Drones are great for doing aerial photography, but they’re not always the best fit for every job at hand. When you need to film for several straight hours (drone batteries tend to tap out at 30 minutes or less) or when the skies are particularly windy, for instance, drones won’t exactly get you what you need. That’s when you’ll want something like the Skyshot Helikite.
An aerostat, it uses an unpowered balloon to rise in the air, eliminating the need for batteries like conventional drones. Since balloons tend to be unstable, they attached it to an airfoil kite, which provides balance and stability, keeping the assembly from flapping around the way traditional balloons would.
The Skyshot Helikite can be inflated within a minute, then just as quickly released to the sky at heights of up to 600 feet, making it considerably simpler than other aerial photography options. Designed for all-weather operation, it minimizes the instances of cancelled sessions due to inclement weather, making it ideal for professional and commercial applications. Since this is just a tethered balloon-and-kite combo, it’s safe, too, with little chances of your rig crashing into people or property to disastrous results.
Three varieties are offered: standard (designed for flying all varieties of digital cameras), action cam (for GoPro cameras), and radio-controlled (for GoPro and Sony Nex 5). The first two comes in a variety of sizes (1, 1.6 and 2 cubic meters), which you can choose depending on the size and number of cameras you’re going to mount. The last one, however, steps it up in the tech department, with options for a radio-controlled pan/tilt gimbal, gyro-stabilized brushless motor gimbals, and even custom gimbals (if you’re willing to fork out the extra cash required, of course).
Pricing for the Skyshot Helikite starts at £450.