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New Spark User - Disappointed in video quality
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RichInGa
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So I normally fly a 3DR Solo, with Gopro Hero 4 Silver, but I film at 1080p 24fps. So I thought the spark would give me about the same resolution as I am used to.  So I did a test in my front yard, nothing really great to look at but you'll notice the video is choppy. VERY choppy.  Compared to what I shoot with the 3dr solo the spark -- just is terrible.

Spark Video:



3DR Solo Video with GoPro H4 Silver:


Tell me which one is smoother to you?
2018-1-29
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Solestacz
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spark shoots better vid than you were able to capture there. something's up w/your cache settings or similar
2018-1-29
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spookster
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It looks like the framerate of spark footage and frame rate you chose for your video are off.
Does the footage from the sd card looks like this, is it from your phone cache or did you converted/recoded the sd card footage in some way?
My spark does not deliver so choppy video, no sir.
2018-1-29
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Grmachine
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What SD card are you using? Video shouldn’t be that choppy.
2018-1-29
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Cookster670
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Are you using iMovie ?

Is the orignal MP4 showing the same issue ?

I suspect it’s the same issue I found re an iMovie frame rate issue with DJI video files.      I posted a thread on how to fix this if you are using iMovie.
https://forum.dji.com/thread-130459-1-1.html
2018-1-29
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dj_dread
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are you using the recommended SD cards?
2018-1-29
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radmacks_Drone
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Lot of counterfeit SD cards out there. I would try another one before discounting the spark. Or as mentioned maybe how your encoding the video. I use FCPX
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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spookster Posted at 2018-1-29 12:49
It looks like the framerate of spark footage and frame rate you chose for your video are off.
Does the footage from the sd card looks like this, is it from your phone cache or did you converted/recoded the sd card footage in some way?
My spark does not deliver so choppy video, no sir.

I put it in to imovie and just edited the length.  When I play it raw off the sd card it looks the same.  THe SD Card is an ultra HD 4k card with a write speed of 90mb/s.  I don't remember if it was the exact card, but the 3DR Video shot on the same brand card.  I've also tried formatting the SD, and most recently used a brand new SD.  All of the video looks choppy.
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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radmacks_Drone Posted at 2018-1-29 13:48
Lot of counterfeit SD cards out there. I would try another one before discounting the spark. Or as mentioned maybe how your encoding the video. I use FCPX

I've shot many videos on this card to include 4k 30fps with no issues.  I've tried other cards and a brand new one.  The 3DR video shot with a Gopro Hero4 camera was shot on the same brand of card.
2018-1-29
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dj_dread
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this is odd. latest firmware i assume. probably better to log a case with DJI Support
2018-1-29
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Grmachine
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Well maybe you have a case for DJI, the video should not look like that if everything is working correctly.
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-1-29 12:52
Are you using iMovie ?

Is the orignal MP4 showing the same issue ?

Yep. I am using iMovie and followed the instructions in that thread.  here is a new video to show the same. This is using a brand new SD card that can write at 90MB/s. I've used these cards for at least 9 months with the Hero 4 and have done plenty of videos at 1080p, 2.7k, and 4k with no issues.

2018-1-29
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krisp-spark
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To me it looks like shot at 30 fps and exported as 25 fps or similar. But it is weird if the video directly from the SD card looks exactly like the one in the Youtube link. Personally, I would try different SD card first. These devices you are mentioning can be using different compression or have different bitrate, so if the SD card is not fast enough it might be causing some issues too.
2018-1-29
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krisp-spark
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-1-29 15:35
Yep. I am using iMovie and followed the instructions in that thread.  here is a new video to show the same. This is using a brand new SD card that can write at 90MB/s. I've used these cards for at least 9 months with the Hero 4 and have done plenty of videos at 1080p, 2.7k, and 4k with no issues.



I see this video perfectly fine, nothing is choppy on my screen.
2018-1-29
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medyq69
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krisp-spark Posted at 2018-1-29 15:42
I see this video perfectly fine, nothing is choppy on my screen.

It is especially in 0:54-:1:00 in 1080pr res YT settings.

If file downloaded from sd card is same issue i dont know but for sure dont use imovie - its crap and each try of saving file will change frame rate= u lose smoothnes even if u had it.

Ofc author can see issues also in files from sd if his pc is to weak to show smooth fhd ^^ i have seen few situations here
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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Thanks everyone for replying... But yeah it looks like crud right off the sd card.  I've tried 3 different cards -- one was brand new, one was recently formatted and another came right out of my gopro.
2018-1-29
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Cookster670
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I do see the choppiness, but only in that panning motion at around 0:54.  This looks to be a different issue to the imovie panning issue I had (which is a very consistent  and obvious).

It seems very minor, i hard to notice, but when I was looking for it I did see it.

Can't explain that one sorry....as already suggested perhaps raise call with DJI seeing you see it on the original file as well.   

I think you should do another test video of just a 360 rotation.  Maybe do one in normal mode, then another in tripod mode and post up the unedited video to see if it's across different modes as well.

2018-1-29
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spookster
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The video in post #12 is fine.
The choppiness is gone and I don't see an issue anymore.
Even the panning at 0:54 looks normal to me, but maybe my eyes are just tired.
If you're not happy with the spark you should return it.
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-1-29 16:21
I do see the choppiness, but only in that panning motion at around 0:54.  This looks to be a different issue to the imovie panning issue I had (which is a very consistent  and obvious).

It seems very minor, i hard to notice, but when I was looking for it I did see it.

Thank you for your reply -- I did the edit in imovie just to shorten the first one video looks the same right off the sdcard or from iMovie. The 2nd one someone suggested a thread to fix this in imovie which I tried.   

If you look at the first two videos I posted, the 2nd video was shot using 3DR Solo with a Gopro hero 4 silver at 1080p 24fps, saving to the same brand of SD Card.  It was then edited using iMovie -- and looks smoother in my opinion than the Spark video.  Yes The Spark video is great when I am not panning.   But again if you look at the 3DR Video -- I do a lot of panning and side-to-side.   
2018-1-29
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Kaiserboy
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It’s not the card. It is the fact that yaw movement is not stabilized. When you rotate the Spark and film it will be choppy. It takes a 3-axis gimbal to do that better.
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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Kaiserboy Posted at 2018-1-29 16:38
It’s not the card. It is the fact that yaw movement is not stabilized. When you rotate the Spark and film it will be choppy. It takes a 3-axis gimbal to do that better.

Then I am very disappointed in my purchase.   All the videos I saw on the youtube looked really good.  People were doing videos on how they're getting rid of their mavic for the spark.   I thought I didn't need a $1000 4k drone like the mavic because I normally film in 1080p anyway

I already felt like I was getting rid of functionality as the 3DR solo has 2x the quickshots that the spark has, now to find out it has horrible video too?  It's a shame, it flies very well, but if I can't take decent video what good is that to me?
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Kaiserboy
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-1-29 16:49
Then I am very disappointed in my purchase.   All the videos I saw on the youtube looked really good.  People were doing videos on how they're getting rid of their mavic for the spark.   I thought I didn't need a $1000 4k drone like the mavic because I normally film in 1080p anyway

I already felt like I was getting rid of functionality as the 3DR solo has 2x the quickshots that the spark has, now to find out it has horrible video too?  It's a shame, it flies very well, but if I can't take decent video what good is that to me?

You will be told that you have to "nurse" the yaw very carefully.  Same for up/down with the camera.  The only smooth movements are just the forward, backward and sideways flight of the drone.  "Panning".

I was SUPER disappointed in this, but I got the whole "Fly More" or whatever for $399 at Micro Center!  That's pretty good for a fun little flier that can video better than the cheapos.

Next for me is a Phantom 4 Pro.  No in-between video anymore for me.
2018-1-29
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Cookster670
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That's why i strongly suggest doing another 360 pan in both normal (slowly) and tripod mode (super slow)

I'm not suggesting that the fix is purely to fly differently, but in order to see what the problem is, we need to identify where it fails

Could it also be windy at the time ?
2018-1-29
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DrohneMann
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First of all why would you film in 24 frames per second when you can film at 1080p 60 frames per second. And you cannot compare DJI Spark to a Phantom or a 3DR Solo with a GOPRO HERO 4.   
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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DrohneMann Posted at 2018-1-29 17:39
First of all why would you film in 24 frames per second when you can film at 1080p 60 frames per second. And you cannot compare DJI Spark to a Phantom or a 3DR Solo with a GOPRO HERO 4.

I read it in a post somewhere that for a good cinematic look to just do 1080p 24fps. Its worked for me and I am happy with the results. I've tried higher frame rates and it tends to pick up more of the vibrations -- to me the video looks smoother.  

I've used cheap cameras before and they could do decent video even the cheap ones with stabilization could yaw better than what I am seeing here.   Shame too, such a nice flying little drone.  
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RichInGa
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-1-29 17:23
That's why i strongly suggest doing another 360 pan in both normal (slowly) and tripod mode (super slow)

I'm not suggesting that the fix is purely to fly differently, but in order to see what the problem is, we need to identify where it fails

Pan in super slow tripod mode looks ok, but that can be too slow.
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fansde510068
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I’ve seen people suggest this and you say it’s not and I believe you. But when I got my spark I had a cheap SD card and had problems like this. I purchased a higher dollar recommended SD card and it fixed it. If you’re unhappy you should return and exchange. See if you have the same problems with a new one.
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RichInGa
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fansde510068 Posted at 2018-1-29 18:01
I’ve seen people suggest this and you say it’s not and I believe you. But when I got my spark I had a cheap SD card and had problems like this. I purchased a higher dollar recommended SD card and it fixed it. If you’re unhappy you should return and exchange. See if you have the same problems with a new one.

This is the card I use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/produc ... 0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've done 4k @30fps with it no issue.

Anyway -- Id' like to thank everyone that responded -- you've all been very kind.
2018-1-29
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Cookster670
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-1-29 17:57
Pan in super slow tripod mode looks ok, but that can be too slow.

Yeah..definitely too slow...just would like to see the diff.  Seems like it does have an impact (or it’s so slow you just don’t notice it)

Also by doing a couple of 360’s, you can see if there is a pattern, ie jumps every couple of seconds OR if it’s completely random.

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Cookster670
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Cookster670 Posted at 2018-1-29 18:41
Yeah..definitely too slow...just would like to see the diff.  Seems like it does have an impact (or it’s so slow you just don’t notice it)

Also by doing a couple of 360’s, you can see if there is a pattern, ie jumps every couple of seconds OR if it’s completely random.

Here is a test I did when I was trying to solve the iMovie issue.   There are a couple of pauses there, but that is me I believe.



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Checksum47
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Thats pretty close to what my video looks like with the Spark.  And I am not too happy about it either.  I am using a "SanDisk Ultra Plus 64GB SDXC V10 A1 card that I got from my local Wally-Mart.  As far as I can tell it is supported.  But I can tell you right now.  If I shoot footage with my GoPro Hero3 Black at 1080 30fps the video looks WAAAYYYY better.  And GoPro is going out of business...
Can someone post a link to the BEST 32 or 64GB micro SD card that has the highest write speed possible?  I have had my spark for almost a month and I wish I could return it if the video it shoots really looks closer to 720p.  How long do I have to return the Spark???
2018-1-29
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krisp-spark
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I agree, the general video quality that Spark makes is pretty poor. But what do you want from a toy drone.
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the video in post #12. The only reason why you see the choppy effect in 0:54-1min is because the shutter speed was most likely too fast. That also applies with normal cameras. When your shutter speed is too fast (say 1/1000), every single frame during pan is sharp, resulting in unpleasant effect to look at. This is exactly what happened in that shot, where is high contrast between bright sky and dark trees. If you shutter is lower, ideally double the frame rate (in case of Spark -> 30fps should have 1/60 sec shutter speed), during the pan, you will get natural blur between the shots which make it much nicer and natural.
I reckon there is nothing wrong with the Spark based on the second video in post #12.
2018-1-29
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lannes
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Why don't you try a mainstream card like a Sandisk Extreme Pro 32gb . Might be overkill but at least you can then remove the card performance from the equation
2018-1-29
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El Diablo
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Tip: the author has been banned or deleted automatically shield
2018-1-29
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RichInGa
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lannes Posted at 2018-1-29 21:55
Why don't you try a mainstream card like a Sandisk Extreme Pro 32gb . Might be overkill but at least you can then remove the card performance from the equation

I did a test on my computer. I wrote a 2g file to the drive and measured using iostat. 45-50MB/s So the card is fast enough for 1080p. I also tested a SanDisk and lexmark that were also class 10 and they came in at 20MB/s
2018-1-30
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DJI Elektra
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-1-30 04:27
I did a test on my computer. I wrote a 2g file to the drive and measured using iostat. 45-50MB/s So the card is fast enough for 1080p. I also tested a SanDisk and lexmark that were also class 10 and they came in at 20MB/s

RichIn, did you solve the problem now? If not, please provide the original video for further check. You can upload it to dropbox and post the link here. Thanks a lot.
2018-1-31
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Bing Err
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-1-29 15:35
Yep. I am using iMovie and followed the instructions in that thread.  here is a new video to show the same. This is using a brand new SD card that can write at 90MB/s. I've used these cards for at least 9 months with the Hero 4 and have done plenty of videos at 1080p, 2.7k, and 4k with no issues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNBErIoT0dQ

This video in #12 looks great now. I'm guessing you are getting a better handle on what the Spark can do. The Spark does not Pan well. You need to have extra smooth finger control and SLOWLY pan to get a smooth shot on the Spark. However, forward, backward, elevation change, and the gimbal angle are VERY smooth on the Spark. I think the 2-axis gimbal doesn't help out either but if you know the drones limitations then you can get some excellent images out of it.
FYI, I still love my Spark and use it every week, but looking back at some of my early videos makes me cringe and how jerky I am at the controls.
2018-1-31
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Malakai_UK
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Ok, the first video you have shown is 1080p@24fps. This will explain the choppiness as the spark captures at 1080p@29.97. Exporting at 24 fps means about 5-6 frames will be removed from the clip. This is what will cause the stuttering.
As for the image quality. The second clip from the gopro will be better all round. The spark has a lower bitrate for 1080p compared to the gopro. The spark captures at 24Mbits/PS where the gopro captures at 45Mbits/PS. This is nearly double the bitrate so the image from the gopro will have more detail and less artifacts than the spark.
In the video where you fixed the panning it looks like standard spark footage, you did well to control vibration as for panning the spark relies only on the dampners and image stabilization, not the gimbal as its only two axis.
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RichInGa
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Malakai_UK Posted at 2018-1-31 01:55
As for the image quality. The second clip from the gopro will be better all round. The spark has a lower bitrate for 1080p compared to the gopro. The spark captures at 24Mbits/PS where the gopro captures at 45Mbits/PS. This is nearly double the bitrate so the image from the gopro will have more detail and less artifacts than the spark.
I guess it's the bitrate where I went wrong. I thought if a camera can do 1080p 30fps, that means it captures pictures at 1920x1080 30 times per second, and save those. I didn't account for the bitrate it saves to the SD Card.

Is there an option to turn off image stabilization so that we get a higher bitrate? What I would like to see is instead of having the spark to the image stabilization on the fly (ha!), give us a tool to do it in post.  And I have tools that can do that. I can't fix choppy video.

If it's a matter of the bitrate it writes to the SD Card then there is no solution other than selling it.  Cant tell you how disappointing that is as it flies so nice, I really enjoyed the flight.  And in another way it  makes you angry because of the $$$ spent on hand gestures. I would much rather have smooth video than a gimmick like that.
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Malakai_UK
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-1-31 04:09
I guess it's the bitrate where I went wrong. I thought if a camera can do 1080p 30fps, that means it captures pictures at 1920x1080 30 times per second, and save those. I didn't account for the bitrate it saves to the SD Card.

Is there an option to turn off image stabilization so that we get a higher bitrate? What I would like to see is instead of having the spark to the image stabilization on the fly (ha!), give us a tool to do it in post.  And I have tools that can do that. I can't fix choppy video.

The choppy video is due to frame rate input and output. If you are editing spark footage your workflow needs to be 1080p@29.97fps. Anything else and you will get choppy video due to the differences in framerates. You could use optical flow to interpolate the frames to compensate for this.
High shutter speed can also have an influence on what might appear to be stuttering. If you want nice cinematic motion blur with the spark you need to capture manually using a shutter of 60 but to achieve this then ND filters may be required in bright shots.
The image stabilization has no bearing on bitrate. Just as the bitrate has no bearing on choppy footage. The spark can capture at a maximum bitrate of 24Mbits/ps. This will only affect the quality of the captured footage. Higher bitrates will mean more detail in areas that would normally be compressed and less artifacts appearing in areas where there is high motion.

Its best to use this kind of analogy. The spark is like a top end point and shoot camera, drones like the Mavic Pro/Air are like a DSLR. You wont get incredibly professional shots out of the spark but you will still produce some great pictures and video more suited for social media and streaming than professional production shots.

The spark is incredible that I can use it autonomously. I can pull it out of its holster, palm launch, start recording, send it away to track me, do my thing, gesture it back to me and palm land it. All without having to pull out my controller or phone. Lets see this happen with your 3DR and gopro.
2018-1-31
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