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Make a DIY Photography Drone With Some Balloons and Your Camera Phone

By Hanssie on November 21st 2015

DIY-drone-bbc-earth-videoSo you really want a drone for Christmas, but you’re on Santa’s naughty list this year? Don’t want to buy one and deal with the new registration regulations that are about to be set forth? Or maybe dropping a couple grand on Phantom DJI for yourself isn’t feasible right now. Whatever the reason may be,  the following DIY project can get you those drone shots you’ve been dreaming about with just a few inexpensive items, most of which you have around your house.

This BBC Earth Unplugged video shows you how to make your own DIY drone (it’s not as pretty – though some may argue that it’s prettier). You’ll need some balloons, a helium tank, some fishing wire, a fishing pole, the top of a 2-liter bottle, and your camera phone. Suspend the phone from the bottle top (so in case it all goes to hell, your phone won’t smash into the ground). Then attach a bunch of balloons (a la the movie, UP!) to the “drone” and tie the other end to a fishing pole.

[REWIND: See more DIY PROJECTS in these articles here]


Set your camera to snap photos every 10 seconds and voila! Your very own “drone.” They also show you how to build an easy suspension rig for your new toy if you want it to shoot forward and not straight down using a few binder clips as well as what the results look like if you attach a GoPro to your build. Of course, this won’t replace a real drone, but it’ll do in a pinch.

[Via Picture Correct]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Gabriel Rodriguez

    Nice!! Thanks for the article, Hanssie!

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  2. Steven Pellegrino

    It’s quieter than a drone, plus drones make people suspicious, balloons make people smile!

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  3. Barry Cunningham

    Another way is to use kites.
    There has been a Kite Aerial Photography group on flickr for some time now.

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