DJI Spark: My Neighborhood

Music by Inukshuk "Happy Accidents"

It may not be hard to figure out how to operate a drone but the technology that goes into maneuvering it once it’s in the air was completely abstruse to me. My biggest fear quite frankly was losing sight of the amount of air time left on the battery and the whole airborne thing would come crashing down. Luckily there’s so much great high-tech stuff built into it which guides you tremendously in getting seamlessly from point A to point B.

The DJI Spark technically belongs to my brother but I had the opportunity to give it a spin around my neighborhood, none other than at my most preferred time of the day…sunset. The last thing I want is for my neighbors to assume I’m spying on them so as furtively as I could, I elevated the drone from my backyard and sat on my stoop maneuvering it. Immediately after, a slew of potential locations where I would love to fly the drone came to mind which kinda comes with the territory.

The photographs and footage I got from the short flight was enough to convince me that I think I really want one of these in my arsenal. I ended up importing the footage into Lightroom, quickly applied the same custom presets I apply to my photos, exported the footage and edited it in iMovie. Again, just a very quick workflow so I could get a feel for what I could potentially do if I owned one of these drones.

I don’t believe I have the authority or experience flying the DJI Spark to provide a cogent review on it but here’s some quick takeaways based off this one flight:

  • The drone itself is small enough for me to absolutely bring it along with me on a active/lifestyle shoot during those moments where I visualize getting an overhead shot that would typically require for me to be higher than I actually can. Heck, we’re planning a visit to El Salvador (parent’s country of origin) early next year, so I can’t wait to bring this gadget along.
  • It’s affordable enough where I don’t mind pimping it out as much as I can with extra batteries and accessories without surpassing the $1,000 mark.
  • It’s extremely easy to fly to a point where my 6-year a son has already taken a spin with it at the park. This is DJI’s first attempt at a true drone for everyone and at least for us, it’s made a really great impression on us.
  • The whole gesture controls aren’t as useful or reliable as the company promotes it to be but I’m more than willing to overlook that because I rather operate the Spark with a controller rather than wasting battery attempting to be cool.
  • The camera on the spark doesn’t support RAW or 4K format but again, the experience on it is at least giving me the confidence to own one of these bad boys myself and once I’ve developed enough confidence with it, I wouldn’t mind upgrading along the rode.