The Parrot Bebop drone. (Alyssa Bereznak/Yahoo Tech)
On Tuesday, the French drone company Parrot released its latest flying machine, the Bebop drone. The Bebop — so named for its ability to “dance” in the air — is equipped with a high-definition 14-megapixel camera, which is held stable with the help of shock-absorbing pads, and comes with an optional joystick-like controller to make flying easier for beginners.
Bebop pilots can move the camera’s view separately from the machine, within a 180-degree field. It can be controlled from either your tablet or a separate navigation tool called the Skycontroller.
This should mean more majestic and high-definition drone-shot wedding videos in the near future.
The Bebop avoids shaky footage in a number of ways through software that fixes the angle of the drone’s shots, smoothing over jagged takes, and through internal chips that digitally enhance what you’ve recorded.
While the Bebop’s sensors allow it to be controlled via Wi-Fi from any Android or iOS operating system, it can also be paired with a new accessory to help with the operation. The Skycontroller, which is reminiscent of a gaming controller you might play with at an arcade, can be fitted onto your tablet to create a centralized navigation center.
The Skycontroller. (Alyssa Bereznak/Yahoo Tech)
You simply throw a strap over your neck like you would with a camera and position your hands on two joysticks. A panel above your tablet is equipped with antennas that extend the reach of your Wi-Fi connection, so that you can terrorize your neighbors from as far as 1.2 miles away. The contraption is meant to help inexperienced fliers become accustomed to drone basics, with easy-to use launch, recording, and emergency landing buttons. I had tried flying a drone only once before but was able to easily navigate a Bebop through an open studio.
The only downside? Depending on what you’re doing with the drone, and whether you’re flying it with its detachable foam protectors, each battery gives you only 10 minutes of flying time. It comes with two, but they take about an hour and 45 minutes to charge.
In other words, you can creep on people only in short spurts. Also, that would have to be a pretty quick wedding!
The Parrot Bebop drone starts at $500 and will be available in December for $500. You can buy it with the Skycontroller for $900, if you’re extra fancy. Buy ‘em at Apple or Best Buy, online or in stores.