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I2 Dilemma and I'd appreciate some helpful advice...

Joined
Oct 5, 2018
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Location
Orlando, Fl
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www.aiscforlando.com
[EDITED TO CLARIFY SOME POINTS] Sorry this is so TL: DR...

Ok, here goes. Back in November I purchased a Phantom 4 Standard from the classifieds here. Came with EVERYTHING imaginable: 3 batts, manfrotto backpack, filters, multicharger, etc, etc. I bought it because I plan on getting my 107 and starting to add Aerial Services to our thriving DJ business. Although quite entertaining, I could tell after a month I'd outgrow it and need something more professional for the high-end clients my wife and I already began lining up for after the test.

So, fast forward to last month. I began looking at Inspire 1's, but was told by quite a few that I should leave the older model Inspire alone and look into something else. I really wanted something to "impress" clients with, because, as we all know, perception is reality to many. I have learned this in the DJ'ing business... BIGGER is better (so it's thought), although I can do the same thing and have nearly the same look and sound with a smaller system, but I digress. So, with a piddly $2000 budget, I began looking into Phantom 4 Pro's (ALL of them) and thought I had it figured out. I'd get a P4P+, with multiple batts (can't have too many batteries), range extenders for better video transmission, weather-proof wheeled case. I'd get a Sony mirrorless camera and a DJI stabilizer. All in all, only a $2000 investment. Although hard to come by, Drone Trader and our Local FB Marketplace has quite a few in my price-range. Well, now here is where the advice and thoughts come in. I might be able to close the deal on an Inspire 2, X5S, 4 batts, 4 batt cylinder-type charger, 2 spare sets of props, ND Filters, and extra case for $2000! I'm thinking this is a steal.

Our clients, for after I get my 107, are all realtors that sell multi-million dollar properties. We plan to branch out into many more types of markets: Construction, surveying, Commercial applications, even some Television commercial work and Videos. So I'm thinking I'd love to upgrade to an X7 and also a thermal camera, when/if we expand.

My dilemma is, with what we are initially focusing on, does it make sense to forgo the whole Phantom and Camera route and perhaps do the I2 and use an Osmo, or instead, is the Phantom 4 Pro powerful and professional enough to, not only impress (initially and visually), but be a truly professional workhorse. I know I might be talking to a slightly biased crowd (lol), but I welcome all thoughts - especially from those that do drone work professionally.
THANK YOU
 
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Seems you almost answered your own question. I noted that little was said about quality nor capability and appearances very important. Consider then a down level model eg I 1, perhaps a Z5, and wow the heck out of your prospects with the retracting gear, rotating gimbal, and save a lot of money while still have a prosumer level product!
 
A couple of initial thoughts.
1st the $2,000 I2 sounds like a unicorn to me. Your seller is either so out of touch that he has no clues as to it's worth or there is a bigger issue that you don't know about. Also, you did not mention which camera it is coming with
2nd the I2 is not a casual drone. It's large, needs assembly and can be burdensome and frankly overkill for what you say that you want to use it for. I Own an I2 with the x5s camera 3 lenses, the QuickTime Prores and RAW license, 2 controllers and everything else you can imagine and it is the most amazing piece of machinery you can own, a pleasure to fly and it delivers cinema-quality footage and, it spends most of it's time in its case. Why? because I also own a Mavic 2 Pro and frankly it is what 80-90% of what my clients need and are willing to pay for. Also being able to carry it around in a case the size of a large lunchbox and have it in the air in under a minute means you are going to bring it everywhere and actually use it.
BTW I also own a PH4P and I see no point in that drone. Don't get me wrong it's a great drone, but if you have a choice the Mavic 2 Pro (or zoom) is every bit as stable in winds and can eat it's picture quality for lunch and it's still smaller and more convenient.
Anyway, good luck to you, have fun, fly safe and get that 107 and do it all legally.

My 2 cents, rb
 
Seems you almost answered your own question. I noted that little was said about quality nor capability and appearances very important. Consider then a down level model eg I 1, perhaps a Z5, and wow the heck out of your prospects with the retracting gear, rotating gimbal, and save a lot of money while still have a prosumer level product!

I agree with you, in regards to Quality and capability. That is why I fly every single day (Sunny Florida) and practice all maneuvers nonstop, without use of intelligent flight modes and tricks. I also learned DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Lightroom and Photoshop, prior, in preparation for when we "open", and have ton a ton of videos as practice - not to mention we do, thankfully, have 2 professional editors on board for when we open. I've regularly seen posts about every tom "richard" and harry getting a drone and thinking they could open a thriving business. Having studied drones, the industry, forums, etc for nearly 2 years prior to deciding to start out, and coming up with an extremely detailed and exhaustive business plan, I decided early on I would NOT be one of those guys. As a full time programmer (day Job), I have to be able to learn and apply various solutions and methodology quickly, to remain relevant and I intend to do the same thing with our drone work. Impressing the client "with my drone" is not the most important thing to me, although from my initial post, it might have appeared that way. I'm attempting to sidestep that whole "my nephew has one of those phantoms, I should just get him to shoot for me" conversations I've seen horror stories of. Production quality and flying ability are my top priorities, but I want to ensure I look professional as well.

Thanks for taking the time to join in on the discussion. I really appreciate it.
 
A couple of initial thoughts.
1st the $2,000 I2 sounds like a unicorn to me. Your seller is either so out of touch that he has no clues as to it's worth or there is a bigger issue that you don't know about. Also, you did not mention which camera it is coming with
2nd the I2 is not a casual drone. It's large, needs assembly and can be burdensome and frankly overkill for what you say that you want to use it for. I Own an I2 with the x5s camera 3 lenses, the QuickTime Prores and RAW license, 2 controllers and everything else you can imagine and it is the most amazing piece of machinery you can own, a pleasure to fly and it delivers cinema-quality footage and, it spends most of it's time in its case. Why? because I also own a Mavic 2 Pro and frankly it is what 80-90% of what my clients need and are willing to pay for. Also being able to carry it around in a case the size of a large lunchbox and have it in the air in under a minute means you are going to bring it everywhere and actually use it.
BTW I also own a PH4P and I see no point in that drone. Don't get me wrong it's a great drone, but if you have a choice the Mavic 2 Pro (or zoom) is every bit as stable in winds and can eat it's picture quality for lunch and it's still smaller and more convenient.
Anyway, good luck to you, have fun, fly safe and get that 107 and do it all legally.

My 2 cents, rb

RMB - thank you much! I was hoping to hear from folks that run various types of drones for business and get real world feedback. Indeed, the seller is "out of touch". His son went to college, leaving his I2 behind and the seller sees no practical use for it... Forgive me for not mentioning the camera initially, I have updated my original post now. It comes with an X5.
I was initially stunned reading that you do not use your P4P. For some reason, I never thought of the Mavic 2P as "professional". I guess even I am guilty of the whole "initial impressions" thing :( Because of the plus' you mentioned about the Mavic 2, I will indeed investigate a little and read up as much as I can. Wow, I never even considered it... I'm always afraid of pulling a consumer drone out in front of a client and them saying "my nephew has one of those, I'll just get him to film for me". Maybe that's not even a valid issue these??? Again, thank you for your input, I appreciate it.
 
In a sense, you and I are almost at the same point. I’m a Professional Photographer, adding aerial services via drone to my business. I bought my fist drones (Syma X5 and Tello) to learn the basics of flying and control back in August. Since then I’ve added a Mavic Air as a “personal selfie fun drone”, a Typhoon H Pro and Typhoon H Plus for my current business needs (real estate and MLS listings, roof inspections) and earned my 14 CFR Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate.

Now I’m looking to up my game with higher quality images and video, and branch out to small business promotional videos. Think, YouTube 2 minute promos, and shorts for Social Media Marketing. So, an I2/X5 is the front runner.

At no point in my research for the correct tool to provide the results I desire, did impressing the client with my sUAS come into play. It simply has very, very little to do with it. Let my work and what I produce do that. Just because you have a big, fancy piece of kit doesn’t mean you can exploit its full capabilities. I’ve seen amazing video shot with a Mavic Air, and painfully juvenile efforts created on an I2 cinema quality kit. It comes down to the marriage of ability, skill, and the right tool for the job.

You paint a really big picture with what you want to do. There is no Magic Unicorn Drone that will do everything, so you’re going to end up with an expensive fleet of aircraft and multiple flight control systems. If $2k is an issue now, you’re nowhere close to hitting the start button. Pick one and go, then as time and business needs dictate, slowly move to the next.

BTW - 6 rotors and retractable gear does make an impression. (Typhoon H Plus)....but produce a substandard product and that impression is wiped out, along with your reputation.

......I'm always afraid of pulling a consumer drone out in front of a client and them saying "my nephew has one of those, I'll just get him to film for me".......

Sure, as long as your nephew is a Part 107 licensed pilot, with insurance and the skills/ability to create a quality product, then why would you not use family? I would! I think this sort of comment from a client is hollow blustering in an effort to drive your prices down. Stand your ground and if they do go with the nephew, leave them a card and tell them you’d really like to work with them, and if they’re disappointed with the results the nephew provides, give me a call. (Of course to clean up that mess, reshoot on a tighter timeline....will most certainly increase the cost beyond the initial quote) Yeah, I’ve played that game before.
 
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In a sense, you and I are almost at the same point.

Fred - Thank you for joining in on this discussion. I didn't quote everything, in an effort to cut down on scrolling for other member :) Thank you for your insight. Yes, indeed, the "my nephew" thing seems to be a tactic to drive down prices and I appreciate your route for handling that situation...hand them a card and tell them you can work with them at a later time (after they see the bad quality they received from the family).

All of the information from this group of seasoned, 107 pilots and business owners is exactly what I need. I provide much needed business and procedural info to new DJ's all the time, so they don't make my mistakes, and you guys are phenomenal at helping me here.

I've always been one to put in that extra % to provide exceptional services, while satisfying my clients beyond their expectations (whether in my part time DJ'ing or in my full-time Programming position), and I am shooting to do so with Drone work as well. I hope my initial posts didn't just seem like "one of those other guys", just getting into drones and trying to make a million bucks, without having done the research, planning, training and work.

I've already invested a few grand in Drone equipment and, while my next phase of budget is only $2000-$4000 for equipment costs, I recognize and accept I'll need to up that most likely, and continually expand.

Again, thank you input and advise. I'll be using it :)
 
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Something to consider.

Just because you have the gear and the 107 doesn't mean that you can actually shoot something that people are willing to pay for. We see it all the time in the motion picture and TV industry. Gear doesn't make up for a lack of talent
 
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Something to consider.

Just because you have the gear and the 107 doesn't mean that you can actually shoot something that people are willing to pay for. We see it all the time in the motion picture and TV industry. Gear doesn't make up for a lack of talent

I whole heartedly agree with you. I am working daily on framing up and taking shots and meaningful video. To do so, I fly every single day (Sunny Florida) and practice all maneuvers nonstop, without use of intelligent flight modes and tricks. I also have ton a of videos that I edit, have viewing parties at my home and self-critique, with the purpose of learning, in addition to having purchased quite a few cinematic drone video and real estate video courses. Hopefully this all will assist in making me a better pilot, with creative and useful footage!

Thank you for professional insight, I appreciate.
 
All, thanks for your participation in this thread. I really do appreciate all the input.

I decided to get a P4P+ (basically brand new), with a few batteries from a local drone pilot a couple hours from me. I also picked up a Sony a6000 and Zhiyun Weebill Lab Creator. All in all, I am pretty happy and looking forward to getting my 107 and starting up on this ever-growing client list! Thanks guys...
 
Unfortunately with some clients, image is everything.

Imagine showing up to a professional shoot with your cell phone instead of a $2000 dale and a $3000 lens and tripod....

No matter the results, in many cases you’d be laughed off the gig.

On the flip side, many clients only care about cost. So asking for a pretty standard day rate of $1800 for commercial property ground shots have dwindled significantly because of smartphones and now everyone is a ‘photographer’.

You have to realize that most people don’t know what a good picture or video is, so if you have big, expensive equipment, then you must be good.
 
Hi all. I’ve been shooting aerials since the phantom 2 came out. Shot with Mavic and p4pro mostly until recently buying the I2. I found the p4pro to be an amazingly reliable workhorse. Never let me down and I’ve logged hundreds of flights. The quality is great, it’s quite easy to travel with and it can be graded to match my cameras on the ground easily. Having said that the new mavics are incredible. Outstanding quality and a great little package that is easily transportable.

But enter the Inspire 2. I’m totally blown away by the quality of this drone. I’m using the X7 and 4 DL lens kit. Also bought the laowa 9mm. It’s about as close to sending up a pro camera as you can get. The images are just amazing, and the difference in the look of the footage when switching to something like a 35mm or 50mm lens adds a totally different dimension. It truly looks like it’s being shot from a chopper. its also a very easy drone to control particularly when you pair it with a cendence controller where you can easily change trims and customize buttons. Finding it hard to take a crappy shot! I’m addition to this the clients I have shot for in the short time I’ve had it are really impressed with it, thankfully both it’s look and the results we are able to produce so it’s been a real asset to my business.

That said, it takes about 5-10 mins to set up. It’s a massive case with two controllers, 5 sets of batteries, screens etc. so it all depends on the shoot requirements. The most important factor of all is the skill of the pilot in my humble opinion.
Reuben
 

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