- Buyer's Guide
Slum Dogging :: Drone work with the Go Professional XB-DJI case
“Next stop, Stasiun Gambir,” rings out the conductor’s voice as the train pulls into Jakarta. I nervously glance out of the train window which I’ve been methodically transfixed to for the past seven hours, the picturesque setting of Central Java whirling by as we speed along tracks that the Dutch laid down, one of their lasting contributions to Indonesia.
Gone is the paradise blue sky dotted with white puffs of clouds. Replacing this dreamy view is a dizzying array of concrete and glass. Atop this fabricated topography, a thick mass of humanity is draped across every available surface. The dense urban fabric of the world’s second largest city was closing in.
In my work to understand Jakarta’s response to devastating flooding, the scale and breadth of the city is much more than a wondrous view from a train window. In fact, effectively navigating and mapping the spatial complexity of Jakarta is a key facet of this work. Discouraged by previous attempts to comprehend Jakarta from the ground, I’ve decided to sidestep the maze of roads and structures entirely. I’m taking to the sky. And while I still can’t fly, I’ve got the next best thing – a drone.
Drones are in vogue these days. Fueled by impressively powerful consumer-grade systems, Youtube has become a mecca for mind-blowing videos shot from beneath four whirling propellers. Stores can’t keep these drones in stock for more than a couple of hours – it took me three weeks and learning a few colorful Indonesian words to finally secure this drone.
For my work in Jakarta I am flying a DJI Phantom 2 with H3-3D Gimbal and a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition camera. Given my time constraints I needed a drone that could literally fly right out the box. The DJI Phantom 2 could provide this reliable instant flight time. Silky smooth video was guaranteed with the Zenmuse H3-3D Gimbal. And jaw-dropping video from the GoPro was a given. DJI markets this drone as “the best in the world.” You would be hard-pressed to disagree.
Now as Carryologists, let’s talk shop. The internet forums are amuck over what hard case to protect your fancy new drone with. Can said case be carried onto planes? Can the drone propellers fit? What about spare batteries? It’s a jumbled mess to decipher. So as I embarked on deciding on an appropriate hard case, my choice incidentally was an easy one. You see the good folks at Go Professional were the sole company not to shy away from the small fortune that it costs to ship a hard case from the States (proudly made in the US of A) halfway around the world to Indonesia. Aside from a big thank you to Go Professional, I am extremely glad that of all the possible cases it was the Go Professional XB-DJI that I met at customs.
Plain and simple, this case is tough. Everything on the case is water-jet precision cut, outfitted with Go Professional custom foam which is then housed in a high-end SKB military-spec case, all slapped with a nice hefty lifetime guarantee. That however is not the real beauty of this case. Unlike any other cases on the market which can house a DJI phantom, the cases from Go Professional are specifically sized for not only the drone but also the controller, every cord and charger, up to three additional DJI batteries, spare motors, spare propellers, and even a cozy spot for an additional four AAA batteries for the controller. And yes you can leave the propellers on.
Granted being able to leave the propellers on is a small detail but this means that you can snap open the Go Professional Case and have the DJI Phantom 2 airborne in under 30 seconds. And the next time you take to the skies, your drone can join you in the plane cabin.
The Go Professional XB-DJI is rock solid in every dimension. The DJI Phantom has been luxuriously cushioned as I traipse across the world, arguably more comfortable than I have been. The XB-DJI conveniently functions as a desk, can reassuringly withstand the all too frequent deluges of Jakarta, and doubles as a surprisingly comfortable chair as you sit down post flight to explain the finer points of drones to the local residents. Regardless of whether you are running across terminals with this case or through the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia, simply put this case works with you.
As the DJI Phantom 2 touches down after another successful flight filming, photographing, and mapping critical areas of Jakarta, I breathe a sigh of relief. This precious piece of equipment is back on solid ground, the valuable footage back in my hands, and the flashing red and green lights of the DJI drone mesmerizing the ever-increasing group of onlookers. As numerous hands peer over and into the Go Professional Case I nestle the drone securely into the perfectly cut molds. There are countless shots waiting to be filmed with such drones and this case will see to it that your drone securely gets to as many of these as possible.
Photos by Frank Sedlar and Will Ashford