While attending the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) gathering in Las Vegas this past weekend, leading UAV manufacturer DJI unveiled what may soon become professional filmmakers’ new favorite toy: the Matrice 600 hexacopter. Designed specifically with Hollywood-level filmmaking in mind, the Matrice 600 offers users a suite of smart capabilities that make filming aerial scenes an absolute breeze. In addition to its A-list feature set, DJI also outfitted its newest drone with unprecedented camera and gimbal compatibility, allowing filmmakers the ability to even hoist RED’s Epic into the skies. In other words, DJI just raised the UAV bar yet again.
Under the hood, the Matrice 600 is one impressive development of drone engineering. Boasting dust-proof propulsion systems and actively cooled motors, DJI has successfully created a way to make maintenance of the craft easier while also allowing the rig to maintain peak performance during longer shoots. Concerning those longer sessions, the Matrice 600 allows pilots to install six different batteries into the craft itself while also giving them one-button control over turning them on. Furthermore, its intelligent battery system continuously updates users with each battery’s status level and even keeps the UAV in flight if one fails or dies.
While flying, the Matrice 600’s built-in LightBridge 2 video downlink lets filmmakers stream 1080p video in 60 frames per second at a distance of three miles. While this uptick in transmission is a welcome sight, it’s DJI’s new A3 flight controller that users should really get excited about. With triple modular redundancy and continuously running diagnostics which actively compare sensor data, the Matrice 600 flies absolutely seamlessly. As filmmakers of any skill level would attest, this is absolutely paramount to any shoot.
“The DJI M600 is a completely integrated, heavy lifter aerial system for filmmakers,” says DJI lead engineer Paul Pan. “Equipped with the A3 Flight Controller, you get intelligent flight modes such as Waypoints, Follow Me, and Point of Interest.”
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Aside from the M600’s smart feature lineup, DJI’s inclusion of a wide range of compatible gimbals gives users unparalleled control over which camera they choose to use during a shoot. While the craft’s compatibility with all of Zenmuse’s cameras and gimbals is certainly noteworthy, DJI’s release of its Ronin-MX universal aerial gimbal is where the Matrice 600 can truly shine. Filmmakers who opt to attach the Ronin-MX to the UAV instantly have the ability to control an on-drone gimbal like never before. Capable of continuously rotating 360 degrees without locking and maintaining flight for roughly 15 minutes with a 13-pound payload, the Ronin-MX is a boon for aerial filmmaking.
DJI’s Matrice 600 is available for purchase now via the company’s website at $4,599.