Skydio makes a move on filmmakers with KeyFrame autonomous drone cinematography

Skydio KeyFrame ai drone

Skydio’s AI-equipped autonomous drones are set to get even better with the release of a new feature today: Skydio KeyFrame. This skill allows Skydio 2 and Skydio 2+ drone users to design and capture smooth, complex cinematic shots with just a few taps. And the results speak for themselves.

Skydio’s drones are all about autonomy. With phenomenal obstacle avoidance and tracking capabilities, the Skydio 2 has a legion of consumer fans – many of whom are content creators and action sports enthusiasts. But the US drone manufacturer hasn’t quite managed to put itself on the radar of creative storytellers and narrative filmmakers yet. That changes today.

Skydio KeyFrame: New AI drone skill explained

In the world of filmmaking, a keyframe is a shot or a location on a timeline that defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition.

Similarly, with the new KeyFrame feature, you choose the transition points while building a shot, and Skydio Autonomy creates a continuous smooth camera path between them.

Here’s a short video that shows KeyFrame selection on the Skydio 2 app:

https://dronedj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/01/Skydio-KeyFrame-User-Interface_Trim.mp4

Once the KeyFrames are set, you can play it back, forward, or backward, as many times as you want at whatever speed you choose. The end result is camera motion that is smooth, precise, and repeatable.

Take a look at the shot resulting from the KeyFrame selection above:

https://dronedj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/01/Skydio-KeyFrame-User-Interface-Resulting-Shot.mp4

It’s worth highlighting that while KeyFrame is a feature the US drone manufacturer has announced alongside the new Skydio 2+ aircraft with improved transmission range, the skill would be available for the original Skydio 2 as well.

In announcing the Skydio KeyFrame, the company was quick to point out that manual drones are hard to fly, easy to crash, and unusable in environments with high GPS or compass interference –making it nearly impossible for even an expert pilot to create dynamic, smooth, and creative shots in complex environments.

But Skydio KeyFrame makes Hollywood-quality cinematography, available anywhere, anytime.

“One of the main things that set professional productions apart is the motion of the camera. With the help of cranes, jibs, and large production crews, Hollywood productions do really unique, interesting things. In the hands of an expert pilot, drone footage can be very cinematic,” Skydio CEO Adam Bry insists. “KeyFrame makes this capability accessible to a new wave of creators.”

Indeed, one of the most impressive things about Skydio KeyFrame is that it allows you to capture complicated shots that are either outside of your skillset or would have required multiple takes to get them right. With this AI feature, you not only get the specific camera movement you want, but you also have the option to edit the keyframes and get the exact results you desire.

That said, filmmakers also care about image quality. And while the 4K 60fps video from Skydio 2 and 2+ would suffice for most, we’re really hoping to see Skydio 3 feature specs like a bigger sensor, ProRes, and log that would give creators more room to color grade their shots.

In the meantime, here are some more sample videos that would make you want to try out Skydio KeyFrame ASAP.

Skydio KeyFrame sample videos

https://dronedj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/01/Skydio-KeyFrame-Landscape-Example-1_Trim.mp4
https://dronedj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/01/Skydio-KeyFrame-Waterfall-Effects.mp4

Read more: DJI Mobile SDK now supports Mini 2, Mini SE, Air 2S drones

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