Facebook PixelTripod drone that brings the camera to you when you're done taking the "walking away" shot
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Tripod drone that brings the camera to you when you're done taking the "walking away" shot

Image credit: Pgytech

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jan 06, 2022
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A camera tripod drone that takes off and lands in your hand when you're done taking your "walking away" shot. The tripod comes to you instead of you having to go retrieve it.
Not to be confused with the "tripod mode" on high-quality drones, or auto-rotating trackers.
One-person-show YouTubers often record themselves using multiple cameras. When showing a journey (hiking, driving, etc) they put the camera on a tripod and record themselves passing by, then they have to go back to retrieve it. (Examples: 48:19, 4:42, 1:24, etc.)
What if after the shot, the tripod took off and landed in their hand?
How it works
A lightweight, small tripod attached to a foldable drone. At the click of a button on your remote control, the drone takes off and lands at a sutable spot next to the remote control. It avoids obstacles but doesn't pull away if you try to grab it from the air. If you grab it, it considers the mission complete and turns off the rotors.
Battery life
Battery life is crucial. A youtuber out in the nature doesn't have access to electricity. They already have to carry a lot of equipment. They could use a standard drone in tripod mode to take the "walking away" shorts but would burn through many batteries.
In contrast, if the tripod only takes off and lands in their hand, it can do so many times before the battery is drained. The proposed tripod-drone should be able to do an entire trip worth of passing-by and walking-away shots on a single charge.
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General comments

Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie2 years ago
This is definitely a feasible and potentially useful idea for many solo youtubers. I myself could see myself purchasing one if it is ever made. However, I think one of the main obstacles would be to retain the aerodynamics of the drone while being able to fit a tripod at the bottom. Perhaps one of the ways would be to make the tripod foldable/retractable and store it in a compartment at the bottom of the drone, however that might mean that the drone would be on the heavier side or larger in size.
To clarify, is this idea only exclusive to phone cameras or does it also apply for drones with cameras because I was just thinking(do correct me if I am wrong), what is the difference between this idea and a normal drone with a landing gear of sorts? If we were to use a normal drone that already has a camera and incoporate some form of landing gear or tripod, the same task can be completed. The drone can be programmed in such a way that when it is not moving on the ground, it automatically shuts down to conserve battery. However, these days, many drones already have powerful cameras attached to them so a phone attachment is not necessary.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
A normal drone and its built-in camera could be used for this. It would take a 3D printed extended landing gear to elevate the camera further off the ground and a software tweak that makes the drone automatically take off and land near the remote control. That's all the battery should be used for, otherwise, it won't last.
As a matter of fact, having this feature on a ready-made lightweight drone would be ideal. A youtuber could take a few dozen drive-bys and going-away shots, then finish the battery off with some cool aerial shots. That's plenty of video material to work with when composing an episode
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie2 years ago
Darko Savic I see, yes 3D printing could work for the extended gear! I am just worried the tripod might not be long enough for some users but I think its a fair trade and it is still possible for one to find higher angles on elevated grounds or walls/chairs if they are in an urban environment. If the 3D printing works well and no additional motors or costs are required thus simplifying production, this could work quite well on the market.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
I think often the hiking youtubers not only have to get back to get the tripod with the camera, I bet they often prepare the passing-by shot in advance by initially placing the camera at the desired spot, then getting back a bit and filming the passing by shot, and finally also getting back to get the camera.
So perhaps the best would be if the drone simply carried the tripod with the camera and landed wherever the youtuber wanted to place the camera in advance. I initially thought that this is what the "tripod mode" means, but turns out it's a different thing. The "getting back to the hand" part can be fully automatic, but placing the tripod with the camera at a convenient spot in advance would require youtuber to control the drone. All this would save a lot of back and forth walking, but the battery issue would remain.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Povilas S a good drone can actually do what you propose, but it has to be in flight the entire time. It has to hover, which takes a toll on the battery life. It's probably easier to do this manually than to carry all the extra batteries.
Landing the drone in a suitable place would require planning ahead and checking if the terrain is suitable for landing. Since you have to do that, you might as well go ahead and place the tripod there yourself.
On the other hand, after you take a "going away" shot, you just need the tripod back in your hand. This can be done automatically without actually piloting the drone. You just grab it out of the air when it gets within reach.
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