In the ever-changing world of high adrenaline photography and videography, action cameras, such as the GoPro, are definitely the quickest growing of all the segments in the photography market. Even though the manufacturers of these amazing devices have provided options we have never seen before, a substantial focus has been on their limitations rather than their deliverables.
One such limitation that these devices have is not so much in their tech than in their application, or the desired application of the user. Many want to be able to capture footage that is stunning and somehow shot by them, of themselves, from an almost etheric perspective. So how do you stand both behind the camera, and in front of it?
Enter the HEXO+, a device that is based on largely available hardware with software that has been hacked by the best to provide a Hollywood style cinematic recording ability.
The obvious first step to take was to get beyond the ‘single perspective’ or point of view as far as the shooting capacity goes. This was achieved with the development of a smooth innovation called ‘follow me’ which allows the automation of a drone through GPS, and internal navigation computations linked to the subject.
This development allows the drones to keep themselves a specified distance away from the subject as they calculate the flight path required to achieve the desired footage. Competitors in the market, such as the AirDog and the Iris+ apply the principles of ‘follow me’, but they are comparatively limited when stacked up against the HEXO+.
The HEXO+ allows the user to create an entire storyboard utilizing camera angles and effects such as a 360degree spin, panning, and zooming. And it doesn’t stop with the hardware!
Cinematography taken to the next level with the HEXO+ App
I had the opportunity to break out an earlier version of the storyboarding app for the iOS with the HEXO+ and it really was something else! Simple to understand, the design and the UX were smooth with intuitive icons and steps. The app cleverly lets you take control of the scripting of the video, and you can work with your preferred version of the GoPro without any difficulty.
Xavier de Le Rue, HEXO+ Founder, spent some time recently sharing the story about the inspiration for this project. He explained that he had been using different types of drones over the years within his video production company, but he found that he was consistently frustrated both with the lack of precision from human-controlled drone flight, and the compounding additional expense of having a film crew on hand. He said that the HEXO+ is capable of performing slow-speed pans with a higher level of precision than remote-controlled alternatives that he has previously used.
Coming soon to a low-level extreme sports airspace near you
Currently still a prototype, the HEXO+ is pending launch after final decisions are made on the type of flight controller that will be used, and the refining of the open source software which is based on modified 3D robotics code that has had the manual control mode removed.
It is anticipated that the first version of the HEXO+ won’t include subject tracking or obstacle avoidance capabilities, but the team is looking at those and other features for future versions. With production expected to commence in March, the sticker price you might see on a HEXO+ could be around $1,500 post the pre-order period where the price is rumored to be $1,150.