This week brought a long-await announcement from DJI that finally brings a new camera option to the DJI Inspire 1 platform. The question is, is this really the “game changer” some people are calling it, or will it really make any difference. We will dissect some of the features and see what this will really do for aerial imaging.
DJI went live with their highly anticipated Firmware update today. Everyone has been waiting for the automated Flight modes since the Inspire 1 was released. [Read more…]
There are two ways to get really good video out of an Inspire 1 or Phantom 2. The “easy” way is to simply use some of the presets such as Vivid or Film. The downside to using the presets is that you are letting someone else decide what your video should look like. The other way is to optimize the video settings so that the video is ready to be edited for contrast, saturation, and color adjustments (in the biz, this is referred to as color grading). What we are going to cover here is the latter as we believe in having as much control over our finished product as possible.
Continuing from my last post “Under The Hood – 3DR SOLO – Part I, I will begin taking you through the steps I took to disassemble my SOLO. To begin remove the battery pack from the SOLO. Underneath there a four phillips-head screws. Using a basic screw driver these four screws can be easily removed. When disassembling there is no right or wrong way. Everything is learned by trial and error. The most important thing is you don’t break it! Proceeding cautiously will go along way to ensuring you’ll be able to fly again. [Read more…]
Here’s the next installment of Ask Drone Girl. Got a question for her? Send your email here.
Hi Drone Girl,
My son and his cousin started a droning business in Michigan about a year ago. Recently they were asked to drone a festival in our town, and they readily accepted needing the exposure. I have a question…have you ever filmed a festival or in an area with large crowds. How do you launch your drone? Do you cordon off an area or have a launch pad? We’re worried about the thousands of people milling around the area and the danger of the blades of the drone.
P.S. the boys company is insured.
This is a great question, and I’m glad you have safety first in mind! Take the exposure, and give exposure to safe drone flying practices while you’re at it.
I have filmed in large crowds, and it’s tricky! People love to come up to you and talk to you about what you’re doing, and while it’s easy to want to be friendly and have a chat, you also need to focus. For example, I once photographed a crowd with a drone flying over Crissy Broadcast in The Presidio for The San Francisco Chronicle.Crissy Broadcast event at Crissy Field in San Francisco, Calif. Photo/Sally French
Luckily at this event there weren’t too many people, so I was able to stand away from people in a grassy area to launch, without having to cordon off an area. Most drone injuries happen during takeoff and landing, so it’s important that you don’t do these steps near other people. If your event is going to be wall to wall people, you’ll definitely want to cordon off an area where you can launch.
It’s great that you’ll have what sounds like two people there. One should be piloting with their eyes on the drone the whole time, and one should be the spotter looking out for other things in the sky (or coming at you on the ground too). You may even want a third person to control the drone’s camera, depending on what kind of gear you’re using. The great thing about cordoning off an area is you don’t have to worry about people coming up and asking questions while you’re in flight.
As for flying over crowds, it’s tricky! The FAA recommends not flying over people, but if it’s over public property for non-commercial use, you have a right to. If you have any slightest doubt about your piloting abilities, don’t fly over people. If you are 100% confident, then I think I feel comfortable advising you to go for it.
One of my favorite drone videos ever from when I first started reporting on drones was from The Drone Dudes. They fly all over the crowd, but that’s obviously risky. Use your judgement.
And of course, happy flying!
Hi and welcome to my very first post as a contributing member of Drone Coalition. I’m excited to be here and have some great topics lined up for the Fall. As an Engineer I’m more interested in the engineering behind these machines and the new technologies in development for their advancement. We are already into the third generation of drones in this rather young industry. Within this generation the Apps (Android and iOS) are dominating the scene with their advancements in flight operations. Now more than ever the operator has everything at their fingertips. Give it time and the term “Pilot” will be replaced with “Operator” or “Programmer”. The user will program the drone’s mission and it will autonomously complete it.
With that said let’s get right into my first multi-part series on the engineering behind the drones. Although there are many types all drones, basically all operate under the same principles and mechanics. What better way to teach this than to actually tear down the most technologically advanced drone currently on the market, the 3DR Solo. But first my disclaimer.
Disclaimer: Although not necessary to fly the drone, tearing it apart is to be done at your own risk and will void all manufacturer’s warranties. There is a chance doing so will permanently damage the drone and it will become an expensive static model only to be displayed in your office. While offering an amazing learning opportunity, it is not for the faint of heart and the user needs to be aware of the risks.
Good. With that scary statement out of the way let’s begin our operation. Recently I was lucky enough to find a Solo by 3D Robotics in my local Best Buy. With two independent 1Ghz computers in the system, this drone by far has more processing power than what we have seen become available to the consumer. Although the firmware is still pretty green, anticipation is high for what the future holds for this machine. 3D Robotics is a US drone company founded by Technologist and former Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, Chris Anderson. What distinguishes 3D Robotics from other manufacturers is the open source policy that is similar to companies like: The Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Mozilla. 3D Robotics is also a strong supporter of the DIY (Do It Yourself) Maker movement spreading across the country. Their drones are meant to be tinkered with, taken apart, and dissected. Currently there is a whole community of developers writing the code base for this machine.
Unlink most, when I first got my Solo I didn’t fly it. I decided to see what was under that injection molded shell. I got out my IFixIt tool kit, took a deep breath, and began my 3DR Solo tear down.
Note – the images in this post got a little messed up with a server move. Most of them should be below:
(hit link above and see all files with Solo in their name.
Gallery of additional shots below:
Using a drone to get imagery for 3D mapping is rapidly catching on, and thanks to Pix4D software, they’ve made strides in bringing the technology to the small UAV market. We’ve only just begun to see where this technology is going to take us, and how we can best utilize it for industry. New designs in drone hardware, cameras and software applications such as the DJI Phantom 3 Professional with the DJI Go app are really pushing the envelope. [Read more…]
There are quite a few of us who like to fly the GoPro camera because of the video shooting options. This is especially true for people flying the 3DR Solo. One of the drawbacks is the fisheye effect that the small goPro lens produces. Its easy enough to remove it in Premiere Pro or After Effects. But what if you don’t own these programs and only have Photoshop?
A really neat feature that is coveted by drone makers is fully autonomous flying. I say “coveted” because it’s “sort” of there. First of all what is it?
You can open a map and set points on the map for the drone to fly to. There are called waypoints. Once you have plotted your waypoints, the copter can fly on a preset path all by itself. You can also set the altitude and speed of the course. [Read more…]