Lily: Leading UAV Cameras, Following You
Since Call of Duty: Ghosts was released in Nov. of 2013, myself and many others have been waiting for a real life Vulture quad-copter, a small UAV that follows the user around, firing at enemies, or, in the more practical and safe sense, firing shots of high quality photos and video. This is where Lily comes in.
Lily, announced May 12 this year, is exactly that. A small yet rugged, unmanned aerial camera. Unlike most conventional drones in today’s market, Lily needs no input from the user to pilot. In fact, Lily is intelligent enough to pilot herself completely, a feature no other drone can offer. Using a tracking sensor on your wrist, Lily will follow you, or fly in one of several other modes. Also available is a companion app, which lets you change camera settings, create custom shots, as well as editing and sharing content. The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
For filmmakers, photographers, reporters, and adrenaline junkies, this could be a dream come true. Some may argue that Lily is a “glorified flying selfie stick”, and they aren’t completely wrong. While the Lily camera is user-oriented, meaning it records specifically the user, that’s the whole point. There are a number of other cameras out there that you can use to frame shots of landscapes and nature, but none that follow you with such precision.
An example from Lily’s product video is of a snowboarder going down a slope. GoPro footage from a helmet is interesting, but aerial footage from behind, in front, the side, or a circular flight pattern makes Lily a much more versatile camera.
Technical specs include 1080p 60 fps / 720p 120 fps video resolution, a 94º video FOV, and H.264 codec, .mp4 file video formats. For still photos, Lily has a 12 MP camera, featuring digital gimballing, image stabilization, and a fixed focus. The camera has an approximate 20 min flight time, but the battery is non-removable. This is because Lily is also waterproof, and is able to land and take off from water. The included tracking device also comes with a waterproof wrist case, and has a microphone for audio. Weighing only 2.8 lbs, Lily is also ultra-portable.
Repairs can be made by sending your Lily in for servicing, and replacement rotors will be sold on the Lily website.
Pre-orders for lily are available, with a special pre-order sale price of $699 USD until Aug. 15. After that, the price will rise to the regular retail $999 USD, which seems to be a marketable price for consumer-grade UAV’s.
Lily Cameras that were pre-ordered before June 15, 2015 begin shipping in February 2016. Lily Cameras pre-ordered after June 15, 2015 begin shipping in May 2016.