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Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 13 of 23

History and the Future w/ Colin Guinn


Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 13 of 23

History and the Future w/ Colin Guinn


Lesson Info

History and the Future w/ Colin Guinn

How are you doing today, jeff getting through it yeah it was a big day yesterday but today their wind everything it was it was a lot is a lot of a lot of plates to spend so where you keeps been in place today because we've got a lot going on today too that we do we have a lot of guests we have a lot of different topics to cover eh? So I'm just going to let you get started and tell us what we're going to do today excellent did you I'm going to leave this hand casey need sure um yeah we're going we're going tio talked with a few folks this morning about the industry about some of the legal aspects of howto what we're dealing with here in the us and then we're going to go on to learning cem tips on doing post production which is editing the video and making things look nice and then we got russell brown coming on a little later and then I will be bringing chase jarvis on ya and then all in the day and after effects that's everybody's most favorite topic so anyway I would love to start the...

day by bringing on ah ah ah I I c m is a visionary in the industry well known guy in the industry and a friend of mine a great colleague I'd like to bring on colin gwyn with three d robotics and thank you let's talk about yeah, thanks. Have a seat there. I mean, I'll be jay leno here. How are you guys doing good? So call in um let's talk about where you've you've come through this whole process of this uh, this industry I mean, you've seen it from the early days on to where it is now. I mean, what you tell us a little bit about your your your your experience of seeing what's happened with with drone photography and videography is a is an industry sure, sure. So will I. I should start by saying in that, um, you know, I I am a baby in this industry as as as everybody else and, you know, um there there have been there were people doing this long before I ever thought about putting a camera on a helicopter, namely emmanuel from flying cam, who literally won an oscar in nineteen ninety six for putting on ari film camera on the bottom of a big remote control gas powered helicopter pre autopilot days, you know, pre electric helicopters, you know? And you know, so I've gotto take my hat off teo to some of those pioneers, and I think I started getting into this, you know what the first signs of it being someone accessible, maybe about six years ago, something like that a little over six years ago now seven years ago and that's that's right when you could start building these remote control helicopters but you know, you were able to put on a stabilization system like that was that was the deejay ace are the three point x p three point one I think is what it was called and they came out the ace one and so, you know, when I got into this it was kind of, you know, necessity is the mother of all invention and I had a firm where we did marketing solutions for for custom home builders, their abilities, big, massive houses and we started working with builders that were just building bigger and bigger homes like thirty thousand and sixty thousand square foot houses like these, like basically like villages, you know? And and you couldn't really capture the whole thing from the ground. What what really set our marketing company apart is that we took a really, really good architecture photography was a cannon five d the original five d and, you know, I would put my my photographer sometimes the back of a helicopter they have no door on and he's like hanging out the back of a helicopter to try to take these aerial photos and you know, the thing is the how chopper pilot didn't want to go below five hundred feet and so we'd get, like, a really high resolution google satellite image, you know? Or we'd have to go really far away and shoot on a long lens. And then, of course, you got all that atmosphere between you and your subject, you know, the vibrations of helicopter be like one in ten shots might be kind of sharp, you know? So we're like, man it's got to be a better way, and so I looked at balloons and kites and, you know, poles that could go from the back of a car, you know, they had, like, these, like, sixty foot poles, it would go up and you could control the camera, and and I came across big giant, remote control helicopters that could do it now, and so I think, you know, most likely it was just an excuse to build a twenty five thousand dollars toy helicopter, you know, on so I, uh, you know, I looked at my my better half and said so, christy, guess what? We're going to spend your bonus on this year, and I was like, I need an investor twenty five thousand dollars, it goes over really well, yeah, so she was, like, okay, and anyway, so, you know, six months of you know, ordering parts from yet order parts from all over the world you know the frame kit came out of germany and you know, the little cable to actuate the shutter on the five d was only made by gen led in the uk you know and you know, batteries from another country and the camera mount from new zealand from from photo higher and new zealand one of the original company's making camera mounts for these things and you know, the autopilot from china you know, I had a d j I autopilot and anyways had assemble all these things together and then you have to kind of frankenstein the helicopter you've got to get your dream aloud and, like, chop off the front and move your camera and like, go meet with the machinist you know, I went to a machinist in austin and said, ok, we've gotta like makesem brackets toe hold this these carbon tubes on to hang my camera round for him and then you have to reposition the batteries to the back and make sure weight balance is cracked and these air big single rotor helicopters that air you know about six foot rotor disk and you know, so that's the kind of drop your head off instead of super easily I mean not even like not even slow down like I'm really easily so so pretty dangerous systems but I figured I'd be safe about so I bought a little toy helicopter you know learn how to fly it for a few months I start with a little t rex to fifty which I later found out you know, the smaller the helicopter the more difficult they are to fly especially those little collective patrol car there were a handful I got to where I could I was just kind of proficient with it I could fly around kind of and land and I was like okay great so I'm ready for the big one and I remember the first time we fluid you know christy was out there is was one of our son's birthday party and I had finished building this after months of work and you know it's like just that thing's spooling up you know make a blade like teeth to you know it's just like on the ground it's kind of shaking you know it's six foot rotor disk you know and it was like a kid's bright bright like twenty five people twenty five thirty people that I'm like okay, everybody stand back you know and here and I'm going home I got there is like leaves blowing everywhere in the grass you know like big takes off and chris is just thinking there ho my gosh that is a vehicle in the air like if you crash that thing like you are dead and everybody around you yes, way five d mark two came out soon after that so we started taking photos assumes the fighting mark two came out it was just like blow the doors off because that's where you know video just really took off and that's what made us realize how terrible the stabilization was and it was just all about a race to see who could create stable footage you know, because there was so much demand we were doing all these big movies and tv shows and like it just took off, but every time there you would see people that would have this idea of what they thought it was going to look like and then you'd show him what it looked like and the footage was just not compelling way okay, we can work stabilize that was actually forward stabilizers waken stable I mean smooth cam this three seconds and maybe get something usable. I mean, so yeah, it was it was interesting in the early days a lot of them was on to elect electric motor type multi rotors and you'll go pros that's right? I've been kind of following the whole gopro thing since the very first one yeah, and since I'm obviously not built for extreme sports, I don't jump out of planes are skateboard or anything I resorted to testing these things by strapping into my dog or my horse or my truck? Yeah and just doing whatever crazy stuff I could do I threw him in the pool I did whatever I could just, you know, try to get some stuff going so I've been kind of playing with that, but the one thing I like you I wanted to get the damn thing in the air in the air and I was trying like balloons and kites and stuff it was just horrible results because they need stabilization and he's, right? These things have to be stabilized. What you're hanging him from that's, right? And so you got into getting electric, uh, powered vehicles and yes, I'm kind of eye through this whole process it's funny because I think just like, the five d mark to really changed a lot of things and people to get really good video for the same thing kind of happened, you know, a few years later so we I went out and I was using a deejay autopilot cy parting with d j and basically commissioned them to build us stabilized camera gimbal, right? So we were able to start getting this really nice day was flooded with stony f s one hundred, you know, kind of a bigger looking camera and we started in this amazing footage and so we decided, okay, let's, let's make this into a product and launch it on the market together and so we we made this in muse and the s eight hundred to carry it and there's in muse was the first like three access you know people just didn't believe when we put footage online were like this is raw footage we were like no yeah right now impossible no way that's raw footage may we're talking sub pixels stabilization and altering access and you know three years ago people were just like no sorry we've been doing this for ten years like there's no way and it was like I remember the first test flight that we did we built a prototype my camera operator brad and I we came down and looked at the footage and we just looked at each other like oh my gosh the game just changed like stable footage you know so then we release this product it was like ten thousand bucks to get up and running which is like less than half of what I've had to pay for crappy footage a year and a half earlier you know so but there was a lot of people they were like okay I would pitch I would spend ten thousand dollars on that system if I knew that I could fly it and that I could go charge good money to go shoot aerial photography right but if I crash it in three days then that's just gonna be a big waste of money so that's, what was kind of like? Okay, let's, let's give him a trainer, you know? And so we developed the phantom and I said, look, it just needs to be under a thousand dollars and carry a gopro and it should fly just like the eight hundred, you know? So we developed this little lightweight thing called the phantom, and people started taking nice photos with it, and people started shooting video with it, and then they're doing all these little tips and tricks to, like, get the vibration out of the video, there was no vibration isolation, and it was just made for like photos. Well, on that, I remember calling you on this yeah, we're talking on the cell phone, he said he just goto go teo walgreens and get some of those little makeup pads and some of the outdoor three m tate double sided stand it stick that mother under there, you know, I flew for like, months with that because that was such a great replaceable fixable can't. It was just like a lucky thing I was I was in los angeles and we were doing a we were I was doing some kind of interview for like outdoor tv or something to fly this thing around, and they were like, we want to get some video right now man it's going to be all rolling shutters to be terrible it was like I got you something isolated vibrations I literally walked across the street like a cvs and I was like what do you got in here? And I was like, oh, these like squishy double size all right you know and it happened to work pretty well and so then you know, it was that's when this next perfect storm happened because people were like, you know what? We don't need your ten thousand dollars system like you know right around that time the hero three came out right and the hero three marked kind of the first time you could get some pretty compelling footage you could shoot forty five megabits per second pro tune you know, you could get some pretty decent footage out of this little tiny camera and so we're like, okay, great, you know, so like years earlier the first prototype we ever built over three access giveaways for go pro but we, like never released it you know, it's just like a little like proof of concept, so we're like all right let's make it a little gamble for this phantom thing so we made a gamble for it and then all of a sudden it was just people were just blowing our minds with the amazing content that they would come up with I mean, the market really taught us like we don't need this any bitch a trainer we need this thing to be a tool, you know? And so I think you know, from then on you know, I think that's really where the future's going to be is is really, really compelling and great user experience and controlling the camera you're flying the camera around, you know, a means to an end to really get that footage if you're looking for to collect that data to see your world from above well and beyond that which is what brought my interest with three to robotics and I'm really happy that you're working with this team now because they're they've got some awesome technology the software technology, the artificial intelligence that's building the guests and just amazing technology so and what we can what we can achieve with that now in various industries is mind blowing yep so I think that's that's kind of the next chapter is, you know, three d robotics and d I y jones and a pm you know, copter that platform you know is there's a difference when you've got, like, two people that have access to the flight code right? Or like seventy phd engineers all over the world contributing to the fight it's unbelievable how quickly this autopilot platform has advanced it's free it's open source, you know, like every kickstarter campaign right now air dog get heck so plus and pocket copter and they're all on the plate pick sock and a pm copter platforms so they're all using our platform you know it's it's we really want to be the android of the autopilot industry so if your if you want to make a quadcopter for your company big company, small companies whatever this is a you don't have to go hire a team of phds for three years to develop on autopilot for you this is free, you know, and from that there's gonna be a lot of really interesting things we can do with, you know, just mining that data and helping people understand you know how these systems are being used like, you know, just yesterday, for example were out flying if you go to drone share dot com, which we just kind of launched in debate a couple weeks ago, you can actually see our flights from you. Ok? So like one of the data is up there that you could download the log file, you can replay the flight and google earth on your computer. Um was there that brings up another issue, though, is that bring up a privacy issue where security issues like will that kind of like narc on people oh, they were flying in a no fly zone or you could say that was just a man it's, just your user name it could be totally anonymous account. Or you could just shoot. It is not teo that's. An opt in doesn't automatically, you know, tio conference off, I buy a an iris that's going to track it. We move on, make that's, right? So no it's often, okay, but the cool thing about it is that we're gonna be doing some really neat things with with drone share, where we'll do like autonomous flight log analysis for you. Cool. So instead of, like having to download your flight log and get a flight log reader and look at all these squiggly lines that, you know, look like greek, we've got we have systems that can basically read that for you and look for, you know, out of the norm parameters and say, for some reason, motor to is drawing more am draw than it should be. You might have a bad bearing. You might have been standing there from flying at the beach, you know, maybe there's excessive vibration because your prop is bent, you know, generally, if you have a motor failure or a speed controller failure or something like that while you're flying, you have flown like ten or more flights with a bad motor is just eventually it goes out you know, and so having that access that information, imagine, like you're doing a flight and then you come down, you got a push notification it says, hey, motor number two's running a little hot, you should check that out. I mean, how many crashes can we prevent doing stuff like that? The oil. So it gamification of it, like who's flown the most hours this week, he's formed the most miles what's your top speed, you know, you can share your flight pass of being on some cool, you know, beach somewhere and people can watch your flight, then you can upload your video along with it, you know, it's like, I don't know, it's just some really great that's a great looking about yesterday to is that this is a this is community, and I think we're at a point now where your drone is the term, you know, as much as people really robotics three robotics said, you know, chris andersen had the vision of just saying, you know what, we're going to call it drone, and we're going to take back that word, you know, we were scared to do that a couple years ago way can't say drunk, you know? And I gotta hand it to him because now it's like it's a drone and now it's no big deal you know, I fought it for a long time because I was part of that well known weaponized you know? And if they you know, they yeah make make drones illegal only the only thing I want to call it drove yeah so anyway we wait we're at this point now where we've got this amazing technology is totally emerging and ah and the real sophisticated stuff is being used in agriculture and in other industries where there's surveillance I mean, you guys have some amazing technology with three d modeling and sand incredible one button and three d model it's just just that's absolutely insane technology but the average person that wants to fly and take pictures um they may get out there and they'll fly and they'll take beautiful videos and pictures and then they kind of get bored or say they say, I like doing this so much I want to make this my livelihood you know, what kind of suggestions do you have for people like that? I mean, can they break into some of these other emerging is that easy enoughto access or learn to get into some of these are their industries sure so well, I should probably first say that I am not a lawyer and I'm not giving any legal advice but having a lawyer very well I will say that there are a lot of people that do really well flying these flying cameras around I did for a long time before I started, you know, making and selling these things and developing them you know um it's a fun job I mean just going from movie set to movie said and tv shows and shooting you know, agriculture, commercial real estate or doing photo gramma tree missions on remote islands I mean, you know it's a lot of fun stuff I've done over the years you know that that these flying cameras have brought to my life and you know so there's definitely something to be said there and and I'm sure when you guys talk to the attorney I don't know if you have brennan showmen are you guys peter sachs okay, great, great so um you know, it's you know that you're on the bleeding edge of a new technology when there's all this ambiguity around right? You know, is that illegal or is it just not allowed? Does the faa just really not want you to do it? You know, they try to find a kid for flying on university virginia and they couldn't get it to stick I mean it's like there's a lot of this ambiguity and so that's what I think shows us that we are on the very cutting edge of new technology yeah I agree totally agree I would love you guy's toe move pat too move past the technology side of it and we're starting to get into the uses which we just kind of talked about but I want to see if anybody in here has questions a cz well as questions from home uh one of the questions we got was one of the things we we didn't talk to calling about yesterday and that was from crosby was about flying and filming indoors um understanding safety factors other tips um let's talk about sort of the best uses sure so indoor specifically yeah I would say fly a small system you know like probably a at least until you're really know what you're doing you know but yes you can't find doors I mean the things you want you want to be carnies and of is that you're not going to rely on gps coverage satellite coverage so you'll want to be flying in a mode where autopilot is not looking right for gps coverage because what'll happen sometimes indoors is that it will pick up a few satellites and then it'll think oh I need to be fifteen feet over there because it just doesn't have very good accurate lock on the satellite so definitely don't fly in any kind of gps mode I would say fly very lightweight gopro carrying type systems you know and also make sure you khun you could do like twenty flights in a row outside without crashing you know, flying in all orientations camera in you know uh and in manual mode and in manual mode not using gps that's right that's right? Because that's a totally different feel starts drifting around and like, you know, you're used to being let go and just sit still you know that's right maybe endorse it it's going to keep going that's right it's like you and the thing with aerodynamics mean you fly over a table or a desk or best right? You fly over table and you get ground effect off that way you have to you have to really a cardio accommodate those those children p s question. So when modern farm equipment differential gps is fairly common and you've done a lot of agricultural work, have you? Is there any differential gps equipment for there is absolutely and but most of them are fairly expensive it's a differential g p s what what you're referring to is actually using two different gps antennas and then triangulating off of each other to get a much more accurate reading on where you are and so the pick sock now three robotics autopilot system actually supports difference of gps it's the only sub ten thousand dollars autopilot I know of and it's only a few hundred bucks and it will support different gps and we have a couple of guys that air getting their phds a stanford right now who are working on a difference a gps system that we that we go out so every friday in berkeley we have friday fly days in the berkeley marina and you can come out and there's a whole bunch of three year box people out there just flying, having fun testing out things and they've been out there with this a couple times and they have a sub one thousand dollars differential gps solution that I mean you want to talk about accurate position hold it is just locked in um and so like, you know when you start looking at agriculture platforms and you can you know or any type of surveying work of photo gramma cherie and you can add different gps for eight hundred bucks or nine hundred bucks that's going to be pretty cool because right now those air several thousand dollars systems you know, to do the difference of gps so yeah that's a great question and that and that that technology is progressing very quickly and I would say within a year or so you'll be able to add different gps for under a thousand bucks also is a way to do indoor drone flying in a way that would be very, very accurate yeah, potentially so you could potentially do indoor gps as long as you have, you know, some some ground truce and you know, bringing in your own, you know, ground antennas and things like that. And, you know, who knows with, you know, indoor positioning with wifi networks where they're doing indoor navigation if somehow we can start tapping into that technology, um, you know, I think since it avoids going to be a big one for that or or slam simultaneous location, a mapping where you can use your image ing sensor toe, you know, learn your environment and not bump into walls so that's all the kind of research that's happening right now, we have another question here in the studio. I'd liketo yeah, you spoke about the importance of being able to fly well is their places where you can learn this or what do you suggest on howto learn the skills, maintain your skills and things like that? Yeah, most cities have a name, a american modeling association flying field. I would strongly suggest joining the emma you get, you know, it's it's for hobbyists. It's not very expensive. You get insurance covered by the a m a. So as long as you're not flying for commercial purposes, you're having fun. You're just doing it as a hobby. And you're flying out of the field you know, that's a very safe and controlled environment to learn how to fly if you have something really small like you know, a phantom size thing or or you know, a three d r quad kid or a little why sex like that it's not too crazy, you know, you can easily just go out to a field, you know, I would say just make sure that you're totally clear of people I wouldn't be flying over people and things like that, you know, unopened area somewhere that's free of a bunch of obstructions or best case would be a natural rc flying field which most cities have those one more question we'll call in six years ago you got into this so what do you see who's going to be the next real big jump and six years from now yeah man that's such a great question I wish I had that crystal ball because that's exactly what I'd be working on we're trying to figure that out. I think a lot of it has to do with I really like, you know, controlling the camera you know and and and that's such a great question for chris he is such a great ability to really like, see the future and be a futurist about this and, you know, like I'm talking about ways toe make the controller more user friendly teo you know bail to control the camera and have different presets for camera positions and make you more of a cinematographer he's talking about controller's what do you mean controllers? I don't point in the air you go over there and make some magic happen you know and like so yeah, that that's probably the future and you know, I I find myself looking at like twelve, eighteen months you know? And he has this amazing ability to look at like, three to five years and you know, there's already people using like we type controllers have accelerometers built in and they kind of like, cast out the drone, you know? And and it just goes a ce faras until you push the button and then you just move this thing around, you know? So I think there's some interesting human machine interface from h m I you know, progress is going to be made where you don't have to learn these two sticks and like there's four different ways they can move and then and the orientation that copter is changing like, you know to me, if you were to learn any of you were learning how to fly if you could just use your mind and say, fly over there and then under this boom right here and then around this table like you would never crash the only reason you crash is because there's a disconnect between where you want the drone to go and where you're telling the joan to go with your fingers. So I really think that, you know, the progression is going to come in, making it more intuitive, tow fly, whether it's through autonomy and ground control stations are mohr intuitive, just pointing, you know, or who knows maybe is mind control, you know, the next google glass and we're just like, I can just look at my drone and flight around, but, you know, I think we want to get farther and farther toward that, so it just becomes more and more accessible where you're just moving a camera around in space, you know? Well, colin it's been great having you here. We really appreciate you taking time. Your tight schedule. I really appreciate you making time for us. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming in. Thanks. We really appreciate it once again. Calling win from three d robotics. And we've got a lot of folks asking about more information about so you can go to three d r dot com or three d robotic stock. Tom, thank you.

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.