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Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 4 of 23

Mark and Romeo - Inside Demonstration


Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 4 of 23

Mark and Romeo - Inside Demonstration


Lesson Info

Mark and Romeo - Inside Demonstration

I would actually like to bring up ah and introduce uh romeo dasher and mark johnson and uh these gentlemen I've known for a little while there pros in the area and I like you guys to kind of tell us about your your online site is well is what what it is you do and how your involvement in all of this is well thank you for having us and creative life and thank you elisa for making me look good it a day I'm in the morning with the makeup I love it and welcome here and all over the world I'm getting messages from all over the place people are watching right now so that is so all right so my name is romeo door shirt and uh I'm mark johnson and I always wanted to say hello to my sister hey, if she's watching so yeah we were with visual aerials visual dash ariel stop calm and what we do is we're just like little kids flying around and having a great time but they were taking some really beautiful aerial pictures at least I think they're beautiful and videos and more importantly we're testing ...

equipment and seeing how far we can push all of this and you know gravity is interesting it is interesting and it works and it works in one way down so keep that in mind um but it's a lot of fun yeah, we do a wide variety of flying and interestingly enough, although we have probably a dozen multi rotors of all different configurations and we fly big cameras. But the majority of the time we take the smaller phantoms out or other quad copters because they're so portable there's so maneuverable and you can go into stealth mode and, uh, be up and out of there. Whereas if you put up a big arctic, opt er not only do you have ah bigger safety issue, but you also have technical challenges and you draw a lot more attention. So it's ah riel easy curve into the craft in my opinion and I was just astonished at the capability of the new three d robotics and some of the d j I multi rotors that air really affordable and the fact that we continue to fly him and actually do it his choice is a pretty good endorsement for the the capability of the lower end crackles definitely now, our since we were dealing with the weather it's clearing up out there a little bit it's getting getting a little drier. But before we head out there are you, um are you prepared tio to show us a demonstration right here in the pavilion with the dj phantom? Uh, yeah, I decided, yeah, I decided to bring the division plus out now okay we're going to be flying indoors every time you fly indoors you have a different you're different challenges most of the times you might not get a satellite lock so that means you have to be a little bit more careful in your flying and you keep your fingers under stick so I'm going to quickly spool up and I take off right behind you so good god as you can see, this is what happened oh this was an example ofthe flying indoors not having your satellite lock and of course you know the light makes it really difficult to see back there but as you could see it landed upside down it's probably perfectly fine to fly again. That's the beauty of these off these machines actually you crash that's part of it at they are extremely stable and we've flown into trees were flown into ah into the ground it happens uh don't get incurred discouraged by that sometimes you have to do a little repair work that's part of it but it's amazing how durable beasties really things ever they are thank feli it's incredibly giving so one thing about flying indoors I will mention as you get there's something with the way these things fly as you get closer to a ceiling surface or top surface almost works like a vacuum and it will suck you against that so even with these little guys this little guy and that's how I kind of learned that flying this indoors you get near any kind of served was you know, in a shelf or ceiling or whatever in it sucks you have to like pull it down and then it drops crazy like that too so more than just contact you get close to a surface and sometimes the aerodynamics of the environment you're in may actually pull it up and suck it into the ceiling so exactly so you have to keep that in mind but but again these thieves quad copters are really a great way for you to get to get started and, uh and expect the crash it happens so don't be discouraged if if if if you crash we have actually an interesting story about yesterday you wanna hear it? Yes let's please wait we're late getting here yeah, we were late getting here because we were sailing we're sailing out on the bay and you got right there right out there and when you're in a sailboat you just have to fly I mean it's the best opportunity, right? Right but a boat moved especially sailboat so you can't just stop the boat and fly around and then come back in so it takes experience and it's a challenge what we had another friend of ours and she just started flying and she is ah kanan, I have to tell you she said oh, I can do this and she did she did fly it's somewhere out there in the bay now because it is challenging so my advice is when you start flying don't do the crazy stuff right at the get go go out on the field where you have a lot of space where there no people, no cars, no objects and just get a feeling gradually step up I mean, we've been flying these little machines for two years and it's still challenging to fly off a boat that is moving with the wind and you have limited space to land and take off so you know, pace yourself definitely definitely very thin ad well, I was just going to mention that um there are different ah issues involved with any of these uh copter is one of the real advantages of the the machine it romeo was flying the fan of vision is it has really soft plastic propellers and they're very uh almost harmless you know, you could get a paper cut with him or uh, you know, possibly you know, you don't want to look somebody in the eye, but if you put on carbon fiber propellers you could conceivably take off a finger so uh you have to know your equipment and for instance, when we're flying on the sailboat uh we made sure to assure the captain that we're flying soft plastic propellers there's no way we could damage his boat at all the worst thing that could happen we'd hit the sale bounce into the bay if we had been flying carbon fiber propellers it's conceivable we could have ripped the sale right and had a big insurance claim that's a good point the uh the other thing that I think you've mentioned but it's so critical is this issue of satellite lock now you you can't get a lock indoors usually and if you don't have a satellite lock the worst thing that happens indoors is what happened here the got sucked into the ceiling and fell down and it looks like it's fine, but if you're outdoors and you make the mistake of flying without a satellite lock it's very likely that your copter will take off and go home but it doesn't have a home point so it will be where it was manufactured china in our case the thing will head off teo jeff so I'm just gonna interject here from the folks who are watching at home thank you again everybody for joining us I just wantto start to explain maybe some of the terminology that you're using for people who are brand new to this so for example satellite lock good that's a very good point the the the modern flight controllers of all of the machines that we're talking about the day except the very smallest ones have gps uh, compasses in them and just like the uh, gps system in your car or in the, uh hiking navigators, it relies upon a system of stationary satellites that are always in orbit but to get a position triangulated a quadcopter has to lock into atleast six or seven satellites and you can tell when it's locked because the lights when you turn on the quad copter well flash red when they go green, you've got a satellite lock or if you're using the system for f p v, you can actually see how many satellites you have locked at any given time it's so critical though if you don't have six satellites locked, if you've only got three or four or zero, the copter will go up and if it goes into that return to home mode, it will try to find home, but it has an incomplete triangulation and then it will therefore default to whatever is the last thing in memory, which may be china or new york or anywhere close to you and you'll just see it sail away and this is a real common among beginners I can't tell you how many people they learn everything about the craft they follow the instructions they get a little bit of confident and they turn everything on and they forget toe wait for that satellite lock and it's just so uh appealing to hit the throttle uh takes off and then we've seen this happen all of a sudden it flashes yellow and it starts heading that direction and there are things you learn to recover from that mode which uh we won't go into now but it's something you don't even have to know if you're if you're careful and if you never take off without a satellite lock and that's what we do to this day we always remind each other and ask how many satellites do you have do you have lock and unless you're inside when you'll never get a lock uh that's ah first rule of flying most definitely most definitely but we'd love to see some more flying if you could talk us through that on remind us remind us again what your flying over there I need to do a compass calibration alright hey this this is a good offer this learning opportunity can you do that inside I'll bring him I'm actually probably going quickly marking go quickly outside and okay uh do we have a camera that can follow mark because he's going to take this outside the outside of the pavilion here so we could do a compass calibration you want to talk through the process you would try to do it here I go outside just so we have a good lock okay, so the compass calibration is so you have gps but you also have a compass on on one of the legs off the machines and so you kind of give have to give that little guy a ny idea off where north is and south is so there's a a uh set we call it the dance of the compass stands that you have to do and you get into the motors there kicked in so you give it some input here that okay, we're gonna go into compass calibration mode and then mark is doing the dance going around and then he's going to tilt it and is going to go around again if he does it so gracefully you should be on dancing with the stars now that's about the drones there's a new show all right? Is it locked or do I need to do it again? Yeah, it should be locked but the problem is we're not gonna have any kind of talking here. Here we go so you won't fly here we're not fine just just bring it, bring it, bring it over there where we took it off I have to do that with all of the copters are just in certain scenarios the ones that take this type of um uh electro magnetic compass only only those some copters don't need to do that miguel l likes the compass dance yeah um so I said I still have some issues from that there's so much interference inside here from all the equipment and all the computers so in order for us not to crash, we're just not it's going to fly safely that's probably what on that's what folks we're also asking online about wifi interference yeah, we have a lot of with all the equipment and everything so we're not gonna push the needle as much fun as it would be, but we have also people in here so we don't want to damage anything I would I would love to take just a couple of beige shirt of questions from the beginning segment and if we have any in the studio audience if you want to grab a mike uh that would be great, so go ahead you know I have a question you said the third party quick releases were you thought they were a really good idea. So what are their disadvantages to having the guards on other than I'm assuming wait in space? Well, the only advantage haven't guard on it's to protect the props or protect the protect the people and equipment there you around if people are fearful of them um and you but you have to do an event like I know there's been times flying in flying inside, uh, flying in and outside or flying in big warehouse area or something and there's like pipes and wires and stuff like that or sheldon's always have guards on well, because it is that all always having two guards on because it is a weight issue and also it kind of works like a sail. You have the guards on these things, there's any wind it's just got pick it up, who I want to, I think you become very weight conscious and actually most of the cases that we carry, I won't let you put it in with the guards on now you can get some cases, but you've got about thirty percent bigger, uh, luggage and you no longer have a carry on, you know, and the phantom that just hit the ceiling and fell down. The props are perfectly fine, which you'll find it's extremely hard to damage a prop they're cheap, they're easy to carry spares, so the advantages of a proper guard are as stated, but the rial utility is relatively limited in terms of once your experience and you fly the likelihood of the proper guard giving you any protection. That's goingto make a difference is small, but we will have people who feel much more comfortable sienna prop guard on a copter and so definitely yeah, you want to do that for that instance, but I would say eighty to ninety percent of people that I know deliberately take off their prop guards and on lee using my special occasions I just keep him with me in case I have to put him on I don't fly with them on much at all anymore all right jeff we have several questions about batteries so if we could take a couple rapid fire so we can do okay rob j if the lipo are in an airtight container do they generate their own oxygen does the ammo box need to be vented? Will it explode if it's not vented no, they're sealed and uh an airtight actually one of the things that you look for for a damaged battery is a puffin or an expansion of the lithium polymer batteries and when you see that there's a buildup of ah of a reaction and that battery needs to be disposed off so a normal battery that is conformed a shape hasn't been dropped from a height uh is of no problem and you know we fly with them all the time on airlines we pack him in uh and you know any any container it's not necessary to worry about vapor or gas is right but the flammability issue is is in the and the likelihood of the battery being struck or cut or punctured is what you want worried alright so again for platform for being on planes and traveling with them check in or carry on the standard and this has actually been studied a great deal, the consensus is that you're supposed to take your batteries on your kin, your carrier and that's what we generally do, and I bet we've flown a hundred times and we have never been prevented the most that happens is occasionally, and for some reason, they always do it to romeo on is probably because of his his appearance as a terror. The accent? Yeah, actually, I didn't. Why would I want to get get ethnic on your own meal? But they're always getting his betters out and swab in him with me. They just say I go through and but in any event, we've never been stopped or or more than a cursory question, I have packed batteries in my carryon luggage, and as I say, the consensus is, I mean, in my, uh, checked baggage, the consensus is that you should put him in carry on. I've flown at least two dozen times with some batteries in a checked baggage, and I always put them in a asbestos bag, and I put a note on it that says, uh, to the to say these were lithium polymer batteries, they're protected from grounding, they've been packed in a bag in case one of the guys you know, respecting the luggage season wonders what it is, I've never had an issue, um probably because of regulations you should take it carry on, but I will admit to taking some big batteries in check luggage when it's necessary and I wanted to make sure if something happened at the at the conveyor belt in the in the terminal that I had some batteries when I get to the location, I've never had a battery taken or prevented from flying, okay? Great ah, and then battery drainage so corey see had asked, is it safe to dream a battery down to ten percent when flying? Or were you suggest landing it with twenty percent more in the battery? You know, this is an interesting point that also is debated to a certain extent and the way most of us operate with the batteries that all of these machines years is with the theory that you go down until you're no no less than no more than know no less than twenty percent of the, uh, capacity left. So you fly your battery to twenty percent some people goto twenty five some people even get real conservative and go to thirty you on ultra conservative, you know, I tend to go toe to toe twenty or twenty five because they've done a lot of studies, and the only risk of draining your battery low is the useful life of your battery and the people who have flown aggressively and there are a number of them out there who go down to fifteen percent um have had excellent life without with maybe ten percent lessening of the battery life according to what has been reported so depending on what your ah philosophy is of being aggressive with battery life I would say you know below twenty you're asking for trouble but not necessarily not mainly because of the life of your battery. The main thing is that when you look at a battery drain when it has twenty percent is like a hockey stick so when you go below twenty percent you are really flirting with becoming a paperweight quickly and the times that we have lost uh aircraft have largely been because we wanted that last shot and we think you know what we're down to fifteen percent we can get it and we guessed wrong and when that thing overpowers the battery it just it just drops and uh and you have no you have no ability to retain it so when you fly I recommend never going below twenty thirty is really conservative but certainly that will protect you if you do that now when you bring your batteries home and you want to storm the best way to get life for your battery is to use a charger that will bring the battery up to between thirty and fifty percent and that is where the optimum storage percentages and then I put my batteries in the fridge aerator, because it's been shown that you can get up to twenty percent longer, useful life if your batteries are stored. Cool. So if you think I'm going back to like the days of canisters of film now, exactly that's actually, an apt analogy.

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.