Drones may be small but most operators, me included, are generally guilty of turning up to a job with endless flight cases. After all, how can we possibly travel without our cones, chargers and kettle?
But for BBC ONE’s Countryfile that wasn’t an option. The task was simple, and daunting: carry everything needed for a broadcast-quality shoot on a 4-mile round trip up and down the Tryfan mountain in Snowdonia. And single-handed.
The DJI Inspire was definitely the tool for the job but its width makes it tricky to house in a conventional rucksack. There are some options out there for carrying the complete case but they really don’t look fit for purpose. Instead it was a good chance to try the soft DJI Inspire backpack.
In this configuration, batteries, controller, filters, cards and any other accessories travel in the main compartment with the Inspire held by strapping on the back. It’s much like a baby carrier really, with arms and legs shooting out of the four corners. Do fit some weather protection though as the motors are all exposed. And, whatever you do, don’t fall over because the Inspire will cop it first.
The shoot itself had plenty of challenges, mainly because of a desperate shortage of flat areas to use as landing points. Flat(ish) rocks and narrow patches of gorse were the best options, making for some high-pressure landings as the wind steadily increased. But, 10 flights later, a tally of zero crashes was a good result.
Verdict after 6 hours on the mountain? A big success for the backpack. No back ache, not even a stiff neck. Plus some great shots and plenty of amazing memories.
The Countryfile Children in Need Ramble is on BBC ONE on 1 November 2015