Live streaming and drone cameras are a truly great combination. Drone live streams basically give humans two awesome superpowers: the ability to see something that is happening right now far away, and the ability to fly/see the ground from a bird’s eye view. There’s a broad range of emerging applications for live streaming using drones, including:

  • Rearch
  • Enhanced video footage for live events (sports, shows, concerts)
  • Drone racing
  • Recreational/Travel
  • Journalism
  • Law enforcement
  • Search and rescue
  • Security and monitoring

The post dives into how we can live stream with drone.

Many drones come with the live streaming feature available in the app. This the same manufacturer’s app that you download on your phone/tablet and use to monitor your drone’s flight. The phone is paired and mounted on to the drone remote controller. With the phone paired, you can now select the live broadcast platform (YouTube, Facebook Live, custom RTMP) and go live.

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This setup is perfect for those who are on the go (travel bloggers and people who like sharing live video with friends), just remember that you need a good internet connection (Wi-Fi or cellular data) and good reception in the area. Keep in mind that most drone apps only offer up to 720p resolution for live streaming, so that’s all the quality you can hope for.

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Capture card and streaming software

If you want to live stream in HD and are familiar with using video streaming software, then this setup may work well you. For it to work, your remote controller must have an HDMI out. More advanced controllers like DJI’s Inspire 2 come standard with an HDMI output, but if yours doesn’t – you may need to invest in an HDMI output module. After this, you will need to connect the controller’s HDMI out to a computer through a capture card. Streaming software and a good landline internet connection will do the rest. This setup is perfect for streaming live events that require mixing and switching between a few video and audio inputs (like a concert).

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Single-source stream to private channel

This setup will work for those looking to live stream drone footage from just one drone to a private channel. Search and rescue missions are a perfect example: if you are the drone pilot, you would want to share the stream with a limited number of eyes, quickly and reliably. The setup involves that same remote controller with HDMI and a simple encoder.

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Multi-source stream

If you are looking to combine and live stream drone footage from a number of sources in high quality, then you may want to consider a more advanced video switcher, such as Oton Geek S06-A. S06-A will take in up to 4 HDMI inputs from the drones, encode them, and stream them to one or 4 platforms of your choice. A setup like this would work great with a dynamic event like drone racing. Video is captured from each of the competitor drones, so we get to see exactly what the racing pilots see. Oton Geek S06-A will be able to handle all that fast paced action and keep the video smooth. There’s even two more video inputs for any other cameras working on the set, as well as pro audio input.

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A Word of Caution

If you are as excited about live stream drones as we are and maybe even thinking about picking out one for yourself, just keep in mind a few things about flight safety and some general advice:

  • It’s easy to break your first three drones.
  • Don’t buy the most expensive drone right away. Learn how to control it first practicing on a more basic model. Also, always be careful about where you fly the drone. Be sure to follow FAA Rules and regulations for UAV. Here are the highlights:
  • Always stay below 400ft
  • Don’t fly near or over airports or airfields
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Remember that flyaways do happen, so keep an eye on your drone at all times.

Final Word

We do hope this article was able to inspire you to consider adding live stream drone footage into your production mix. Live streaming directly from a drone truly opens up a whole world of new and useful possibilities. Let us know about your experience using live stream drone footage or perhaps describe your live streaming setup in the comments below, we would love to know!