First Flight | Phantom 4

"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return" 


Every once in a while, something happens which completely changes your perspective on something - A complete paradigm shift, even. For me, that was the DJI Phantom 4. Prior to this, I have never considered using drones for video work, especially not as a wedding shooter. It seemed far too impractical for a fast paced event like weddings. That, of course, changed when we got a wedding client who specifically requested the use of a drone. 

So we went out and rented a Phantom 4. Two weeks before the shoot. Why not.

Phantom 4 donald ong visuals


And that's when it happened. From the moment I got the drone in the air, I was hooked. Having flown an actual aircraft before (and thoroughly enjoying it), flying the drone gave a similar sense of freedom. It reminded me of what it was like to be in the air again. To have no boundaries, no limits. I was hooked. If there was a gateway drug for flying, this was it.

The first 5 minutes was trying to figure out the controls and setting up the DJI App. While setting up a drone may seem daunting at first, it really wasn't. Within 10 minutes, I was in the air, recording breathtaking visuals and making complex arching moves and flight patterns. It was amazing.

Aerial shot dji donald ong visuals

It's humbling to think that less than a decade ago, a shot like this would have required chartering a helicopter with incredibly expensive, cumbersome gimbal-based camera rigs. Now, this is possible with a drone that fits in a backpack and costs less than 1 hour of fuel for said helicopter. 

Operating the drone

Pointing the drone in literally any direction, we found interesting compositions and shots that we wouldn't otherwise have gotten from the ground. It really was a breath of fresh air. That fresh air didn't last long, though. After 3 batteries and around an hour, we were out of juice, and our bird had to come back down. It was an absolute thrill. As I had my Sony FS5 handy with me at the time, I decided to make a short film (Video above!) out of the experience, while my mate commandeered the drone.  

In a way, though, I regret flying the drone - Because now I want one.