Another 360-degree ‘invisible’ drone hits the market

Have an Insta360 One R camera? Looking to put it in the air? You’ve got a new option available.

You’ve no doubt heard of 360-degree cameras by now. They’re capable of capturing stills or video of the world around them. And when we say that, we truly mean it. They capture everything. When people first started putting 360-degree cameras on drones, they were generally mounted above or below the drone. That meant the drone would, depending on your final edit, appear in the shot.

But what if you could put a camera inside the drone’s body, so that only the two lenses were poking out on the top and bottom. In theory, you could capture a video that doesn’t include the drone anywhere – regardless of what you do in post. Flying with such an “invisible” drone opens up a lot of creative possibilities in the editing department.

Not the first

Start noodling around on YouTube and you’ll find no shortage of drone/360 experiments. In the early days people would mount them above a drone or hang them below. And even now, some creators are still doing that. Check out this video, featuring the recent Insta360 ONE X2. If you’re familiar with these cameras, you can just bump up to the 3:00 mark and you’ll get see this kind of mod in action:

Very slick…

Invisible drones

To make the “invisible” trick work, the camera needs to be in a position where the camera is mounted within the airframe itself, with only the lenses peeking just above (and below) the body of the drone. That way, when these two captures are stitched together, it appears as if the camera itself is flying. No propellers, no drone – just a camera moving through the air.

We saw this earlier, with the BETAFPV X-Knight 360. Here’s a video that gives you an idea of what a 360 video captured in this invisible configuration looks like, along with some slick editing. The only sign of the drone in these shots is the occasional shadow. And all of those wild pans and rotations? They’re done in editing, where you can choose to output anything from that 360 sphere:

It’s not super convenient getting that camera in there, but, wow, it’s worth it.

The latest invisible drone

The Insta360 ONE R is really a fantastic 360 or action camera. It’s compact and waterproof, and perfect for this kind of capture (though you do have to be careful not to scratch the lens).

The latest drone to exploit the ONE R as a platform is from NewBeeDrone, and it’s called the Invisi360 and comes in Bind ‘n Fly (BNF) configurations. The machine is equipped with a Caddx Vista, which is compatible with DJI’s FPV goggles. So you’re going to receive clear signals from the Vista, though you will not be seeing what the Insta360 ONE R (not included) captures during flight. But that doesn’t matter, since as pilot you only want to see what the Vista is seeing anyway.

The Caddx Vista comes installed…

One of the cool design features? Well, because a battery popping up would mess with the 360-degree imaging, NewBeeDrone has wisely designed an airframe where two 4S batteries can be run together, and tucked inside the frame. Have a look at this image from their website; you can also see the ONE R is snugly in place:

I don’t think we’ve seen this design before…

Here’s a different angle, where you can more clearly see what I mean about the lens(es) poking up just outside of the frame:

It comes with its own lens protectors (important!), but the current design means you can’t use Insta360’s own lens protectors, or the available ND filters. And while that’s a bit of a pain, we’re happy to see the manufacturer acknowledge the importance of lens protection; particularly with this kind of design.

And we were also really pleased to see a video shot with this machine. While we don’t know what post-production stabilization may have been used, NewBeeDrone says the cine-style machine is very smooth in the air. Let’s take a look:

Now that… is super slick. The drone retails for $459.99 (PNP Version) and $479.99 for the TBS Crossfire. Both versions include the Caddx Vista. You can get more information here.

As for Insta360, we’ve long been fans of their products. The ONE R is pretty spectacular, as well as the ONE X2. And if you’d like to fly something incredibly small and light, you can’t beat the GO 2.

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