Just had an interesting thought about drones . . . (I think)

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
I've noticed that those who shoot time lapse often use sliders or dollies or other camera-movement platforms to provide additional visual interest to TL sequences: IE, the camera moves during the time lapse.

If it were stable enough and programmable enough and had sufficient flight duration, a drone could potentially be a pretty neat platform for time lapse photography.

Any drone users out there with words of wisdom?

Cheers, Jock
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
The biggest issue is flight duration. The best drone right now that I can think of is 45 minutes flight time. The most accessible higher end ones are about 20-25 minutes.

Drones can be programmed to fly a specific pattern automatically, so running things in a repeatable fashion is definitely doable. They even have programs that allow for time lapse and panorama stitching (Litchi).

All that being said, the bread and butter of a drone is the video component. I just flew my DJI Phantom 3 Standard with a group of friends yesterday. Here is some footage for you to enjoy! :D
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
The biggest issue is flight duration. The best drone right now that I can think of is 45 minutes flight time. The most accessible higher end ones are about 20-25 minutes.

Drones can be programmed to fly a specific pattern automatically, so running things in a repeatable fashion is definitely doable. They even have programs that allow for time lapse and panorama stitching (Litchi).

All that being said, the bread and butter of a drone is the video component. I just flew my DJI Phantom 3 Standard with a group of friends yesterday. Here is some footage for you to enjoy! :D
Man,

I have a bunch of questions:

Is that an integral camera or an add-on?

Will it shoot stills?

Will it shoot time lapse?

How do you view what the camera is seeing?

Is it a pain to learn to fly it? (A lot of the drone advice I have read says "Be sure to buy lots of extra propellers, and spare parts, etc. -- the implication being that you are going to crash a lot.)

What was your path to getting involved with this drone?

Cheers, Jock
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
I have an old multi-rotor gathering dust in my workshop. I scratch built it from cheap Chinese parts years ago. It flew, but had no heading or altitude hold, or RTH. I never tried to loft anything bigger than a cheapie keychain camera on it. It was to a DJI Phantom as a Casio Exilim is to an X-Pro 2: it was primitive and functional, and that was about the extent of it. I never tried to go any further with multi-rotors because I felt I needed to prioritize how I was going to spend my money . . . guitars and camera gear won out.
 

gryphon1911

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
Bring the questions!! :)

On this particular model, the camera is integrated. $500 gets you the drone 1080p video and 12 mp stills camera.

Time lapse is based on the app. The official app that comes with it does not do time lapse, however the third party Litchi app does for an extra $25.

The drone syncs with an iOS or Android device. You get FPV with that device. You can also buy an FPV headset if you want. This allows you to control the camera view from the VR headset and the drive from the controller.

The DJI drones are made to be flown easily. The point is to give you a good experience. If you fly responsibly, your device will give you many years of use. There are accidents and it is possible for the drone to have an issue and "fly away". However, with few exceptions most fly aways can be avoided through proper education and practice.

The "extras" I would recommend are saving and buying extra batteries. DO NOT TRY AND SAVE MONEY AND BUY THEM FROM AN UNKNOWN SELLER. These are high capacity Lithium batteries and have been known to catch fire when misused, damaged or not properly assembled. 25 minutes sounds like a lot of time until you are actually out there flying. If it's cold, battery life suffers, if you are piloting in high winds, battery life suffers, if you have a long distance from launch location to recording location, you'll want those extra batteries. I have 2 and I want 2 more, minimum.

A big issue is charging in the field. Juice packs are not going to cut it and it can take up to 2 hours to charge a battery.

I started out with smaller drones, like $50 ones. I crashed those a lot, but they do not have any where near the automation the DJI has.

Went with the DJI because of availability and reputation. They are sold with lots of support.

I'm close to being ready to take my airman's certification test, hopefully within the next few weeks.
 
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