What Is A Cinewhoop?


Written by Ryan Hart
Learn more about these small multirotors
As seen in the May 2021 issue of Model Aviation.

Ryan Hart holding a cinewhoop fpv drone
01. Great options for FPV goggles are the FatShark HDO or HDO 2 goggles and a standard radio transmitter, such as the classic FrSky Taranis X9D.
cinematic cinewhoop fpv drone on the ground
02. Andy Shen, from ShenDrones, sought to design a drone that was small, lightweight, and safe enough to fly in tight areas, and had the ability to fly with a GoPro—thus the ShenDrones Squirt was created!

These days, CineWhoops come in many sizes, ranging from a 2-inch propeller size all the way up to a 5-inch propeller size and, in some cases, even larger. The word Cine derives from the word cinematic, and Whoop is derived from the TinyWhoop, the tiny 1-inch propeller drone with which most of us learned to fly. The reason the name CineWhoop came to be is because these drones are capable of carrying a GoPro or a similar high-definition (HD) camera onboard without sacrificing power and thrust to lift heavy HD cameras.

The CineWhoop, in most cases, is a slow, stable-flying drone and is a great addition to an FPV pilot’s arsenal for filming epic location video shoots or just wanting to get some of that silky-smooth footage from an HD camera or third-party stabilization software.

Let’s begin where it started. A few years ago, Andy Shen, from the company ShenDrones, sought to design a drone that was small, lightweight, safe enough to fly in tight areas, and had the ability to fly with a GoPro. Thus, the ShenDrones Squirt was created!

The ShenDrones Squirt essentially looks like a large TinyWhoop. The Squirt is a 3-inch-propeller-size drone with a carbon-fiber frame and 3D-printed propeller ducts. This protects the propellers from damaging any of the surroundings.

You might ask what propeller ducts are and how they differ from propeller guards. Propeller guards simply protect the propeller from contacting any objects around them, whereas the propeller duct is actually designed to create some thrust to provide more power when flying and protects your propellers at the same time.

Getting Started

Getting started with a CineWhoop is much easier today with prebuilt, ready-to-fly packages; however, flying a CineWhoop takes some practice. If you are new to the FPV scene, practicing on a simulator is where you should start before flying the real thing to limit crashing and damaging your newly purchased CineWhoop.

CineWhoops utilize custom flight software such as BetaFlight, FlightOne, EmuFlight, or KISS. These are the most popular flight controller platforms used in the FPV market and give you the option to tune your drone to your liking so that you have the best possible flight experience.

Although you can buy a prebuilt CineWhoop, many experienced FPV pilots prefer to build their own custom drones, utilizing components of their choosing to give them the best-flying CineWhoop that they can put together. Today, the ShenDrones Squirt is still a staple of CineWhoop pilots who are looking to buy or build. Most pilots who choose to build start with the Squirt.

Most popular companies have their own versions on their websites that you can purchase as well. Some of the available drones are now even smaller and can still carry the weight of a GoPro or similar camera; however, a new craze that has been growing is the use of a stripped-down GoPro or similar camera where only the cameras lens and motherboard component are used to film. This eliminates weight from the camera’s battery and any outer casing that holds the camera together.

take your cinewhoop with you on any adventure or to an epic location
03. Take your CineWhoop with you on any adventure or to an epic location!

To fly this drone, you will need a set of FPV goggles, a radio transmitter, and the drone itself with all of the necessary components to make it fly, including flight controllers, ESCs, motors, cameras, antennas, batteries, and an HD camera (should you choose to use one).

If you decide not to use an HD camera, DJI has created some great HD products in the last year that are tailored to the FPV scene. These have become the go-to FPV systems to install on your CineWhoop because they give you crystal-clear image quality with little or no breakup when flying, as compared with the standard analog systems that we are generally used to.

Good for Filming

Why is a CineWhoop a great choice for filming and getting those great shots that larger HD cameras only dream of catching? To answer this question, you must understand where you can use a CineWhoop. Think of real-estate properties or flying indoors where a camera is generally used on a hand gimble to create stable footage.

With a CineWhoop, you can capture these shots without having to do a walk-through or carry a large, heavy camera. The drone is small enough to fit through tight corridors and tight spaces for a more creative shot. A CineWhoop is also a less expensive option for filming. Instead of spending a couple thousand dollars on a really nice digital, single-lens reflex camera, you can spend half that price or less to buy a drone that can capture nearly the same footage that a larger camera would.

CineWhoops are used more often today for flythroughs of real-estate properties, creating a new aspect for digital walk-throughs of homes that are for sale. A CineWhoop can also be used to get a close-up shot of a subject then can shoot up into the sky for a wider shot, giving you the option to capture multiple angles for your video.

photography backpack with gear and cinewhoop drones
04. The ShenDrones Squirt and the Diatone Taycan (with the orange ducts) are shown on the author’s backpack. A pack is a great way to carry your multirotors, radio, and accessories.

Although the drone is stable and effortless, third-party stabilization software, such as ReelSteady, can provide an even smoother shot, eliminate shaking in your footage, and create the effect of the camera being on a gimble. Clients, as well as friends and family who watch your videos, will appreciate that epic smoothness in your footage.

Fly-throughs of museums and other historical places have been the subject of many CineWhoop videos in roughly the last year. They are also great for following a subject as it moves because you can get extra close to the object for a unique shot that only a drone might be able to capture.

Another creative area that a CineWhoop can be used in is for security response teams. Some police task forces utilize drones to enter a building that is unsafe for a team to enter, giving them a look at their surroundings for any criminals or weapons that could possibly harm the team when it enters the building. The options are endless for these types of drones!

A CineWhoop Compared With Commercial Drones

A CineWhoop has a huge advantage over commercial drones because it is smaller and can fit nearly anywhere that you want to fly. It is safe to fly in most areas. Commercial drones, such as DJI products, are great tools for filming and taking pictures outside and can be used inside to an extent, but they lack the extra abilities that a CineWhoop has. Only a few of the commercial drones on the market have safety protection for their propellers. This is another key point where a CineWhoop has an advantage.

Most commercial drones have built-in sensors that keep you from getting too close to your subject or objects and have built-in height limiting installed for legal reasons so that you do not enter any airspace that you are not allowed to fly in—not that you should be flying up that high with a drone anyway.

A CineWhoop is completely manual. Think of driving a car that is automatic compared with driving a car that has a manual transmission. The control is completely up to the driver (or pilot) who is operating the vehicle. Knowing how to fly a CineWhoop, or any custom-built drone for that matter, is imperative before getting started.

Where to Buy a CineWhoop

You can buy a ready-to-fly CineWhoop nearly anywhere today. Stores such as ShenDrones, iFlight, BetaFPV, DiaTone, Team BlackSheep, FPV Cycle, Stan FPV, and a few other places on the market sell prebuilt, ready-to-fly CineWhoop drones with HD FPV systems installed, or you can choose standard analog if that is what you need.

Some packages also include the radio transmitter and FPV goggles for a slightly higher price. If you are not looking to build your own, these companies have some good options to save the time and hassle of building one.

Out of the box, all of these drones fly well, but what is nice is that you still have the option to fine-tune the drone yourself and can take it apart to add new components or replace a broken component.

Now that you are an expert, welcome to the world of the CineWhoop. Get yourself one today and join the community!







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KISS Racing







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DiaTone/Diatone Taycan

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Team BlackSheep


FPV Cycle


Stan FPV

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Thought the Cinewhoop piece was well done - I was beginning to despair that AMA didn't do drones or FPV - but - not the case - and a good article to boot - got me wondering why I don't have an HD cinewhoop - with those nice prop guard/ducts.

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