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HGLRC Sector 132 Review | Unique 4K Micro Drone

HGLRC Sector 132 4K is a pretty new design concept in its ability to used as a 3" micro and a 2.5" 'proptected' cinewhoop while able to record 4K with the Caddx Tarsier 4K dual camera. Its a compelling quadcopter due to its affordable price and the ability to be flown inside and outside.

The quadcopter comes as a BNF (bind to fly) or PNP (plug and play). The BNF version offers two different types of receiver, FrSky R-XSR, and FrSky XM+. PNP version comes without a receiver and that means that you will have to buy a separate receiver and put it in by yourself.

At the date of writing this review, HGLRC Sector 132 4K comes with a price of around 160 USD with free worldwide shipping for the PNP version and around 175 USD for the version that comes with the FrSky XM+ receiver. 

If we went ahead and bought all the parts separately, the price would come to around 260 USD without a receiver so you are saving yourself around 85 USD and 2-3 hours that would take you to build it completely.

Model

Store Options

Firmware

Type

Rate

Sector 132 4K

Betaflight

Cinewhoop

Use the Coupon Code BNJGRB-G-73K to get 8% OFF

Package includes

1x F4 Zeus AIO Flight Controller
1x FD VTX Micro
4x FD1106 3800KV Brushless Motor
1x Sector132 Freestyle Frame Kit
1x CADDX Tarsier 4K
6x Gemfan 2540 propeller
6x Gemfan 3035 propeller
1x Hammer Antenna
1x Receiver(BNF version)

Build quality

The quadcopter was well protected in its box, it came with extra screws for mounting the prop guards, TPU GoPro mount, 6x Gemfan 2540 propeller and 6x Gemfan 3035 propeller.

The CADDX Tarsier 4K camera stick out, but when the prop guards are on its well protected. The receiver antennas are protected and held by plastic tubes, which could be a failure point but had no problems with it soo far.

The frame features a unibody design, it bends a bit but feels nice and has chamfered edges.

All the wiring is well done with nice solder joints, everything fits well due to the AIO Zeus board.

The whole build uses M2 screws, and you get a bunch of spares included in the box. The frame is missing one row of standoffs to fit the VTX which is not a deal breaker but it flexes and it could potentially be a breaking point.

The unibody bottom plate with arms is 3mm thick while the top plate is 2mm. If you break an arm you have to replace the whole frame but thats a given on 3" frames.

Features

Specs


Model

HGLRC Sector132

Voltage

3-4S

Weight (Dry)

154g

Weight (AUW)

214g

Optional RX

FrSky XM+

Flysky A8s V2

Crossfire Nano

VTX

FD Micro 400mW Smart Audio

Camera

Caddx Tarsier 4K

FC+ESC

HGLRC F4 Zeus AIO 15A

Motors

FD1106 3800KV

Battery Connector

XT30

Battery options

Since this is a transformer drone with different weights and flight styles to get the most out of it you should be using two different batteries dependent on the application.

For flights with prop guards and inside you should use a 3S battery for better throttle control. HGLRC recommends a 3S around 550mAh with average flight times of 3-5 minutes.

For flights without prop guards and 3" propellers you could use a 3S but if you are outside a lighter 4S would make this little 3" scream. HGLRC recommends a 4S 450mAh, you could use a bigger pack but at cost to performance. Flight time on this setup is 3 minutes average so make sure you grab a couple of them since it is really fun to fly.

We used Tattu r-line packs for our testing and were getting good results, you could use any brand just make sure the packs are with a XT30 plug.

FC, ESC, vtx stack and camera stack

The Sector 132 comes with HGLRC electronics, HGLRC F4 Zeus 15A 4in1 ESC Flight Controller is an AIO board with FC, PDB and ESC built in. Thanks to it being AIO the whole stack fits in nicely since the camera stack fills up most of the space in the frame.

The flight controller is an F4 board that comes with Betaflight 4.0.4 flashed. It has OSD, 4 Uarts, 8MB of BlackBox memory, 2 custom PID profiles for 2.5" props with prop guards and a tune for 3" props without prop guards.

The tune is OK, it is a base tune without bidirectional DShot since the ESC is BlHeli_S, you could flash JazzMaverick BlHeli_S SiLabs on it but it flies pretty good without it. The ESCs are 15A which is plenty for a 3". The board comes with a low-esr capacitor preinstalled which will eliminate any noise issues you might run into without it. It is always recommended to use a capacitor with AIO boards.

The HGLRC FD VTX Micro has a 20x20 board with a IPEX connector, the quadcopter comes with an antenna. The VTX goes up to 400mW and has smart audio for changing the setting in the Betaflight OSD menu. HGLRC VTXs are well known to be reliable and put out the advertised power. 

The 5.8Ghz antenna is mounted on a TPU 3D printed part with the receiver antenna inside the plastic tubes, on the bottom there is an option to mount it horizontally and mounting options for a 900Mhz receiver antenna like for TBS Crossfire.

FPV/HD CAMERA

This is what makes this quadcopter soo interesting and worth buying. For such a low price you are getting a Caddx Tarsier camera that can record up to 4K HD video, this is really important on 3" setups since they are too small to carry a GoPro, this is the best way to capture video with a small quadcopter.

Plus the FPV feed is on par with the best cameras out there, very similar to the Caddx Ratel. To change the FPV camera settings use the standard camera joystick, the connector is cut off for some reason and if you don't have a spare connector you are going to have a bad time changing any FPV settings, luckily the settings are very good out of the box..

To change the setting on the camera you will need to use the app and connect to the camera with your phone. The quadcopter has to be powered on of-course. Use the app to check the picture and expose properly.   

Resolution

Frame Rate

4K 16:9

30 fps

2.7k 4:3

60 fps

1440p 4:3

60 fps, 30 fps

1080p 16:9

90 fps, 60 fps, 30 fps,

720p 16:9

120 fps

Motors

The HGLRC FD1106 3800KV Brushless Motors are a bit small for a 3" since most of the 3" builds feature a 14xx motor, this was quite a surprise because they performed really well. This is due to a lower pitch and light propeller. We tried Gemfan Windancer 3028 3-blade Propellers which resulted in hot motors and a lot of propwash. There is a reason they chose such light props.

When installing the prop guards use the longer screws included in the box, when switching back and removing the guards use the old screws, these will damage your motor since they are too long and will dig into the winding.

quadcopter convertible

The HGLRC Sector 132 4K has something unique about it, being a BNF getting this kind of customisability and versatility out of the box is unusual. The biggest advantage with a BNF like this being able to convert from a 3" freestyle micro to a safe indoor cinewhoop just by adding the propguards makes it feel like you are getting two quadcopters compared how different these configurations fly.

This little guy can even carry a small HD camera like a GoPro Hero 5 Session, not that it is recommended considering how small the motors are plus you already have a 4K camera included. Non the less HGLRC provides you with a GoPro mount expanding the possibilities even more. 

When in cinewhoop mode the quad does feel a bit underpowered paired with a 3S battery for outdoors flying, but this configuration flies really well indoors. While flying straight the hover throttle position is just below the centre of the stick leaving no room for punches but thats what we come to expect from cinewhoops that are meant for taking smooth and stable footage, the lack of stabilisation could be a deal breaker for some but considering what this quadcopter is this is completely acceptable.

When in 3" freestyle mode the quadcopter feels just like any other 3" micro. Its small, light, fast and hella fun to fly in spots you wouldn't bring your 5". Quadcopters like this are great for flying on playgrounds and backyards. When in freestyle mode you will need to use a 4S battery, you might want to put a 1300mAh which you could, but to get the best performance HGLRC advises a much smaller battery 450mAh - 850mAh.

Keep in mind the lighter it is the better its going to perform in smaller places, but if you want to throw it around like a 5" use a heavier pack.

When installing the prop guards use the longer screws included in the box, when switching back and removing the guards use the old screws, these will damage your motor since they are too long and will dig into the winding.

Conclusion

HGLRC did something different with this design, which is always welcome in the FPV hobby. You do get one quadcopter but it can be used in two very different ways giving you the flexibility to fly it indoors as well as outdoors while not sacrificing performance.

HGLRC did something really beautiful with the options it provides you with out of the box letting you really choose how you want to fly this quadcopter. It is one of the cheapest 4K 3" micros on the market making it a clear banger!

Model

Store Options

Firmware

Type

Rate

Sector 132 4K

Betaflight

Cinewhoop

The closest thing to a quadcopter like this is the GepRC CineQueen 4K 3inch Hybrid CineWhoop which is 270$. The CineQueen has better specs in terms of bigger motors and a better ESC but since it is still BlHeli_S that doesn't make much difference. It also features a 3" prop guard and the HGLRC fits 2.5" props in its prop guards. 

For the low price HGLRC is a great option compared to anything on the market, take into consideration that you get a 4K video recording capable quadcopter for 170$ that flies amazing on 4S and 3" props! You really cant go wrong with it, it is a ton of fun with and without prop guards. 

 Author: Timon Terzić

GoPro ND Filters and How to Make Them

Why do you need them?

ND filters are like sunglasses for your camera, they are super useful for any kind of video filming. Since we want to set our shutter speed to the 180deg rule(1/60 for 30FPS) double the frame rate. Our footage will most likely be overexposed and we need ND filters. There are a bunch of options like Camera Butter or the Ethix stick-on ND filters for your GoPro Hero 5 Session. PolarPro and others for the GoPro Hero 5/6/7.

Here we will show you how you can make your own for any kind of GoPro and at the fraction of the cost! 

Getting motion blur is just part of getting good looking footage, check out Best GoPRO Settings for FPV to learn more about filming with FPV drones and how to color grade your footage to make it stand out.

Here is an example shot at 1/240 without an ND filter. Notice how there is no motion blur and vibrations are visible.

And this shot was filmed at 1/60 complying with the 180deg rule. Notice how there is a lot of motion blur and movement seems silky and smooth. To get 1/60 shutter speed footage not overexposed we used our DIY ND filter.

ND filters should only be used if the shot is overexposed, make sure to check your exposure by looking at the screen in the shade since the GoPro screens aren't very bright. Use the GoPro app to check exposure on the Session. The footage should be well exposed at the lowest ISO check our guide for more information on good exposition.

ND Filter options

The market is full of ND Filters for the GoPro Hero 5/6/7, most hyped are PolarPro but they come at a premium price, a budget option are the Telesin ND filters but are of lower quality. 

GoPro Hero 5/6/7 ND Filters

Best-selling

Most popular option

TELESIN 4 Pack ND Filter

This pack of ND filters is by far the most popular set out there, it features ND4 ND8 ND16 and CPL filters in a plastic case for easy storage. They are not durable and will break easily but for the price they are a no brainer since you will probably destroy any filter you get.

Highest quality

Best ND filter on the market

Shutter Collection - Cinema

These are the best ND filters you can get for your GoPro, they replace you lens cover and are made out of quality optical glass. They are more durable than any other option, if you have the budget, you have to go with these.

Low-profile

Stick on/off ND Filter

Camera Butter Glass ND filter

High quality, stick-on neutral density filter. If the adhesive gets dirty, you can simply wash it with water to rejuvenate it!  The adhesive only covers the edges of the glass so it does not impede the crystal-clear quality.

A great alternative

Really good and cheap solution

ETHIX TEMPERED ND FILTERS

The ETHIX ND filter is made to be used with multiple lens covers, the idea is you get a couple of covers and put different ND filters on them. When you need to change ND just unscrew the cap and pop on another one. This is similar to the PolarPro approach but cheaper. Around 60$ for the whole package (3x ND + 3x Cover).

Do not buy any of the circular ND filters they are of poor quality and get destroyed in crashes.

GoPro Hero 5 Session ND Filters

The Hero 5 Session is a bit unlucky in terms of ND filters, since it is discontinued there are not many options, sure ETHIX and Camera Butter make stick-on ND filters but its kinda hard to change them. The adhesive gets unusable after 3-5 changes on the ETHIX (compromised image quality due to particles) and the Camera Butter looses its stick and is easily lost during crashes. 

DIY ND Filters

The process is pretty simple, you will need screen protectors, a lot of them. Luckily they are cheap and easily available. ND filters work by blocking light, for this you can use pretty much anything, the best and cheapest option is car window tint stickers, you can find those at any car saloon or car shop, many home utility stores have them and shouldn't cost more than 20$ for a roll that will last you a lifetime.

There are a few options regarding tint, from 20% to 90% for the most part you will use the 50% and the 30%-35%. If you need higher tint you can combine them and the ND value doubles.

Start by unrolling the tint vinyl and stick on a screen protector on a unwrinkled area, the easiest way to cut it is to use an exacto knife. Go slow until you get the hang of it, cut out many of them since you will mess up your first few. You can use one old screen protector to use as a cutting guide. If you have the exact ND tint vinyl want to use you can stick on a new protector on an unwrinkled area and leave it there, if you do that, make sure there are no bubbles like in the photo, they will mess up you footage.

The tricky part is getting it on you camera, start by cleaning the camera glass as best as you can and work fast, dust particles in the air will settle down on your camera and create bubbles that will mess up your footage, screen protector usually come with a cleaning kit, use that to clean your camera as best as you can and quickly peel off the protecting vinyl off your tint that is attached to the screen protector. If you get large air bubbles use a drop of water to stick it on better. If you mess up your screen protector and get dust on it you can clean it by running it over water, you will not wash away the glue since it is not water-soluble.

After a few you will get the hang of it and your footage will be all buttery and nice. It is a pain in the but at first but since most regular pilots fly at the same time every session, you will not change ND filters that much.  

If you want to work fast get replacement lenses for your GoPro and have a couple of them with different ND on them, it will still be cheaper than getting those PolarPro ND filters. I personally have 2 Sessions and switch them up depending on what time of day I fly. One is for hard sunlight with an ND of 30% and the other is usually without one for sundown. Clouds and weather will always be a variable so make sure you check your phone and see if the image looks well exposed.

For the Hero 5 Session and Hero 8 there aren't that many options, most of them are going to perform better than our DIY ND filters but if price is an issue this is a good enough solution.

Best GoPro Settings for FPV How to Get Good HD Footage

Most FPV pilots have an HD camera paired with the standard analog FPV camera. Some systems like the DJI FPV system have onboard HD recording which is nice to look at but doesn't come close to GoPro footage in terms of quality. 

With the rise of popularity, some pilots even do FPV for a living, filming commercials, music videos and movies, it's a great time to be an FPV pilot. 

In this guide we will show and explain how to get professional grade footage out of your GoPro. How to set it up in terms of camera settings and some workflows to help you get the best possible footage your camera can provide.

GoPro options

GoPro Hero 6 Black

Offers good quality footage but no built in stabilisation. It was the camera of choice for reelsteady stabilisation workflow(Hero 8 Black is better now). This camera is still one of the best options for the price, since its an older camera it goes by cheaper than other cameras, and has a clean gyro, making it the cheapest reelsteady camera out there.

GoPro Hero 6 Black

GoPro Hero 7 Black

Is the first camera that offers built in electronic stabilisation in form of HyperSmooth. Image quality is pretty much the same as the Hero 6. This is a great all around camera but reelstedyGo doesn't support it.

GoPro Hero 6 Black FPV

GoPro Hero 8 Black

Is has the same sensor as the Hero 7 Black but records video at a higher bit-rate, that means more information per frame making the footage better and sharper. The camera also has HyperSmooth 2.0 which is on par with ReelSteady. It 

GoPro Hero 8 Black FPV

GoPro Hero 5 Session

The Session is the "Golden nugget" of FPV Freestyle, it is small, lightweight and can capture up to 4k. Most pilots prefer this camera for freestyle. It can be used for cinematic flying but make sure your drone is tuned since it doesn't offer any stabilisation and reelSteady doesn't work.

GoPro Hero 5 Session FPV

Obviously the best option is the Hero 8 Black but for the price you can't go wrong with any of the cheaper models.

Some split style cameras are able to capture 4Kp@30fps but that can’t measure with GoPro footage quality and protune, but can be edited to look more professional. 

In this guide we will strive for the best possible image quality from your GoPro.

For footage exposition hacks check the GoPro ND Filters Guide

Resolution and frame rate

When choosing a resolution and frame rate you have a few different options. Usually you want to shoot at the highest resolution your camera can shoot at but for freestyle that is not the case.

2.7k is plenty for fast flipy flopy tricks since you won't be able to see details while doing a lot of movement. Plus your hard disk will be full in no time.

When shooting cine shots you want to get that 4K crispy footage paired with an appropriate frame rate.

FOV

FOV° or Field Of View is a number in degrees that specifies the angle or how wide your image looks. Our FPV cameras usually are between 130°-180° while the GoPro from 90°-170°.

Superview is the Golden Standard in FPV since bigger FOV makes jitters and general movement look smoother but with cinewhoops we might want to choose a narrower FOV to get that cinema like look to our footage.

If we want to focus on the speed and movement of the shot we would use a wider FOV, on the other hand if we want to focus on a subject we would use a narrower FOV.

FOV-visible-area-comparison-FPV

Aspect ratio

GoPros offer two aspect ratios, since the sensors are 4:3 that is the native aspect ratio of the sensor. GoPro has a feature called Superview which squashes down on the aspect ratio and makes it a 16:9 frame but with 4:3 information which gives that GoPro look we all know and love.

4:3 is a compelling choice since people and general proportions look more natural. We could also crop in the 4:3 image and reframe our shot.

GoPro Color 

GoPro has an GoPro Color option that saturates the image, some people like it, some don't. For the most part it is recommended to use the flat color(unsaturated) profile if you plan to color grade the footage.

Recommended GoPro Hero 6/7/8 Black settings

Frame rate, shutter speed and ISO are parameters that you want to lock down in your protune settings to get good results. Your ISO should always be locked to as low as possible. High ISO numbers make your footage grainy and generally bad looking. Lock it to 100 and go from there, if you are using a GoPro with a screen you can just look at the image and check if its properly exposed. If you are using a Session you can use the App to set protune settings. If your image is overexposed or all blown out white, you need an ND filter. 

How to properly expose

Camera exposure is a term which describes how much light is gathered per frame. There are 3 parameters which determine how exposed your shot is: shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Since the aperture is fixed on a GoPro you can only play with ISO and shutter speed (in theory there is EV comp but we recommend you always leave it at 0). 

camera exposure fpv

To properly expose you will need to look at the screen on a Hero 6/7/8, with the Hero 5 Session you will need to connect your phone and check every time you go out and fly to make sure you are properly exposed. After a while you will get the hang of it and determine if you don't have to change any settings just by looking outside.

See if the ground is detailed, if its over exposed use an ND filter, if its underexposed try to up the ISO a bit, but keep in mind its harder to fix underexposed footage since you cant add light. For overexposed situations use an ND filter. SEE ND FILTER GUIDE

Over exposed camera

Over exposed

Well exposed camera

Well exposed

Under exposed camera

Under exposed

For cinematic slow flying

Resolution

4K - 3840x2160

Frame rate

30 FPS

Aspect ratio

16:9

FOV

SuperView

Shutter speed

1/60

ISO (Lock)

100

For ReelSteady - GoPro Hero 6 (Stabilisation - off)

Resolution

4K - 4096x3072

2.7K - 2704x2028

Frame rate

30 FPS

60 FPS

Aspect ratio

4:3

FOV

Wide

Shutter speed

1/120

ISO (Lock)

100

For freestyle - GoPro Hero 5 Session

Resolution

2.7K - 2704x2028

Frame rate

30 FPS

Aspect ratio

16:9

FOV

SuperView

Shutter speed

1/60

ISO (Lock)

100

Color grade your footage

After you got the footage, making sure it is properly exposed and import it into your video editor of choice, we recommend DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X. There are a few good mobile options like VivaCut Video Editor but use a desktop application for best results. After you got your sequence of clips sorted out you can start color grading.

Color graded footage

Not color graded footage

Adobe Premiere comes with Lumetri color, we will break down this shot and get the same color grade in a few simple steps easy to follow and repeatable on other shots.

To get this kind of look you need to adjust just a few parameters, since the ungraded footage is a bit under exposed bump the exposure a bit until you can see more details in the shadows. 

Then max out the contrast to 100 to get the super contrasty, cinematic look.

As you can see the light parts of the image got over exposed, to combat this crush the highlights by setting it to 0.

Flat color profiles are not saturated giving you the most color information, to bring it to look pleasant, adjust the saturation to the desired point. This is where you will need to be practical, adjust it to where want it and dial it down 25% because people like to oversaturate the footage, you want it too look nice but realistic. in this particular case since the footage was shot after sundown and is a bit underexposed we need it at 200.

Color grading is something that you will have to experiment a bit, this case that we just graded, to get it to where it is now I tried a few different options. If you have more shots from the same clip use an adjustment layer to copy the grade.

This was just an example, your footage will need a different grade to look good, start by following the same steps just chose different values for every setting depending on your shot and the look you are going for. No shot is the same, there is no cookbook you will just have to experiment a bit to get it looking good. Practice makes perfect after a few graded shots you will ge the hang of it. 

A color grade can make or break your footage, after a while you will get the hang of if. Try recreating someone elses grade to get good, and dont forget to have fun!

Getting Into Cinewhoops | Cinematic FPV Drones

In this guide we're going to learn all about Cinewhoops. It is a relatively new style of drone created to provide smaller and safer option while flying in various environments. We'll go over the pre build options and suggest a few tips to get the best cinematic footage.

What is a cinewhoop and who is it for?

Cinewhoops are drones specifically designed for capturing chrisp, stable, high-definition video that DJI drones can’t capture. They are small, stable and much safer than your 5” FPV drone. They usually run 3” propellers that are protected in ducts that give them more lift*. 

Cinematic whoops fly quite different from a regular 5” FPV drone. The power to weight ratio is much lower,  hover/cruise is at around 40% throttle (depending on the HD camera), that doesn't leave much room for correction or throttle punches. 

Since they fly slow and steady it’s pretty easy to fly in and around objects, since the props are protected you can fly with more confidence around your subject and get those amazing close up shots you always wanted to do.

The cinewhoop is for everyone who wants slow smooth footage, film makers, vloggers, travelers all love cinewhoops making their drone footage stand out from the crowd. Cinematic drones are tools, but still really fun to fly if you like cruising around.

Cinewhoop FPV platform design

There are a few factors that make a 3” ducted drone compelling. The first one is obviously the ducts. While the ducts act more of a bumper than a real airfoil duct. Learn more.

Clearance between the duct and the prop is much bigger than NASA described in their research. The ducted design doesn't add much thrust to an already underpowered drone, making the ducts obsolete in performance aspect but give an unbeatable advantage compared to a open prop design, SAFETY! 

The ducts can offer some performance boost but only with a custom made and balanced prop. Since most of the BNF options ship with a slightly larger than 3” duct set you cant use 3” props since they must have 0-1% clearance to get any performance boost. 

So why do we need the ducts then? Newer designs of the cinewhoop follow a trend of adding foam to the sides making them bounce off obstacles and protecting the frame. These designs make them almost impossible to break since they don't fly that fast.

Classic duct design

This design was made popular by Andy Shen with the shendrones Squirt and his TPU ducts. His idea was to print 3” ducts out of TPU and custom cut props to fit the ducts. The props were a few mm bigger than the duct so they would dig into the TPU and get that clearance for extra thrust.

This design has shaped the cinewhoop scene and provides one of the best platform for cinematic flying. This design allows the Squirt to carry a lot of weight and be really smooth.

One thing that the Squirt lacks is durability, since the ducts are TPU when you bump stuff it takes the hit but also damages the duct since the props are made to fit just barely and you lose some of the performance and often brake a prop. This problem is solved with the second design trend.

Foam bumper ducts

Where this design came from is disputed, the earliest design we found was the Bumper Frame from Armattan Quads. This design was made more popular with the Bee-Bumper from Laurent Athenol (Frame-Concept). It takes what is good from the classic Squirt and improves durability and fun factor since you can bump stuff and not damage anything.

For a more casual flyer this is the way to go, designs like this don't utilise the duct thrust gains and go with a more mainstream road. There are 2 BNF options on the market right now but more will come really soon.

iFlight has actually partnered with Frame-Concept and made the BumbleBee hence the name. While the Diatone Tycan “borrowed the design” it improves on the gripes of the Bee-bumper and BumbleBee like maintenance arm replacement.

Best Cinewhoop RTF BNF OPTIONS

There are dozens of BNF cinewhoops on the market, all of them have their quirks and advantages. There are 2 main design trends designers follow, foam bumpers that are getting so popular these days and the classic duct design

Notable Mention

Collaboration Laurent Athenol and iFlight

iFlight BumbleBee

This quad is made for angle mode cinematic flying, while flying steady and smooth it performs like a beast, as soon as you start going wild on the stick it bucks you off like a wild horse.

“What if you take our popular MegaBee frame and optimize it in every detail? You get the BumbleBee!” The BumbleBee is a collaboration between iFlight and Laurent Athenol who is the maker of the BeeBumper frame. This BNF has received mixed reviews from reviewers being outperformed by most of the competition while at a higher price. We have a tuning guide on this cinewhoop making it a cinematic beast in just a few simple steps.

Our Pick

Improved BeeBumper that flies shockingly well

Diatone Tycan

An absolute chainsaw in the air that performs amazing for how heavy it is. It has pretty good throttle control and is easy to maintain.

The BNF version is about 209$ and that is a damn good price for something like this, although it isn’t the best flying cinewhoop out there you really can’t complain for the price point. With great flight time, it is possibly the best cinewhoop for what it is.

Top of the line

shendrones-squirt-v2

Godfather of slow super proximity cinematic flying

Shendrones Squirt 

The Squirt was originally conceived to fly slow and stable, but in the hands of great pilots, it got pushed way beyond its original intent. 

While at first it was just a frame, you can buy the BNF with the DJI system only. This is one of the drones that made cinewhoops popular, it is the most tested and supported platform of them all. If you want professional grade performance this is it, but at a professional price point. Note: No electronics included (camera, antenna, motors, etc.)

Good option

Small space? Tight gaps? Indoor safety? But you need that 4K? Well, here you go... 

iFlight Megabee v2.1

Taking what is tested and proven from the Squirt and putting a iFlight twist. If you want a Squirt-like drone that comes prebuilt and in analog this is it!

The Megabee V2.1 is an upgraded iFight cinewhoop borrowing a lot from the Squirt. It has iFlight components and performs on par if not better than the BNF competition.

Tune and rates for flying smooth

Cinewhoops can seem quite unstable at times. since they have such low power to weight ratio they too often rely on ground effect which makes unwanted air vortexes and make the air coming into the prop “dirty” resorting in wobble and unstable hover.

That's why the tune is the most important thing when flying a cinewhoop without ReelSteady. Since they are quite heavy the P and the I have to be raised, in our iFlight BumbleBee quick setup guide we explain the nuances of tuning a cinewhoop, and share our tune for the drone, taking it from unflyable out of the box to a cinematic beast able to do freestyle without propwash with stock props. SEE iFlight BumbleBee GUIDE

Wind can be a huge factor in flight performance, since cinewhoops have ducts the wind has much more surface area to push the drone in unwanted direction. What you do with the sticks is going to help you alot in combating these problems.

Cinewhoop pilots often describe flying the cinewhoop like flowing with the drone instead of fighting it and making jitters and more movement, with cinewhoops less is always more.

To get super smooth footage you must give in and let the drone do the work for you, let the drone drift in a controlled manner and when doing corrections make them as slow and small as possible, cinewhoops are small and bounceable so don't stress too much if you hit something. Confidence is key!

Cinewhoop Camera options

Cinematic whoops usually have a GoPro mount, while there are a lot of cheap options it is always recommended to go with a GoPro rather than any of the alternatives.

With the Hero 7 black and Hero 8 having software stabilisation like hypersmooth and hypersmooth 2.0 they are some of the more compelling options for shooting smooth and stable shots and skipping over the reelsteady stabilisation step in the production workflow.

You might think that stabilisation is cheating but keep in mind that cinewhoops are not made for freestyle and showing of your skill of how smooth your drone can fly, but capturing the subject or shot as smooth as possible

To get the best footage possible out of the camera use protune settings in your GoPro. Frame rate, shutter speed and ISO are parameters that you want to lock down in your protune settings to get good results. Your ISO should always be locked to as low as possible. High ISO numbers make your footage grainy and generally bad looking. Lock it to 100 and go from there, if you are using a GoPro with a screen you can just look at the image and check if its properly exposed. 

If you are using a Session you can use the App to set protune settings. If your image is overexposed or all blown out white, you need an ND filter which we cover in a guide as well. SEE DIY ND Filters

If you want to learn more about camera settings and how to get professional footage to youtube SEE OUR "HOW TO GET GOOD FOOTAGE GUIDE"

Plan your shoot

Even if you are just flying for fun, always first look at your surroundings before taking off. Make note of any obstacles you can fly trough be creative in the way you present your shot.

Cinewhoops offer something that no other camera system can do, go trough stuff and change elevation, make sure your shots have some kind of story don't just orbit around and expect to get good footage, since this kind of filming is pretty new you can get away with more mistakes than you think you can, just make sure you fill up your frame with something interesting and just have fun!

A good and fun practice shot is to go through a tree canopy, this is possible because of ducts soo branches and leaves wont go into the props and take you out. Just make sure there isn't anyone below when you fly, cinewhoops are safe but they are really heavy.

By going through tight spaces you will learn to avoid and go through obstacles, practice going in a spiral up and down a tree, you will get the hang of it and get really cool footage. Have fun!