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Drone Piloting

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Paingod
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Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:37 pm

Over the weekend I took a class through DartDrones on piloting, and am now researching which drone I'd like to buy and am leaning towards the Mavic Pro 2. It was a lot of fun to pilot the test drones at the class. I'd need something portable - like stuffed in a backpack - so it rules out a lot of the bigger or more advanced drones. Apparently there's a whole selection of contract work options and other things you can do with this, but I'm not going commercial right away and plan to get used to my drone before I think more about that.

Are there any drone pilots here? If so, what are your experiences with beginner drones - and what would you recommend/avoid if you could do it all over again?
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Daehawk » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:43 pm

Cant help a bit. Back late last year I joined the Intel Coders thing to win a drone and I did. It didn't arrive until late Dec and I recall. Me and my wife were excited about it. I remember showing it to her. But just a few days later she had the stroke then died Jan 3. Ive not touched it. One day maybe...but I just dont know.
https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-di ... -wife-died ....Help for me to take care of stuff . Wife died Jan 3 2019 after 31 years. My soulmate.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:48 pm

Daehawk wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:43 pm
Intel Coders thing to win a drone and I did
If that's an Intel Aero Drone, you might be sitting on a $1,000+ drone kit. I know money is tight for you, and something like that might help if you could bring yourself to part with it.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Daehawk » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:04 pm

They're only $100 here...or were when I looked
https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-di ... -wife-died ....Help for me to take care of stuff . Wife died Jan 3 2019 after 31 years. My soulmate.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:09 pm

I suppose it would depend on what the actual model was. I was taking a stab in the dark just based on "Intel Drone"
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Daehawk » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:57 pm

I was right..it was delivered 11 days before Donna had to go to the hospital :(

January 17, 2019 at 11:00 am

I showed it to her. I remember being excited. She didn't know much about drones but was happy Id won and that I was excited. Sigh.

Anyways its a DJI Tello drone.
https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-di ... -wife-died ....Help for me to take care of stuff . Wife died Jan 3 2019 after 31 years. My soulmate.
---------------------------------------------
I am Dyslexic of Borg, prepare to have your ass laminated.
GroovAtroN, stop asking
I guess Ray Butts has ate his last pancake.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:59 pm

$100 drone, you could probably sell it easily for $80 if it hasn't been opened.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by geezer » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:35 pm

Paingod wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:37 pm
Over the weekend I took a class through DartDrones on piloting, and am now researching which drone I'd like to buy and am leaning towards the Mavic Pro 2. It was a lot of fun to pilot the test drones at the class. I'd need something portable - like stuffed in a backpack - so it rules out a lot of the bigger or more advanced drones. Apparently there's a whole selection of contract work options and other things you can do with this, but I'm not going commercial right away and plan to get used to my drone before I think more about that.

Are there any drone pilots here? If so, what are your experiences with beginner drones - and what would you recommend/avoid if you could do it all over again?
Right now I have a DJI Phantom Pro 3 that I'll shortly be upgrading to the Mavic 2 Pro for exactly the same reason you are looking at it - portability. I can throw it in my camera bag with the rest of my gear and be totally covered for anything I need.

Also, I wouldn't consider the Mavic Pro 2 a "beginner" drone at all. Above that you're pretty much getting into the full commercial setups that can carry a micro 4/3 camera and above (like the Inspire series), and those are overkill for anything short of professional film productions. The Phantom Pro 4 has a few areas were it's better (photo stills may be marginally better, a you get more video resolution), and a few where it's worse (most of the flight controls/presets). Other brands... no idea. Drone stuff isn't my primary area of imaging so I just went with what felt like the most ubiquitous company with the widest support and user base.

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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:39 pm

geezer wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:35 pm
Right now I have a DJI Phantom Pro 3 that I'll shortly be upgrading to the Mavic 2 Pro for exactly the same reason you are looking at it - portability.
A friend of mine had a Magic Pro 2 that he takes fishing up in Michigan. He has gotten some amazing footage and he says it doesn't hinder him at all (he usually solo hikes to fishing spots).
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by geezer » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:17 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:39 pm
geezer wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:35 pm
Right now I have a DJI Phantom Pro 3 that I'll shortly be upgrading to the Mavic 2 Pro for exactly the same reason you are looking at it - portability.
A friend of mine had a Magic Pro 2 that he takes fishing up in Michigan. He has gotten some amazing footage and he says it doesn't hinder him at all (he usually solo hikes to fishing spots).
That exactly my hope - good to hear that it's working for him. Since I'm usually out shooting alone or traveling to the location, (far from home in either case), I'm also upgrading all my stills equipment right now for maximum portability. In an ideal world I'll be able to have two (maybe 3) pro-quality bodies plus a drone PLUS lighting in one bag. It sounds impossible, but I think it can be done. I'm actually sort of amazed at how small quality photo equipment has gotten, and how minor the differences are in final resulting images.

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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:36 pm

geezer wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:17 pm
LawBeefaroni wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:39 pm
geezer wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:35 pm
Right now I have a DJI Phantom Pro 3 that I'll shortly be upgrading to the Mavic 2 Pro for exactly the same reason you are looking at it - portability.
A friend of mine had a Magic Pro 2 that he takes fishing up in Michigan. He has gotten some amazing footage and he says it doesn't hinder him at all (he usually solo hikes to fishing spots).
That exactly my hope - good to hear that it's working for him. Since I'm usually out shooting alone or traveling to the location, (far from home in either case), I'm also upgrading all my stills equipment right now for maximum portability. In an ideal world I'll be able to have two (maybe 3) pro-quality bodies plus a drone PLUS lighting in one bag. It sounds impossible, but I think it can be done. I'm actually sort of amazed at how small quality photo equipment has gotten, and how minor the differences are in final resulting images.
Pardon my typos, whoops.



Yeah, he'll usually go out with fly fishing gear, a rifle and/or bear spray if it's bear country, and the drone and one body and lens. I haven't gone fishing with him since he got the drone last year but probably will this year. I wouldn't say we're usually loaded down I assume it's very portable if it makes the trip. His big issue was charging solutions and how many backups to buy/bring.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Z-Corn » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:01 pm

Try shooting a PM to soup, he does beautiful pro photography with a drone. Follow his Instagram to see it.

Now that I look he hasn't been on in a while. Follow his Insta anyway!

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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:20 am

This may become something commercial for me after I get comfortable with being an actual pilot and all the stuff around it. I've been reading about people who do this on the side and it can become a career, but there's such a saturated amateur market that you shouldn't rely on that and will need to find a niche to succeed at anything other than infrequent gigs.

After going over the options with my wife, we opted to get the Mavic 2 Zoom. The camera isn't as delicious as the one on the Mavic Pro 2 - but it has some nice photography options and isn't a bad camera by any measure - it's just not as advanced.

I know it probably seems absurd to jump in and grab a $1,200 drone as a beginner item - but I'm more than willing to be patient with it and have some small amount of flight time with it's DJI brothers - the Phantom and Inspire. I found the controls intuitive enough, and the software robust enough, that I have a reasonable confidence I won't just smash it on a pile of rocks in the first three outings. I'm planning to use and explore the slower modes, like Tripod Shooting and Beginner Mode, before ever trying any zoomzoom with it. This is not a toy to me, but a tool.

This isn't me, but it looks like it takes the kind of skill I'd like to develop.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:40 am

As an interesting aside, I'm running into conflicting data on a couple of points.
  • During our class, the instructor drilled repeatedly about how the drone will just fly off to its last Home point if you don't set it or give it a chance to orient itself and auto-set the Home location before lifting off. Basically - when you press "Return to Home" the drone just goes away from you, and is lost forever. Some people online seem to agree with this and repeat it, others disagree with it - all on the same model of drone and same software. I'm still compiling data on this.
  • One guy, admittedly taking great footage, said using just your thumbs to control your drone was "Wrong wrong wrong" and went on at length about how you should take advantage of your better fine control and dexterity by pinching the controller knobs and moving them with two fingers instead of one. I'm pretty sure this comes down to preference and muscle memory. As someone who's played a lot of console games in the past, thumbs on the sticks is a natural feel and trying to pinch the knobs while holding the controller with three fingers from each hand feels unnatural. When I watch videos of people flying drones competitively, maybe 70% of the pilots were pinching instead of thumbing.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:20 am

I have to admit that flying my own drone was leagues cooler than I thought it would be. There's an odd sensation of exhilaration. I'm not sure if it's the concept of having something that costs over $1,000 flying overhead and over trees - and the risk of losing it - or if it's just that much fun. Maybe both.

I'm going to try and piece together the video segments I recorded over the weekend and see if I can make anything useful out of it.
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Re: Drone Piloting

Post by Paingod » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:09 am

We went camping over the weekend and the weather Sunday was supposed to be perfect. I figured it would be a great opportunity to get some wilderness shots with my drone. I woke up with the sun, packed up my gear, and headed down to the nearby lake to get some footage of the dawn haze before the sun burned it away. Battery charged, light filter on the camera, props secure. Everything double-checked. I planned to fly over water and didn't want a prop to shake loose or the battery to disconnect while I was out there. It hasn't happened yet, but it'd be a complete loss of the drone if it did.

Down by the shore, I hand-launched my drone. I did a few quick flight tests to make sure everything was in order and took off over the water with my camera rolling. I flew out over the water and quickly lost sight of the drone in the murky dawn light. I didn't think that was a big deal - I still had a good signal and could see what the camera saw, and I could see the whole area and knew there were no obstructions, animals, or people around to worry about. I kept glancing up to ensure the airspace was clear, but mostly kept my attention on the camera.

It didn't take me long to decide that I wanted to do a nice, long, descending fly-by of where I was standing with the drone virtually skimming the lake's surface. I came in nice and slow, but fast - maybe 25mph. I suddenly lost signal with the drone. Confused, I pulled up on the stick to try and get it to show me where it was. I still didn't see it and started a banking move based on the GPS I was seeing on the controller. Controls looked fine, but I wasn't getting a camera feed. I finally hear it buzzing into view.

"Why is it dripping?" one of my kids asked. "It's not" I replied ... "oh, yes, it is" I quickly followed up as I saw two drops of water fall off it.

AbortABORT! my mind screamed. I flew the drone straight to me and reached out to grab it. It was dripping. Everything was wet. WTF? It didn't jump from my hand like it should have, and I brought it down immediately. Shutting it off and popping out the battery, I noted that the entire thing was wet, except the props and tiny motors that spin them. I rushed it back to the cabin to do a little triage, but all I had were paper towels. I did my best to dry the surface and any exposed cracks, and then gently packed it up.

I reviewed the footage when we got home to discover that the manufacturer's warning about sensors not being able to "see" monochrome or mirrored surfaces was spot-on. That poor little drone let me fly it in a nice steady line right into the water. The height indicator showed that I went to -16 feet from launch - which is pretty low down for a 6'1" guy standing on an elevated shoreline as the starting point - if I had been watching that closer instead of the camera, I would have avoided contact with the water.

Even re-watching the footage, I couldn't tell how close I was visually - black mirrored glass doesn't give much sense of where you are as you approach it. My footage simply cut off when the water suddenly had a sense of depth and it doesn't show the moment of impact. The drone's flight recorder shows nothing unusual except a quick gimbal correction when the camera suddenly had to compensate for being dragged through the water. Camera footage started rolling again 30 seconds later and it records my confused and concerned face as I bring it in for a landing.

I have absolutely no idea how I didn't lose the thing in the lake except pure BS luck. By all rights, it should be sitting about 20 yards off-shore in 30 feet of black water, lost forever until someone accidentally snags it with a fishing line.

Right now the drone is resting comfortably in a bed of desiccants and I'm not going to try turning it back on for a few days. Hopefully the water will dry out completely and the drone will be back to normal. I'm expecting, though, that I'll have to at least send it off for a new camera. I doubt that particular component is very resilient.

TL;DR: I tried to drown my drone yesterday, but it decided against that.
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