Skip to main content

Nurk flies $3K CineLift drone over frozen river

A lot of people have been getting into CineWhoop drones over the past couple of years. These cinematic FPVs allow you to get high-quality footage on generally small rigs. But if you’re looking for a really high-end result, there are now more options available. Drones that can lift heavier cameras. Today, Nurk tests one out.

For the most part, CineWhoops tend to capture video using smaller action cameras: GoPros, Osmos, and Insta360 models are all popular choices. Some pilots, in fact, even strip those cameras down to their bare electronics in order to reduce weight and either increase flight time or slide under the 250-gram weight limit.

But some are heading in the other direction – drones known as “CineLifts.” They’re still a CineWhoop, technically, but the CineLift name is starting to stick and does differentiate them from their smaller siblings.

True cinematic quality

Let’s face it. GoPros and other action cameras can capture really awesome footage. But they don’t compare with the cameras that are used for full-fledged commercial production. If you’re shooting a movie or a high-end commercial, a GoPro isn’t going to blend seamlessly with the other footage captured. The dynamic range, color profile, etc. won’t be a match.

cinewhoop fpv drone
A basic CineWhoop drone

And so, as drones have grown in popularity, there’s been more demand for drones that can carry higher-end, heavier cameras. One of the pros at designing these is Andy Shen of Shen Drones. We interviewed Andy for a recent episode of our podcast, The Buzz.

Shen Drones Thicc

One of the popular frames out there for these pro applications is the Shen Drone Thicc. It’s an X-8 configuration and made for carrying rigs like the Black Magic Pocket. In the video we’re about to see, Nurk is testing a modified Thicc with ducts. These make the drone safer for flying near people (or pricey cars!), and with the way Andy Shen makes these ducts, they actually produce more thrust than running with naked props.

In this test, Nurk is flying it with a Panasonic BGH1 Cinema 4K Box Camera. The body of the camera alone is about $2,000. Then there’s the lens, plus the actual Thicc build. Put it all together, and you’ve got something like this:

Pretty impressive, Nurk…

Would you fly it?

We’ve seen Nurk fly some similar rigs before, with really high-end cameras. Of course, he’s a super-pro pilot. But the thought of flying a rig like this – though appealing – is also a bit daunting. The potential for smashing thousands of dollars worth of gear if something goes wrong is very real.

What about you? Would you be confident flying something like this? Let us know in the comments.