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Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 5 of 23

Entry Level Drones Part 1


Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 5 of 23

Entry Level Drones Part 1


Lesson Info

Entry Level Drones Part 1

We're coming back with uh mark and romeo here were going to bring it down to the basics of starting with one of the smallest copters and one of the most basic that still have a camera and allow you to do uh some video and photo shooting so romeo's got here let me come over here you've got the phantom to vision plus yes roomie are where the front okay, I'll let you guys tell about your your website because that's that's where you work together our website is visual dash aerials dot com way are devoted enthusiastic obvious way also do some commercial flying but we would really invite you to come to our site we try to put up reviews, examples of world hips and we encourage people to interact with us. We each have a blogger's well romeo telemundo show and of course we love social media were only needs two grand visual aerials waiter add visual aerials facebook you name it from probably there and you can find links to them to make sure we got length upon the facebook page drone workshop fac...

ebook page as well. So heading off with the first thing we've got here and of course we got a little extra cable in here so that we've got, uh, feed going to video you wouldn't have this on your own device at home, but tell us about this set up with the vision plus x I'm gonna I'm gonna fly division right now. Just basic vision. Okay? And there are two components, actually, that you did. You get there both wide. One is this little thing that's the radio here you give all the input to the machine as well. You get the video through this wifi extender which connects them to your iphone ipad en droid device. And then, of course, you have the actual flying machine and, uh, two things to this the front has to camera and the back past the battery in it. So, uh, there's some really cool about this battery here? If you press the button, you have indications of how much power you have. Four green bars means anywhere between seventy five I've two or seventy six to one hundred percent. So it's twenty five increments. So that really helps. Quick check how good your battery is. And, uh, first thing you do is you put the battery in. So shall we do ah, full before you go through it because some people I know were clear on this. This whole system comes out of the box ready to fly there's no assembly required. The only thing you have to add to it is your iphone, your android device or your tabloid tablet either iowa are also one one thing is that these things props are really nice they're self tightening so there as you can see there's a silver and there's a blank top so they look actually the opposite from each other is because the road the motor spin in opposite directions and they're real easy you just put it on and you tied him to hide them and that's it so it comes out of the box within a few minutes it's ready to fly so once you have your battery in what you want to do is you wanna put that at a place where when you take off you're not going to hit a ceiling which I'm now known for wei have video proof you concealing and won an animated you know if you press this button twice it will start up now here's to sequence before you start up this machine you always turn your radio on first so you turn it on you have a green light you hear the double beep uh which is for the united states? Europe has a different configuration only has one so over over in europe way so once the radio is on then can turn on the wifi it's very simple on off so you turn it on you're almost ready to go what I like to do is I like to put my intent a little bit to decide here because it it emits a signal out this way so don't point it at your machine I mean because it's not directionally goes from decide so I just put it a little bit like this so it's behind it's not behind the wifi extender and then I'm going to set this down and I'm gonna double tap so press ones press twice and hold it and it will start up now there's a couple of things that are happening now inside there so it's warming up and at the same time it's also looking for all the gps signals that it can get and on the bottom off the machine there are some indication lights so I'm going to show this I'm going to restart it again but right now you have yellow so yellow means that it's warming up what you want to do is you wanna have all of these green green means ok, I have enough satellites I have lock I have home lock I'm ready to go if you have green and red it's still not quite very and it has a couple satellites but not enough for you to get a safe home lock also, while while we're waiting on the camera it's hard to show right now but you left a camera kind of tilt it down but there is a light here too that indicates that it's connected so you know it has power and, uh, it's ready? So let me restart is really quick because we have moved it around a lot, and we'll get a good good luck throughout the conditions that we're in right now for people who aren't here. So people are wondering what the wind speed might be, and then how do you look at when you're in a scenario and the wind? What? What are the factors that you should be thinking about with wind? Well, usually all useless, like the wind meter, which I left on the clinton uh, but when you're flying enough, you kind of get a gauge as to what? What do you know what? The trees are moving? Because it's not just the ground wind, it's also the wind up thirty, fifty hundred feet? Um, so you kind of look at your surroundings and learn this is, um I'm guessing what around gusts up around twenty, maybe. So I'll fly in this without any problem and maybe a little a little wimpy, but but I'm a fly in that now, let's, see if we get this to work. Alex are online said it looked like fifteen to twenty miles per hour, so good job, alex, also one thing, but taking off like an airplane, you want to take up kind of like into the wind but keep in mind the way might push it right thank you. So if you stand behind it just a couple feet and you take off it might come at you so keep that in mind it's like peeing into the wind so keep that in mind we're taking off just like that it's a good thing to keep one of these around for two right now it's not blowing it's hard of course I'm under the tent so if I come out here a little bit and jeff what is that that you're this is so this is the little wind meter is showing in the first segment um it's really nothing's gone over seven right now it feels a little stronger uh, it might be this thing is kind of accurate, but if it's really gusting bad, you'll definitely you'll definitely see it pop up crane and when one more quick question about the from scooter what is the maximum wind that you would feel safe as as a moderate pilot if you got a little bit of experience um, personally I will keep it under twenty as moderate um lower the better uh you can test I mean, go out in the field when it's windy and give it a try but just keep in mind the takeoff usually is not so difficult but then coming back in that's a little bit more challenging the other thing is the smaller copters have a uh muchmore susceptibility to win with our big heavy lifts I've flown in thirty mile an hour winds you know it's not fun but uh you can have enough mass that it won't be buffeted with the small ones if you have winds that air twenty miles an hour above we always hand catch it because if you try to land that ground effect or augusta winnall spilling over and maybe damage your props so we often will launch and land just by hand which with these you can do because they're pretty harmless you're not as worried a big one with a carbon fiber props I wouldn't get anywhere near it alright let's do it what's next all right so now I started up the app and uh we have not a connection here which you usually don't have so here we have an h d m I adapted it goes to the iphone and then a long cable that goes inside so the viewers at home should be able to see what I see on my screen right now and let me quickly give you a couple of information about what you're seeing so the camera right now on the ground is looking away from us that's the way I like to take off so I have the battery the four indication lights that the battery is one hundred percent or almost hundred percent facing me that means that's the backside. Why? Because now this is natural. If I give it bright and put it will go right to forgive left it will go left forward forward if this is pointed the other way, everything is reversed. So if you're a new pilot you get quickly to trouble because you might want to go right? But it goes left and it could cause some some issue, so keep it faced away from yourself. Now there are a lot of information there's. A lot of information on the screen right now let's just look on the bottom, we see distant it zero feet. Obviously this is now the home location and we have not moved. Uh, the altitude various just a little bit it's between, you know, one foot and minus points to feed so there's a little bit of variation, but, you know, that's that's pretty pretty good and to speak, of course we're on the ground zero miles per hour if we go up on the right side there's some blue numbers that are important it means, uh, we have indication of battery power that's ninety five percent right now we talked earlier about what is safe to land and come back now let's say you're your three hundred feet away and your battery power, you know, is at twenty percent think about coming home. Uh, because you also have to come back home and descend. And right now, with the latest firmware, you only descend at a rate of two meters per second. So if you're let's, say, two hundred feet up, which is about sixty some, uh, meters and you have a two meter decent rate. It takes about thirty seconds just to land. So keep that in mind, so don't push the needle and go down to, you know, ten percent of fifteen percent. You also see below the satellites. And right now we have ten satellites or the gps has luck to ten satellites and that's. Why? We have a pretty good indication off orestis machine. And what is this? An altitude and speed and a little bit below. Uh, we see nine nine. One that's right now I have space in my memory card for nine hundred ninety one pictures. I have to set up in broad so it takes the raw and ajay peck at the same time. So obviously have a big big card in there. And then we have ah, button for a, um a picture and a video. Button right below. So if you want to take a picture, obviously you press the camera. If you want to take a video, obviously you press the video camera. So it's pretty self explanatory. Moving to the left side of the screen. We have the camera control tilt going down and going back up and on the right side, you see that little indication bar that shows you, if it's all the way up here all the way down. So you need to take your hands off the control to do that now, there's. Another option, right? But above it, it looks like, uh, one of those cool planets like saturn. You press that one, it becomes blue. And now, if I move my controller up or down, it does the same thing as before. Um it tells the camera movement down this way. I don't have to take off my fingers from the radio, it's. Just another safe way to fly. I personally don't like it. I don't either. So let's, let's, get the camera back up. So these are the basic functions. Now, you know, when you become a little bit more experience, you have this little wheel down here, you press it, you have a whole bunch of different camera settings. On your left that pop up and we will be talking about these uh in a little while to uh in this case right now I'm taking a large image and it's going to be in been in raw so I can then use photo shop and light room and really bring out the colors and and the shade and the shadow and tomorrow we'll talk more about all of that as well all the rest it's sophisticated stuff you can play with it it's actually quite a lot of fun one that you might use quite often it's dis exposure one so you know in a bright day light if I shoot a sunrise and I look straight at the sun I'm going to decrease my exposure and look what it does it becomes much darker now and obviously when it's a little dark I can increase it and now it's it's pretty bright so you can get much more detail so right now we're going to leave it a probably zero since it's grey and dusty ng kind of cold out here all right so now we have satellite lock everything is green I have ten satellites I'm ready to uh take off so take off what you want to do is you want to press both sticks inward and now it has pulled up and if I don't do anything um it will just uh spool up and wait for my next command but now, if I use my left side stick and increase the power you can hear and see that they start spinning faster. Now, let's say I'm a little nervous and I want to stop again, so what you do is you just put these back down and it stops or not, we're having some good, some good experiences. So this is what happens anything ceilings is lord, this is very alive right now. I've never flown this before, so this is fun. I'm kidding. So there's a soul going to the outside kansai corners tried that, you know, c with the with the old vision and stay friends, okay, so no that's that's just increased power and take off. So I'm gonna go a little bit over there and we just kind of now hover. So even though it's windy, it kind of stays pretty stable but I do have to keep my fingers on the stick it's pushing it down. So here we have some interesting aerodynamics because of the building, the wind is bouncing, so we're going to move the camera a little bit. All right, right now, it's flying by itself I have my fingers off the stick and it's doing pretty good by itself because going on what's what's happening is it keeps position thanks to the the satellite's I have right now have ten satellites so it's trying to stay as close to its position as possible and you can see how it's leaning a little bit into the wind it's fighting the wind and it's pretty stable gps in it it's it's looking to the satellites it's trying to stay within I think they claim about a three meter uh circumference that it will stay and even and win unless the wind is stronger than it can fight back that of course here nothing can help him now when you fly close to a building you have ah have some different um aerodynamics happening so wind is bouncing off the building wind is coming over the roof so depending on your location you might get you know different kind of motions just because of the wind right now this is just me doing it but this could be you flying um because of the wind so you have to keep that in mind as well I know what you're doing there is serious uh adjusting the yaw control which is on the left stick left and right so you can spin it around it's it's access yeah and that's how you turn the camera around now here is something interesting now it's facing me remember when I was saying before that everything is reversed let's say I pushed a stake to the left what happens machine goes to the right and if I go right the machine goes to the left and if I want to go backwards I now have to pull backwards so keep in mind that if you're facing yourself your controls are different than when when it's facing away so if at some point you're unsure what's going on the best thing to do is let you in go over the stick sold for example you're you're flying and now you don't know what to do just let go off the sticks see how the machine just then stabilizes itself and it gives you time to figure out what is going on where am I facing the problem sometimes is that people overreact and when you overreact you you tend to make mistakes so like off the sticks and it kind of moves a little bit but it it stabilizes itself pretty well romeo well we've got this in the air for a few more minutes let's um let's show what what you would suggest ah new flier how they would kind of enhance their skills maybe by doing a box doing a figure eight doing some of those exercises that are really good for beginners to learn uh and get comfortable using the sticks that's that's a good suggestion so uh mark and I we also teach uh at the photo shop world with adobe we have their flight class and we teach new pilots and one of the exercises we do is just fly a little bit forward facing away and then a little bit to your right then come back just do like a box and then go to your start point again so you're doing a box in the sky so that's first and then you can do the same thing but at every point you you turn your your ninety degrees so you go forward and when you get to the end position your and then you go forward then you ya again and then you come back and you can see how the wind is pushing it and when you're back to your again and so you have just done a box going that way now then you can do the figure eight can fly figure aids uh you can do a lot of different exercise is one thing that I I also like to do is way outline an area and they have to spot land because perception is really interesting you have no idea if you just look at the machine how far away you are right now if I look at my screen I can see that I'm almost fifty see the way but it doesn't look like fifty feet and if I want a land guess where this will land it's really hard to pick the spot but as soon as you come down a little closer to the ground it will be easier to see okay it's gonna land right there so doing the spot landings that's a fun way to train as well sometimes putting some hula hoops out on the road in the grass uh some some obstacles that you can try to line up with those are all really good it's easy stuff you could just take to the park with you when you go to teo practice exactly now speaking of landing if you get closer to the ground you will experience some interesting dynamics because now the air that the propellers are pushing away is is interacting with your machine and it's going to start you know pushing you back up I see so you have to take that into consideration too and with if you have other wind factors from the outside it will make it a little more tricky uh to land to see how it's like like a bouncy house right now it just goes up and down but again my recommendation is uh when you land have the backside face you because again if I want to go left or right it's natural with my thumb movement so keep the battery facing you and then you just softly bring it down and then hold the stake back and this time it will shut off all right a safe landing that's great well that's great that's a that's a great introduction attest to flight in general that's a great introduction tio how beginners khun you can get into their get safely back down ah and also to show that you know it's not the end of the world if it tips over on takeoff or landing these things are very forgiving no, they are one thing if it does take over don't necessarily use your hands to put it back in use your foot or something if you really look at it see if yeah see if you can power it down with the sticks first but if it doesn't you respond then um then you use something besides your fingers because you need those toe keep flying or you're done for the day right? Well I'd like tio half mark show us uh just a an example of uh uh what other types of f p v we've gotten I've got a couple things set up here um before we get to the goggles I've got uh the dslr pros cans kit here we can use that as an example and just to show how that f tv works we've got a second monitor here so you don't have to look at the one that that's on our controllers this has the same receivers on the same channel so they can have that he'd go right into uh uh switchboard so let me let me hand you you want the sticks you want this about that first uh uh when we talk about f iv e which it's probably already been explained first person view it means that you're going to be flying while you see what the quadcopter sees and in this case we're using a gopro camera probably now the most popular f p v camera for ah, both the quality of the footed you get and because of the weight now we have moved into the some assembly required territory unless you buy a unit from dslr pros who build these kids and they will fly right out of the box if you are somebody who likes to put things together or has to pinch pennies uh, it's not that difficult to put together a system like this and I recommend ah to everybody to consider doing it because you learn a lot about your machine if you build it yourself and most of the components. While all of the components are readily available from sources online there's uh get f p v dot com there's ah, future hobbies dot com, which is a a group out of sanwa j where is my home? Uh, a lot of, uh a lot of people have local hobby shops that carry a lot of this gear to I always try to suggest the people if you're lucky enough to have one close to you support your local small hobby shop because there's also a lot of assistance there too so like on this one too they've got the antigravity t motors they've upgraded to this's souped up this is a really nice machine and of course that's what they're ah noted for they make high quality stuff and they put the best components together that match but this is real similar to some of the machines I fly uh and we start with the gimbal that we've talked about, which is the camera stabilization unit this particular gimble is made by d j I innovations there are a lot of nibbles that fit the gopro camera I think three d robotics has won or yeah, they're they're using thie tero gimbel's there's but again, you khun from many sources find a gimbal that will fit your copter in this case it's a phantom uh phantom too we've got the gopro every gimble is built for a specific camera that's because they have to be balanced. I can't put any other camera on this kimble and I can't add lenses to this camera without upsetting the weight distribution. So when you have a gimbal built for a camera, you're stuck with the configuration right camera that you have in this case it's the hero three plus, which is the flagship of the gopro line right now they're gonna have a hero three four in a couple of months and we don't know what this is point whether it's a new way to new configuration you will just have to see if we need to find out when it happens but anyway so you've bought your multi road or your quadcopter you've bought your gamble and the camera that matches it and attaching them to the copter is relatively easy because all the gimbal manufacturers give you the mounting kit that matches your your quadcopter. So now we have a camera on a gimbal attached to the phantom we have to get the video signal down to us two whether it goes to our monitor or to our goggles and that's where we have to get a little video transmitter this happens to be I think a five point eight megahertz transmitter that dslr pros cells uh there's lots of transmitters in different frequencies and we won't go into great detail now. But the frequency of the transmitter depends on how big your antenna is. If you have a nine hundred megahertz transmitter you've got an antenna about the size of a softball or bigger. So five point eight megahertz lets you use little antennas which is your good thing for us. So, um if you buy a transmitter it now has to hook up your camera and again some assembly required or you go to a professional outfit like dslr pros and they put it together for you I would highly recommend anybody interested in this send me an email on our website this is something I do all the time for friends I converse with them I helped them ah I'm kind of ah geek about it ftv and transmitters and I can certainly, uh, point you to a lot of resource is anybody could put this together if you're willing to take some time and if you're willing to ah communicate with me or somebody else up on facebook and other sources that with some really crazy these big clover lianis and all these different configurations because you really experimented a lot yeah, I'm actually kind of into this I actually put a big uh one point two gigahertz dish antenna on my balcony and I flew my, uh craft from my upstairs loft in my condo and it was great except I forgot that the my building has a wing on it, so I'm just flying f p v and and of course now I'm in the copter I'm not in my, uh balcony where my antenna is and as I went around the corner, the wing of the building came right between the flight path of my uh phantom and uh my signaling so all of a sudden I had video, but I had no control it went in tow auto land mode and just as it's coming down, I'm watching this from my big screen it's coming down right on the railroad tracks and the arms suddenly are coming down and the bells go off oh, my god! There's train coming so there's? No way. I'm getting control back so I ran down the stairs and I ran out there to try to rescue my phantom. I get down there, the arms were down, the lights were going, the traffic is stopped and it was some sort of glitch. There was no train, but my phantom had landed right in the middle of the crossing. So what is very cool is thes people had come up to the intersection, the gates went down, the lights went off and a little phantom came and landed. So absolute true story. I have the video footage. I got to put that on facebook or something, but but of course, the the store. The real lesson of that is, uh, once I went around the building, I had no connection. So if you're gonna fly around buildings, you need to either use ah, different frequency, such as u h f or you have to ah, have a repeater, there's. A lot of ways to solve those issues. The best one is to just never fly with obstructions ii always because I have more of a comfort level. I've tried flying with goggles we're gonna show that here in a minute but I have more comfort having line of sight and I also get better better reception with line of sight if I fly like below the trees that guy's breaking up and then you can't see the copter you can't see your f p v anymore we're flying blind so and that's kind of a that kind of ah passion of mine and I'm working with a system that has cell three g signal for the video which means I can see ftv anywhere their cell signal which in theory I could take this to palo alto and uh and fly it and have a complete hi def video because the system works through three d sell it it's just coming out from a group that did a kickstarter campaign we'll see how well it works on getting here it's great that we have some questions about your distance from the transmitters to the drugs themselves and for example from oscar w what is the distance that you could be okay I have a system real similar to this and I'll tell you right away five point eight megahertz is probably the most convenient the most cost effective but it's also probably the most sensitive to the quality of antenna you fly me personally I wouldn't fly this antenna this is called a die pole antenna and not to be critical of jeff I I um the performance of this antenna is sub standard compared to a number of antennas. And so the distance that you get is highly dependent on your antenna. You'll see people that say, well, what is the wattage of your transmitter? Turns out the power of your transmitter is about ten percent of the equation of the distance you get. So any of the standard transmitters are going to be acceptable for you. As long as you get a good antenna answering the question, I went out to alvey. So where? There's a big, unobstructed area and, uh, I got, um, ten thousand feet of distance with a five point, eight system that's just like the one we're flying here. Um, you could certainly get further if you then move into the, uh to the one point two or the nine hundred megahertz range. Um, and there's issues, as I've mentioned about there's trade offs every time you do that. But a good rule of thumb, in my opinion is, you know, if I'm not getting a thousand feet there's something wrong with my f p v system that, you know, and if I'm not getting a thousand feet either, I've got some serious interference or I've got some substandard antennas.

Class Description

Drone photography and videography captures some of the most stunning images out there, but the tools, techniques, and gadgets used to capture the action are often confusing and difficult to master. Join Jeff Foster and special guests for an exciting and highly informative class and get a running start at unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography.

In this course, you'll learn how to capture stunning aerial shots with an impressive range of aerial gear – including; 3D Robotics multicopters, DJI multirotors, GoPros, DSLRs and more. You'll get an introduction to the best tools for beginners and see demonstrations of the sophisticated gear used by the most in-demand professional photographers and filmmakers. You’ll learn essential skills for controlling a UAV flight; basic flight controls, necessary equipment for successful shooting, planning and lining up the perfect shots, flight prep and safety, waypoint navigation and more. You'll gain an understanding of the production and post-production techniques unique and essential to aerial photography – including how to stabilize video, create stunning panoramic photos, and remove lens distortion in your photos and videos.

If you're ready to explore this wonderful world from a new elevated visual perspective, then this is the course for you!

Guests include:
Colin Guinn -
Mark Johnson and Romeo Dursher -
Stephen Wheatcraft -
Peter Sachs -
Russell Brown -

CreativeLive is proud to announce that Jeff Foster was a Bronze winner in the 36th Annual Telly Awards for this class.   With nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor. Congratulations Jeff!  

What You Will Learn in This Course

1. Gearing Up: Intro to Aerial

    • Jeff will take us through some of the various quadcopters and multirotors that are commonly used in the hobby/commercial photography markets today. Basic concepts of pre-flight prep, safety, equipment, and terminology will be covered for various disciplines.

2. Basics of Flight

    • Colin Guinn from 3D Robotics joins Jeff in demonstrating the basics of good flight, best practices to improve your skills and get those important shots you want!

3. Practical Application – Commercial Flight

    • Jeff leads off with some examples of fixed-wing drones used for various commercial and environmental uses, such as precision agriculture, search and rescue, firefighting and land surveying. Colin Guinn shows us how 3D Robotics is already addressing these important fields with advanced technology.

4. Advanced Flight for Film Production 

    • Romeo Durscher and Mark Johnson of to show us the S1000 octocopter and how to use it to get those high-definition aerial video shots that filmmakers demand. Stephen Wheatcraft then brings his S1000 octocopter in to demonstrate how he gets beautiful landscape panoramas with his setup. 

5. The Future of Drone Flight: Laws 

    • We will be talking in the studio with drone expert and visionary, Colin Guinn from 3D Robotics about his vision of the industry – where it has come; where it is today and where he sees it in the near future. We are then joined via a live video feed from Maine with drone legal expert Peter Sachs, Esq. To discuss the recent mandates and restriction imposed by the FAA in the US and what that means to the industry on a global scale.

6. Processing Aerial Footage in Post w/ Premiere

    • Jeff will show us some footage from the previous day's flights as well as some examples that might need a little “help” with stabilization and color correction, using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

7. Processing Aerial Photos in Post w/ Photoshop

    • We're honored to have THE Russell “Doc” Brown from Adobe join us for a head-spinning session in Adobe Photoshop CC with tips on working with drone-captured images and what projects he currently has brewing!

8. Processing Aerial Video in After Effects

    • Jeff returns to turn up the heat in Adobe After Effects to share with us some of his techniques for footage stabilization, lens correction, tilt-shift lens effects and much more!


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This is a great course! This workshop was very professionally put together. This was my first experience with CreativeLive and I was impressed at every turn with how well everything turned out. The content was engaging, the guests and instructor gave out many many useful tips on responsible drone operation... I can't say enough great things about this course. I'll be watching many of the segments over and over again to pick up all of the quick golden tips that were shared, as well as picking up the proper industry terms for types of shots, or piloting techniques. Very impressive! Thanks to Jeff Foster, his guests and the entire crew of Creative Live for making this happen. Simply Amazing!

a Creativelive Student

Not for experienced/informed pilots looking for the next level. It was a good intro for those new to the concept of UAV's in photo/video but never got specific enough about maneuvers, equipment, or shooting styles to be useful. The outdoor flying was a complete mess. Demos of what the equipment looked like, not how to best use it creatively. Glad I watched it live. The chat rooms were very informative.