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If this will be your first time ordering from Banggood, you should know a few things.
Cinewhoops are a newer class of drone designed to carry a small HD camera (GoPro or Insta) typically in subject-driven cinematic settings with ducts or prop guards to protect the subject from prop strikes.
There were some very significant improvements made in flight performance during 2021, mainly in motor sizing (shifting from tall narrow motors to short fat ones) but also in frame design (removable arms which deal with vibrations better and are much more serviceable) and duct design (molded for better durability and more aerodynamic for better flight performance).
Prop Size Selection
The main deciding factor for which prop size to go with (2.5″ vs 3″ vs 3.5″) is payload, so for naked GoPro’s/Bones or DJI Action 2, a 2.5″ to 3″ prop is recommended and then for a 100+ gram camera like the GoPro Hero’s a 3″ or 3.5″ prop will be a better choice. Efficiency is another factor here and may help you narrow down your choice as bigger props will typically get you longer run times with the sacrifice of a bigger frame and more weight.
When cinewhoops first came out there were very few micro motors with enough stator volume to lift such a heavy platform, and the only real options were 1408’s and 1507s. These are extremely tall and narrow motors which were fine on the 250ish gram rigs they were designed for but they run into a problem with cooling on heavy builds where you need a minimum of 500 grams of thrust all the time to just get off the ground. The solution was a much wider flatter stator commonly called “pancake” motors, so all of the recommendations here are for 2004 – 2304 motors which make a truly incredible improvement in the performance of these rigs.
Ducted vs Prop Guards
There are many opinions on the duct vs prop guard debate but one of the main factors to consider is the safety of your subject, so if you will be flying around talent a duct is a must but if flying around cars or talent with gear on to protect against prop strikes a guard will more than likely be sufficient.
There is very little to no thrust increase from ducts since it’s almost impossible to get the gap between the tip of the prop and the wall of the duct tight enough without seriously impacting the reliability.
Lightweight vs Heavy Weight
As more and more cinewhoops were released many manufacturers focused on durability which increased the weight and noise (more thrust = more noise) significantly while negatively impacting flight performance. The extra weight causes the cinewhoop to “slide” around much more making hitting tight gaps consistently more difficult so there’s a definite compromise to that extra durability much like with heavier 650+ gram freestyle builds. These heavier cinewhoops would make sense for flying freestyle and bashing into things or for racing but we don’t really see them being used for that very frequently so they’ve been left off of this page.
Thanks to Ahren Ciotti for his help picking parts for this list. Ciotti is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable about this class of quadcopter, and I couldn’t have made this page without him. Please visit his YouTube channeland website – CiottiFPV.com.
IF YOU CAN’T SOLDER AND DON’T WANT TO LEARN HOW
One of the biggest obstacles to building an FPV drone is being able to solder. Until now! The Rotor Riot Solder-Free build has pre-soldered plugs for every component. If you can build an Ikea bookshelf, you can put this quad together! On top of that, the flight controller and ESC come totally pre-configured so you don’t have to know how to configure Betaflight either! All you have to do is bind your DJI goggles and DJI controller to the Air Unit, and you’re ready to go!
The RR solder-free build assumes that you are using the DJI controller. The DJI controller has great range and penetration, but if you wanted to use a different controller for some reason, you’d give up the “solder-free, zero configuration” promise of the build.
My approach to FPV has always been to teach people to build and configure their own quadcopters. That includes learning to solder, and how to set up a Betaflight flight controller. But not everybody has the time or desire to do that. If you want a real, high-performance FPV freestyle quad that you can simply assemble and fly, the Rotor Riot Solder-Free build is for you.
The Foxeer FoxWhoop 25 has become internet famous for having unbreakable ducts and will carry a sub 60 gram camera like a naked GoPro, Hero 10 Bones, or Insta360 Go2/SMO beautifully and in a pinch could even pick up a full size Hero or DJi Action 2.
The Cinelog 30 is the sweet spot for carrying any action camera in low to medium speed situations, but keep in mind prop guards do not offer as much protection as ducts so flying around people is risky.
If you’re looking for a basher Cinewhoop that you can slam into trees/bandos this iFlight is the best we’ve found mainly due to the motors they’ve chosen (2203.5 rather than 1507/1408)
Find this product at these vendors:
Purchase at GetFPV – Analog / DJI FPV
Purchase at Banggood – Analog / DJI FPV
SHENDRONE SLAMMED SQUIRT V2
The Squirt is what started it all and while its frame/TPU duct design is a bit old school nowadays, its popularity and the largest selection of parts/3d prints are why it’s still considered a viable platform in 2022.
Find this product at these vendors:
Purchase at Rotorgeeks (CA) – Analog / DJI FPV
Purchase at Hobbybitz (UK) – Analog / DJI FPV
CIOTTI’S PERFECT CINEWHOOP BUILD
In many scenarios the highest priority flight characteristic of a cinewhoop is pinpoint accuracy and repeatability to help with hitting the same line over and over again, the best way to achieve this is to add lightness. My Perfect Build does this by running the lightest components possible that will still comfortably carry a full size Hero 6/8/9/10 for 5ish minutes (although run time depends heavily on how much ground you cover and your battery choice.)
I have chosen to stick with 4s rather than 6s because this powertrain doesn’t draw enough amperage to benefit from the higher voltage of 6s and the lower 4s voltage is much easier on all of the electronics. Since cinewhoops are commonly flown around talent, reliability is very high on the list of priorities which has also driven my choice of a premium FC/ESC combo. You could easily run this build on a less expensive lighter weight ESC like the Diatone Mamba F30MINI but I personally wouldn’t trust that for a paying gig.
Another strong point of the Cinesplore is the different duct choices which are available to perfectly dial in your build for each gig. The best all around option is from Stan FPV and injection molded but there are many other options like the tall Reptile/Cloud 149 duct for slower speeds, the FPVCycle v4 duct for maximum speed, or various options on Thingiverse that you can print yourself. The thinner ducts do fly “better” but offer MUCH less protection from prop strikes and are much less durable which IMO is unacceptable for use around talent. Also keep in mind that if you’ll be flying in tight spaces the taller ductswill keep you from sliding around as much and are definitely preferred.
As one of the most recent cinewhoop frame designs the Cinesplore has benefitted from years of R&D by hundreds of pilots and it shows with clever weight reduction, removable arms, and numerous duct options.
The Shendrones Squirt was the first cinewhoop to hit the scene and the v2 did receive some improvements to bring it a bit more up to date with some of its competitors. The availability of parts and the breadth of knowledge/experience available are the main reasons this build is being included here and it is a solid enough choice to still be used by many professionals.
SHEN DRONES SQUIRT V2.13
Andy Shen’s ubiquitous Squirt frame started it all and is still used by many Pro FPV pilots.
Every FPV aircraft has a camera and a video transmitter to send the camera feedback to the pilot. Which camera and video transmitter you choose depends on which video system you’re using. Video systems are divided into two categories–digital and analog–and we have a page with recommendations for both.
If you’re using a digital video system (DJI, Walksnail, or HDZero), CLICK HERE.