It was the night before Emirates first class. I had booked the tickets 330 days ago and was as giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve. I had thought a lot about how I wanted to document the trip. There are lots of trip reports on Emirates, naturally, and we had already stayed at Al Maha with a standard trip report. So I decided to do things a bit differently.
I bought a GoPro 3 Hero+ Silver edition (HT: Dansdeals.Com for posting a great deal from eBay), and decided to bring my DJI Phantom 3 Drone. The GoPro was complimented with a 30-piece accessory set I bought on the cheap also from eBay. I couldn’t wait to take videos of various experiences, from both the ground and the air. I spent a lot of time researching the ability to pull this off:
- Were drones allowed in all of the countries?
- How could I travel with my drone?
- How easy is it to edit videos?
- How big of a memory card would I need, and could I find cloud storage for a month to put all of my raw footage while I edited?
Here is what I found: drones were allegedly not allowed into the United Arab Emirates (or at least frowned upon), particularly ones with cameras, unless they were registered in advance with the country. I found that odd, as I also saw there was a massive drone competition just a month prior to when we were heading there, and the thought of 1,000s of “kids” registering the drones in advance, through a fairly complicated registration process, just didn’t seem right. So I decided to risk it, and give it a try. I would declare the drone as to not violate any rules/laws, and if I couldn’t bring it in the country when I got there, either I would keep it at customs (apparently this is an option) or I would just be out the few hundred dollars. Couple that with the fact that Emirates does not allow you to carry-on drones, and I was a bit nervous; however, I bought a hard-case for the drone, would pop out the lipo battery – which can only go in carry-on luggage – and check the Phantom 3.
Video editing became easier than what I had originally thought. Final Cut Pro is extremely friendly to amateurs, and I had a couple of my team members from work show me some basics before I watched a number of YouTube tutorials. Apple allows a 30-day full-version trial, so I had NSPwife download a copy on her Macbook Pro two days before we left.
I also researched storage devices and cloud storage. I settled on a 512 GB memory card, class 10 (required for processing speed). I also tested it when I received it with some SD Card testing software, as I had read online that the large SD Cards might not be completely legit. It passed all tests when I received it, and I used it to record a couple videos and timelapses in advance to ensure we were good to go. All worked well, so it appeared I was ready for the trip.