Drone-mounted cameras are opening up a whole new world for video, but it's not always practical to control a camera drone yourself. Even with a partner around to track your adventure, getting good tracking or leading shots requires a skilled hand at the controls, and there are no guarantees that you'll get the shot you want. That's why the new Lily drone is so intriguing. This quadcopter can autonomously track and film anybody holding its control puck, and it's designed to get flying simply by being tossed into the air. Here's what it can do:
The camera in the Lily can shoot 1080p video at 60 FPS, or 720p at 120 FPS for slo-mo shots. It can also take 12-megapixels stills on command. Built-in compositions include leading, tracking, and looping modes. The Lily can fly as high as 50 feet above the subject, and it can lead or follow at distances up to 100 feet. Lily claims that the drone is built to IP67 waterproofing standards, meaning that it can be submerged up to 1 meter without ill effect.
The Lily's battery is only good for 20 minutes of flying time, however, and the company says that the battery is non-interchangeable due to the drone's waterproofing measures. Lily also says that the drone lacks object avoidance, according to this YouTube comment thread, so filming yourself in areas with crowded airspace could be dangerous.
Still, it's a neat concept, but there's a while to wait if you're ready to film your own derring-do. The drone is available for pre-order at a discounted $499 until June 15, but it won't start shipping until February 2016. The normal retail price will be $999.