As DJI fills up the market with the best drone models in the world, it looks like the company has also quietly built a professional cinematography drone that’s so high-end, it’s not even for sale. You’ll have to hire DJI to send out a van with a dedicated team of professionals to fly the DJI STORM for you.
DJI STORM, the Drone That Comes with Its Own Van and Crew
The DJI STORM was quietly revealed in a YouTube video, and it seems to have flown under the radar. DJI STORM is a custom aerial platform powered by DJI Studio. It’s designed for the professional cinematography industry, able to carry various popular digital cinema cameras and lenses with the support of Ronin 2, Master Wheels, or Force Pro.
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Since it’s from DJI Studio, the DJI STORM can only be utilized if you hire DJI, as the studio is a customized flight platform tailored for professional film and television aerial photography. That means DJI STORM already comes with a full crew, custom drone, and truck, including the Ronin 2, Master Wheels, or Force Pro that we’re talking about.
DJI Studio isn’t a new business for DJI, by the way. DJI has been working with cinematographers in Asia for at least a couple years now, but its Chinese website shows that its offerings have been limited to the DJI Matrice 600 paired with a Sony A7S II camera or a DJI Inspire 2. Now, it’s apparently got a rig ready for customers who want more.
So what’s the catch?
DJI STORM is currently only available in China! On the DJI Studio website, the only listing listing for STORM is from Dajiang Media Film. It’s not clear when the DJI STORM will be available for hire in the US, if at all. When the Verge reached out to DJI’s representatives in the United States to get more info about the drone, they said they’d need to check with overseas teams first. At least one DJI STORM is in the US and is currently being tested by California-based helicopter services provider Helinet Aviation, which claims it’s the only DJI STORM outside China.
DJI STORM Specs
Supported cameras: Can be equipped with RED DSMC2 / ARRI ALEXA Mini, SXT, LF / Sony Venice
Lenses: Cooke Anamorphic, Cooke S7, ARRI Master Anamorphic, ARRI Master Prime, ARRI Signature Prime, ARRI Alura Zoom
Image transmission system: LightBridge 2 digital image transmission; maximum communication distance at 2 km
Maximum payload: 18.5 kg
Hover time: 15 minutes (12 kg payload), 25 minutes (no load)
Maximum horizontal flight speed: 60 km/h (GPS mode), 80 km/h (Sport mode)
Given its hefty hardware and specs, the Storm rises above other DJI pro drones like its Matrice 600. Featuring eight rotors and a payload capacity of 18.5 kg, DJI designed the custom drone to accommodate professional cinema grade cameras and lenses, including its Ronin gimbal stabilizer.
The DJI STORM is also capable of decent speed. The drone boasts a top speed of 80 km per hour, which is about 10 mph faster than their Matrice 600. Furthermore, the accompanying Storm promo video reveals that it can operate in extreme temperatures (-10 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius).
Battery life depends on what camera and payload the DJI STORM is hauling around. When deploying the DJI STORM for a film shoot, battery failure could disrupt progress. Thankfully, DJI’s dedicated operating team monitors battery usage to prevent that.
While the DJI STORM can carry twice the payload of a Freefly Alta 8 Pro, it probably isn’t in direct competition with high-end professional cinematography services from companies such as XM2, which boasts a whopping payload capacity of 75 kg. This puts the DJI STORM in a unique class of drone cinematography equipment, but still, it’s an interesting concept from DJI. Based on DJI’s video on the DJI STORM, it seems that this service may be focused on Asia and possibly other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where drone regulations are more lenient.