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A filmmaker’s open letter to DJI: your huge missed opportunity

By December 2, 2021April 13th, 2022DJI Pocket 2, Featured Home, Filmmaking, Gear

Invisible Women (in Film)

As a woman, and a female filmmaker, I have spent the great part of my adult life feeling misrepresented or outright ignored by marketing campaigns – especially those of camera companies, which typically feature male cinematographers and filmmakers. 

The brilliant Cindy Gallop and Caroline Criado Perez have written extensively about these issues: what it’s like to be a woman in a world designed by men and how to counteract long established cultural biases.

Recently I began researching and shopping for a small camera and I was reminded, once again, of these issues. What boggles my mind is that camera companies are missing out on a potential HUGE market – not just when it comes to 50% of the population but also people in a particular life situation. Let me explain.

Capturing My Baby’s Milestones

Since the birth of my daughter in late January 2021, I have taken more than 10,000 photos of her with my professional camera equipment. I also strive to shoot videos of her, if not every day, at least every few days, to capture milestones. The day she came home from the hospital… the first time she met her grandparents… the first time she crawled across the room… you get the idea. So far my husband and I have captured so many moving moments and I’m planning to edit a film for her (it’s my profession after all) so that she can savor these instants too, when she’s older.

My baby girl is now used to my camera and truly fascinated by it. Problem is, when I grab my professional cameras or take out of my pocket my iPhone to film her, she typically freezes and looks at the camera quizzically. She started doing this when she was only 4 months old… Photos are one thing – she smiles with her eyes, too and I have hundreds of stunning photos of her. But filming is something else: it’s as if she has a radar and seems to know when she’s being filmed… and then stops acting naturally.

The smallest high definition camera

As a film director and cinematographer, I possess a large collection of lenses, cameras, gimbals, small drones and other gear to film in any scenario. But this professional equipment is much larger than a phone and more conspicuous. To capture precious moments in the life of my camera-aware baby girl, I’d have to go small. Much smaller. 

So last month I started researching products from camera and drone company DJI that fit in the palm of a hand and are much smaller than an iPhone: the DJI Pocket 2 and DJI Action 2.

DJI Marketing videos: young people having fun

Both products are showcased in stylish marketing campaigns that show young adults having fun in locations around the world. The tagline for DJI Pocket 2: “create your epic cinematic shot”. Words that come to mind when watching the video are: adventure, travel, fun. There is a quick shot of a baby, but it feels completely out of context in the video. The DJI Action promotional video takes thing up a notch, showing skateboarder, a soccer player, someone riding a motorcycle in the desert, a skydiver… and two young women who seem to be fashion bloggers. You’d have a hard time finding someone over the age of 25 featured in these videos.

I’m sure there is a good reason for it and for a company with more than 1000 employees around the world, I’m certain extensive market research was conducted to find the ideal demographic for its products.

A (forgotten) marketing persona: new parent

After reading mixed reviews for the DJI Action, I took a leap of faith and purchased a DJI Pocket 2. It arrived two weeks ago. I’ve been filming with it ever since and I’m absolutely hooked. I think it’s the ideal product for a new parent and I can’t fathom why DJI won’t target this category in their marketing campaigns.

As a mom and filmmaker, here is what I love about the DJI Pocket 2:

  • I can turn it on in less than 4 seconds and it’s ready to film. Forget unlocking your phone, opening the camera app and selecting “video”. The DJI Pocket 2 stays on its last used setting, so if you use it to film videos, it’s ready to go at the press of one button
  • It films in gorgeous 4k resolution
  • It has a gimbal with 3 axis stabilization, which means that every shot looks smooth and perfectly stabilized. This is possibly my favorite feature – a teeny tiny gimbal on top of a tiny 4k camera the size of a highlighter. Every shot looks AMAZING. As a cinematographer, I can’t stress this enough. A total game changer.
  • The DJI Pocket has a very wide lens – much wider than that of a smartphone
  • The other day I used the DJI Pocket 2 to film a POV shot of my baby girl reading a book while sitting in the armchair on my lap. I did a high angle, birds’ eye view shot first and then panned down and around to show her from the front. The entire action was smooth and beautiful to look at. The lens is so wide, that it captured my smiling baby girl and a book, even if I was holding her in my arms. It would be impossible to film this kind of close shot on a phone. Even if you’re Christopher Doyle. With professional camera equipment: forget it. You can’t hold a professional camera in one hand while filming yourself and a baby in your arms. With the DJI Pocket 2 this is not only possible, but beautifully executed because of the combo of gimbal and wide lens.
  • It’s so small, it can fit in tiny nooks and crannies. Last night my husband was playing with our baby girl, teaching her to reach for objects while sitting on her knees in front of a bookcase. I was able to film an awesome point-of-view shot putting the DJI Pocket 2 inside a nook of the bookcase.
  • It has FOUR microphones, so the audio quality is stellar.
  • The DJI Pocket 2 is so small, it fits in my pocket or my purse. I can easily take it with me everywhere
DJI Pocket Elena
Left to right: a Canon 5D Mark IV, the DJI Pocket 2, a highlighter and an iPhone SE

Dear DJI, this may be your biggest missed opportunity

My husband and I have been raving about the DJI Pocket 2. We’ve been demonstrating its awesomeness to anyone who visits us at our apartment. We may have convinced 3 couples and another friend to buy it.

My biggest problem these days is the sheer amount of videos I’m filming. Someone – i.e. me – gotta edit these one day. 2 videos a day may not seem much, but they translate to roughly 4 minutes of footage per day… In addition to the photos I’m taking. I’m getting a surge of stress just thinking about it. Thank goodness I have a 12 terabyte hard drive to store them.

I don’t feel comfortable sharing online videos that show my baby girl’s face – I want to protect her privacy as much as I can for the time being – so you have to take my word for it. This camera is AMAZING. Especially in natural light, in the daytime. A tiny gimbal on a 4k camera the size of a highlighter. Anyone could film beautiful, smooth sequences with it.

A screenshot of a video I shot while holding my baby girl. The room was dark but the video turned out great. The DJI Pocket 2 truly shines while filming during the daytime, in natural light

The DJI Pocket 2 is a marvel and the ideal accessory for new parents. I wish I had had it when I was at the hospital after the delivery… I filmed a bit but with my Canon 5D Mark IV (without a gimbal) and the footage is shaky.

New parents aside, this camera would be an amazing accessory for any adult – to film parties, trips, outings with friends… you name it. I have been using it every day since I bought it and I’m constantly blown away by the type of shots I can get. This morning I filmed a bird’s eye view shot of my daughter playing amongst her toys in her playpen. I then panned down at her eye level, filming her between the wooden bars of the playpen; she smiled at me and started crawling towards me and the camera. It was a fluid shot, a 20 second sequence that brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

Dear DJI, this is a huge missed opportunity for your marketing team – please consider targeting new parents. And women. And people over the age of 25. You have a miraculous product in your hands that could create magical memories for so many people.


Elena Rossini