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VR/AR Virtual Reality
Developer Amber Garage, Inc.
Publisher Amber Garage, Inc.
Platform Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Maya Plugin, Microsoft Hololens Augmented Reality
Device Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive
Genre Planning, Film, Robotics, Cinematography
Website Skywand
Infobox Updated 8/13/2016

Skywand is an immersive motion control device for aerial cinematography. It allows the operator to navigate in 3D around the virtual city and precisely draw the camera path by directly pinning keyframes in the air with hands. The animated shot of camera movement can be previewed directly in the 3D virtual world and all keyframes can be adjusted to achieved the desired results.[1]


Skywand is a virtual reality software tool that empowers cinematographers to easily plan, capture, and even replicate stunning shots with absolute ease. It combines ease of use, repeatability, and precision by harnessing cutting-edge technologies in virtual/augment reality (VR/AR), animation, and drone flight.[2]

Users step into an immersive virtual reality world, where they can intuitively place keyframes, which the drone will subsequently follow. The frames can later be adjusted or rearranged and even saved for later use. This way, it is possible to repeat the same shot to get multiple exposures of the same scenery at different times during the day.[3]

Models can either be constructed by using photogrammetry, which includes structured fly scanning and 3D reconstruction software (like Or integrated with 3rd party vendor, such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, or PLW.

With Skywand, it is possible to achieve the speed of up to 15m/s for Inspire 1. Of course, calmer weather results in a smoother shot. According to Skywand, when wind speed exceeds 15m/s, the shot of small quadcopter like Inspire 1 becomes unstable.

The current release is limited to 50 keyframes, but the developers are planning to raise this limit in a future release.[4]

Skywand is created by Amber Garage, Inc. This Silicon Valley-based creative art & tech studio was founded by Botao Hu and Jiajie Zhang. Botao Hu is an accomplished landscape photographer and data scientist with a Master's degree in computer science from Stanford University. Jiajie Zhang is an award-winning National Geographic photographer and computer scientist.

System Requirements

Currently, Skywand is compatible only with drones manufactured by DJI, the Chinese technology company founded in 2006 by Frank Wang and headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong. It manufactures commercial and recreational unmanned aerial vehicles for aerial photography and videography. More specifically, the DJI Inspire 1 Pro and the DJI Matric 600 with Ronin MX.

Skywand can be used with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Microsoft Hololens.

Setup Instructions

Images and Videos



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