Cinematic lens adds brilliant flare to drone footage


anamorphic lens for DJI drones
The Moment Air will soon have its wings to fly on DJI drones.
Photo: Moment

Moment started out making lens attachments to turn the iPhone into a better camera. Now the mobile photography brand wants to do the same for the cameras that fly on DJI drones.

The company designed an anamorphic lens called Moment Air to bring a sweeping, cinematic view — and that distinctive Hollywood lens flare — to footage captured by select DJI drones.

In launching a Kickstarter campaign today, Moment is also offering neutral-density filters and an ultra-thin iPhone case made to fit in the drone controller.

Moment Air to take flight

The Moment Air anamorphic lens is available on Kickstarter for $199, about $100 under the eventual retail price.

“Drone footage is getting boring,” Moment said in a statement. “It all looks the same because no one has brought the best filmmaking gear to drones, until now. This lens will deliver the results that were once only reserved for Hollywood camera setups.”

If the language sounds hyped, Moment built a strong reputation of Kickstarter success and bringing top-notch optics to the iPhone and other smartphone cameras.

The mount for the Moment Air anamorphic lens for drones
The mounting system for the Moment Air has a counterweight for balance and will lock in front of the DJI camera.
Photo: Moment

Anamorphic drone lens

Anamorphic lenses in the film industry create a distinct look: a wide shadowbox view and magical light flares that follow the length of the scene.

Moment last year debuted an anamorphic lens for the iPhone in response to a growing number of filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, using iPhones to shoot their film projects.

The two anamorphic lenses have much in common when it comes to the imagery they can deliver on screen. However, developers had to solve a number of engineering challenges before the Moment Air could fly.

Two of the biggest were weight and balance. Moment said its team had to create a “feather-light” composite to get the lens under 50 grams in total weight. This, according to the company, allows unencumbered flight and all the gimbals to smoothly operate.

Moment also had to design a two-part mounting system with a counterweight that clamps over the drone’s camera.

The Air lens is designed to fit the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or Zoom models.

The ND filters for exposure control fit onto the lens to avoid adding size and weight.

Moment created an ultra-thin case for the iPhone so it can fit on the drone controls
Moment created an ultra-thin case for the iPhone so it can fit on the drone controls.
Photo: Moment

The filter kit on Kickstarter is available for $99. The iPhone case so that it can fit with the DJI controller costs $25.

Moment plans to ship the drone lens in November.