A very young category in FPV, but probably the one with the biggest social impact: CineWhoops. Hardly any sporting event, Red Bull campaign, car commercial or Hollywood movie today can do without action-packed FPV images from a racing drone, and these are mostly CineWhoops.
What exactly are CineWhoops? What do you need to know if you want to fly a CineWhoop yourself? How you can earn money with it and which exciting models are currently available? You can find all that out here.
What is a CineWhoop?
Very briefly: CineWhoops (or HD Whoop or CineDrone) are small quadrocopters with propeller protection which are flown FPV (First Person View – i.e. from the perspective of the drone via goggles) and can record in HD.
The “history” of CineWhoops
At the very beginning was the TinyWhoop. A toy class quadcopter, those little drones with ducts/propguards (the rings around the propellers), but unlike the toy quads it has a real flight controller that lets it fly acro and has a receiver that connects to your real radio.
The next “escalation class” then came with the Brushless Whoop. In this article here, I wrote about the TinyHawk and the Mobula7, the small gamechangers for winter fun.
CineWhoops as Tiny Brushless Whoops with HD Camera
What has always been a shame about TinyWhoops: You couldn’t take an additional camera with you for YouTube-ready footage. But that changed with new split cameras:
RunCam brought the RunCam Split to the market. An FPV camera that could simultaneously supply the FPV feed, but also record in HD to a microSD along with the associated circuit board. Caddx followed suit with the Caddx Turtle and RunCam and eliminated the biggest shortcoming with the RunCam Mini: the circuit board shrunk and thus it was suddenly possible to bring HD recording into extremely small and lightweight quads. The Tiny CineWhoop was born.
What quickly became clear: The coolest thing about this class is the human-compatibility of brushless micros in combination with HD recording. This opened up completely new possibilities for videos, even if they are probably still not allowed everywhere.
From Tiny CineWhoop to GoPro CineWhoop
However, the HD capacities were not sufficient for “professional” recordings: Especially the emerging stabilization from GoPros was missing. But since the whoops with their ducts (the ring around the propellers) were simply better received by the people who were to be recorded, and since they have a much lower risk of injury than open propellers, the path was clear: with ducts, as small as possible, but already capable of carrying a decent camera.
Quickly landing on a consensus of about 3″ Ducted Quads – these FPV drones are loud, but small enough for exciting gaps and thrilling indoor shots. At the same time, you can get up close to people, and especially in the sports, athletes and audiences were excited about the new dimension in video.
Then another improvement came quickly: with a normal GoPro, the 3″ were no longer what you’d call an FPV Racing Drone in terms of flight characteristics – too heavy for the small motors, too hard a battle with the weight of the GoPro. SO what could you do? Slim down the GoPro! The naked GoPro was born, a strpped GoPro reducing the weight, bringing agility back to the 3″ GoPro CineWhoop class.
DJI vs. Standard
Meanwhile, DJI has also jumped on the Cinewhoops hype: The DJI Avata is a classic 3″ pusher (i.e. the propellers are pointed downwards). Nevertheless, the Avata is a great exception, because:
The “normal” CineWhoops are FPV racers, which are built on standardized parts. You can use different parts from different manufacturers. Different goggles, different radio. Different batteries for more or less power, and weight. However, this requires a lot of training, and also (or especially) the flying skills needs a lot of time to develop until you have it.
The DJI Avata has everything altogether in one nice pack, the goggles and image quality are incredibly good, and also for flying there are beginner modes and a stop button called “Emergency Break” that stops the FPV drone immediately. It costs more, and the LiPo batteries are also outrageously expensive – but for many, this is probably the fastest way to fly CineWhoops or get into the FPV world in general.
The stretched term “CineWhoop” today
Today, the term has expanded a bit: Meanwhile, everything in the FPV field that is primarily designed for video and cinematic (as opposed to focusing on flight performance) is actually called a CineWhoop.
Even 6 propeller monsters – tricopters with gyro, red camera and especially without ducts like from Nurk are called “CineWhoop” by many today. Because “Cine” just, like Cinematic, and Whoop, because Whoop is a FPV term I suppose? =) Actually, the term Cinelifter, CineQuad, Cinecopter, or for Nurkallas thing Cinetricopter would be more correct, but with CineWhoop everybody knows what is meant.
How do I learn how to fly a CineWhoop?
From the controlling standpoint and the components used, a CineWhoop is no different from an FPV Racing Quad. Here at FPVRacingDrone.org you will find everything you need to know to get started!
If you’re coming from the DJI camp (DJI Mavic, DJI Mini, Mavic Air), you have a bit of a head start like that you know the controls on the controller and which axis is doing what. But as far as flying goes, you’re still at the beginning. Acro flying (“manual” at DJI) takes a bunch of practice.
If you’re up for that, sign up for the newsletter below, and you’ll get the beginner’s book “8 Steps to becoming an FPV Pilot” with it and then check out the articles here (So far only the german Version – I’ll do the translations ASAP:
How can I make money flying FPV (flying CineWhoop)?
Can you do that? Oh yes!!! FPV videos are so incredibly hot – and there are still only a few who can make it happen. So if you have collected some skills, you can offer your services. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s easy to gain experience with pro bono jobs. Pretty much every gym and restaurant wants a nice video of their space. So sign up directly to the job board!
Where can I get CineWhoop / FPV videos produced for my business?
You can find that here too 😉
But this is also aiming for the German market for now – let me know if you’re interested in an international version!
The best CineWhoop
SO, but now to the CineQuads / CineWhoops themselves. As always, there is no such thing as “the best one”. Because whether you want to fly across the table between two people in a café or whether you want to chase a drifting Porsche: different applications need different tools. That’s why we want to give you a few recommendations by class:
- Tiny CineWhoops
- 3″ Class
- Open class
The best Tiny CineWhoops
The small speedsters were not only the “first ChineWhoops” – even today, this is probably the size with the greatest fun factor. Why? Because you can simply fly them anywhere, anytime. At home, at a friend’s house, outside… the Tiny CineWhoops are so small and “do no harm” – but you have to make a few sacrifices in the recording quality.
For the models below, if you buy them, you will need to choose a radio protocol (depending on the controller) and get additional batteries. For FPV flying, you will, of course, need analog FPV goggles.
Eachine is not exactly known for the highest quality models, but with the CineFun, Eachine has made a big hit: Perfect flight performance for a 75 Tiny CineWhoop, and that with only 1S! There is also a 4K version with the Loris – my wife flies it, it’s a banger!
Whereas I find 4K exaggerated (you can upscale in case of doubt) – here the lack of stabilization and the missing ND filter are more noticeable. It’s also a bit more expensive than a normal Eachine, but still cheap overall for what it offers. Check out the prices here:
iFlight CineBee 75HD
While the Cinefun is still very reminiscent of a TinyWhoop, the iFlight CineBee looks more like a minimized freestyle quad. This is mainly due to the carbon frame and the top-mount option for the LiPo. However, the additional weight is noticeable compared to the Cinefun.
As mentioned above, the 3 inchers (3″ is the diameter of the propellers) have emerged as the golden mean of CineWhoops. Small enough for indoors and gaps, strong enough to carry a GoPro, protected by ducts, and really acrobatic with a naked GoPro – a little bit of everything.
One manufacturer that has even excelled is iFlight – and they have even degraded the duct to a mere protective ring on some CineWhoop frames. Usually, the duct is mainly there to make motors more efficient by compressing the airflow. However, since the ducts can become quite heavy on the larger copters, they are often reduced to a thin ring and used only as protection.
But now to the best CineWhoops:
The developers at iFlight have hit a nerve and created the right mix of weight, performance and handling with the ProTeks (there is a 3.5″ and a 2.5″ version). The two ProTek are available for DJI as well as in much cheaper analog versions:
Protek25 on Banggood (smaller!)
DJI has brought the topic of CineWhoops to the masses. The DJI Avata is also an exception in this overview. With this product, you give up the openness to use products from other manufacturers via standards (LiPo batteries, controllers, goggles) – you have to rely on DJI and their prices.
On the other hand, you get a perfectly coordinated package for a lot of money and save a lot of time reading into stuff. What advantages and disadvantages of such a package are, you can read very well in the beginner article about the DJI FPV Combo.
If you want the fastest approach into Cinewhoops, here it is:
And iFlight is represented twice in this category because in addition to the ProTek series, there is also the BumbleBee. I find the name really fitting: The frame in yellow-black is just a bit thicker, and in the air the “bumblebee” also makes a somewhat ponderous impression.
But actually, it is quite close to FPV maneuver and has many plus points in “acceptance”, since the propellers are not even visible from many angles behind the thick foam protective walls.
Cinelog25 on Banggood (smaller!)
The open class. This is where the video hradware freaks find their fix. Above we have already seen the “Moneyshot” from Catalyst Machineworks (NurkFPV flies it in productions) – here there is only one rule: The thing must be able to lift the camera and accelerate it properly.
Since it becomes very specific here, I would suggest and you wrote me an email if you are interested. And yes, you should be ready to spend a four to five figure amount 😉
CineWhoops are rad. =)
With CineWhoops FPV has got a new flavor. And this one is popular: FPV video is hot, the selection of ready-made drones is really extensive. Are you missing something in this article? Then simply reply to the newsletter, then I will be happy to add it.