It has been a long time coming, but GoPro has just released the first official footage to be taken with the Karma. While there is still not a lot given away about the new drone, we can have a bit of fun and speculate based upon the evidence.
For one thing the new teaser promo uses the Hero4 logo, so while nothing is confirmed I think I can say with a fairly high confidence that the new drone will carry the existing GoPro cameras. The footage certainly shows the familiar fish eye look.
The only other tidbit is how the drone is handled. The main “money” shot in the promo starts with a skier holding the drone. In fact up until that point it is easy to think that they are mixing normal GoPro footage with that of the drone. But then the skier throws the camera into the air and it keeps on going up!
What can we deduce from this? My prediction based upon this shot is that the Karma drone will be pretty lightweight and small. Small enough to be portable to the difficult to reach environments that GoPro sponsored athletes are used to taking the standard cameras! It could well be smaller than the already pretty portable DJI Phantom.
In fact if there is one way in which the Karma could distinguish itself from the competition it could be in the portability stakes. After all, GoPro is famed for adventure sports filming in some pretty hard to reach places. If the drone is small and it collapses or folds even smaller for transportation, this would fit in with the take anywhere philosophy of their standard cameras.
Holding a drone like that with whirring blades is not exactly… well, safe. GoPro themselves have teased that the Karma is not what we might think that it is. It may well be that the new system has an auto activate when thrown. Auto flight functions are a legal minefield, but all will be revealed later in the year. Another (purely for fun) supposition that I am going to make is whether or not the Karma will be a quadcopter in the traditional sense at all? There are many other configurations of propellor that could be used, including stacked counter rotating ones that would reduce its footprint, especially if it used folding rotors.
What we do now know though is that the Karma looks capable of producing some very stable footage indeed. Although it is only a teaser video shot by GoPro themselves, the feeling that I got was that whatever gimble they had designed, it looks to be a good one.
Let us know your weird and wonderful speculations about the Karma below!