom 3 Highlights

…which is amazing.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though: back at home, the microSD card refused to catch after the firmware update, and I’m waiting for a replacement.

But with this written – holy CRAP, this technology just blows my mind.

I keep a copy of the footage without my commentary on my iPhone, and whenever I hit “play” I am transported to a magical place.  Not gear land – but that terrifying and then life-affirming little meadow high above the Atlantic Ocean.


(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Hugh, I think you’re too tough on yourself.  The footage is wonderful.  You didn’t try to do anything to crazy with the Phantom.  You just let it show the beauty of the geography around you.  Your vertical rising shot, where I believe you are in the shot, is an excellent example of when just going “up” can be a great quad copter move.  Of course the sunset is lovely but one suggestion there, if you could have passed by trees in the foreground to reveal the sunset it might have been more dramatic and show off better the fact that it was shot with a quad copter.  Given the wind I would have guessed you did post stabilization.  So, hoorah for the Phantom gimbal.  Nice job.  Show us more as you shoot more in the coming months.

    Thanks for sharing.  Cheers!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! But hey – NO POST stabilization!! That’s all the Phantom and its gimbal. I just want to go back there…

  3. My Phantom 3 Pro also has the MicroSD card slot which refuses to hold in the card.  I’ll send it in soon, but have been able to use it by just taping the card in using gaffing tape.

  4. MatthewThomas3 Sorry to hear it.  I believe this is a significant issue — it keeps popping up in online forums.  Will keeps planet5D readers posted — and please let us know how ti goes by you.

  5. Very impressive! You are right, that was the perfect place! And judging by the wind, wow! The Phantom handled it extraordinarily well! 
    Great job!

  6. Thank you for the encouragement. The Phantom impressed the heck out of me! Fall foliage season is imminent, so I’m looking forward to getting some great footage!

  7. Really nice! Dont like the colors though. a bit dull to my taste, i’d say, maybe you could upload a colored version of it?
    i’m receiving mine today or tomorrow! I would advise you to use nd filters. Without it, no motion blur, and more codec artefacts from the low bitrate of the camera.

    have a look at what i previously did with P2 and gopro. (and also timelapses, slowmo, motion design…):
    password: fréligné

  8. HughBrownstone Looking forward to the video. Considering all you did was just add music, the quality of the video is outstanding!

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