Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

10 hard-learned newbie lessons

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by RussA, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. RussA

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, California
    I'm a newbie with a Phantom 1 and SJ1000 camera (no FPV). I still have a great deal to learn, but I can share what I have learned with other newbies. These may not all apply to other models of Phantom or camera.

    Here are 10 things I've learned in my first three video flights:

    1. Pick an open area to fly when first learning. It's easy to hit a tree, building, bush, etc. when you're new on the controls.
    2. Pick an area with grass or other soft landing material as you may have to set it down hard.
    3. The angle of the camera is important. If you want high aerial shots, angle it down. You'll have to experiment to get comfortable with what you want. If you want shots from just above head level or so, the camera should be pointed straight forward or nearly so; otherwise you'll get video of lots of grass and legs. That's what most of my footage is so far.
    4. Make sure the camera is securely fastened. My SJ1000's hard-shell waterproof case can't be used with the Phantom so it's just strapped in the mount with Velcro. It's come out several times when I didn't strap it in, or didn't tighten the strap enough. I'm lucky it still works.
    5. Wait for the 6 GPS satellites to lock in before taking off! Today I was so anxious to get flying and shooting that I forgot to wait. I was not looking at the flashing light in back, only the camera in front. When the Phantom took off, it started heading for the last GPS home location in its memory - which was about two miles away. I had to crash it down quick. I thought the motors wouldn't start until it has a lock if it's in GPS mode, but that is not true.
    6. Go slow but don't hover. The video is much smoother and clearer if you are moving very slowly. Hovering is OK if you can hold it steady (not always easy in a breeze) or if there is action going on in front of the camera, but static video of treetops or fields is boring.
    7. Pan slowly. This could be included in 6, but really it's a different problem. The Phantom is so maneuverable that it is easy to just whip it around 180 or 360 degrees. The resulting video will be a jerky, tilted blur. A nice slow, panoramic pan can be very dramatic.
    8. Try not to use roll except as necessary to position the Phantom. Moving left or right causes the Phantom and picture to tilt and that video footage is probably unusable. This seems not to be so much of a problem with the pitch, although it can cause the desired subject to leave the frame.
    9. Make sure the camera is running before taking off. I haven't taken off when it wasn't, but several times I wasn't sure and had to take the camera out of the holder to be positive.
    10. Don't try to get too fancy with your flying at first, especially around other people or their property. If you buzz or even crash into others, their cars, dogs, roses, etc. you are going to end up getting banned or getting all quadcopters banned from the area. No, I haven't done this yet, but I came close once.
     
  2. horne47789

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good points there. I'd also add the following:

    1) Secure the battery hatch properly! Otherwise the battery can slide out unexpectedly and cause you to crash. (Speaking from experience)
    2) Make sure the battery is fully charged before takeoff. It's easy to mix up batteries and end up far out with a battery warning and no way to get the copter home - so if you're lucky it will set down somewhere safely.
    3) Avoid windy conditions - it's always windier up high than on the ground so watch for telltale signs of a copter that is drifting rapidly away from you. Next thing you know you can't get home and, like #2 you're hoping she sets down safely.
    4) Buy a kit box, or fashion one out of a cardboard box with insets! Handy for keeping all your stuff in without cluttering up somewhere in your house.
    5) FC40 owners - Get a router that will support ddwrt and make a repeater for the wifi. It's easy to do and you'll get 300m video instead of the 100 that is typical.
     
  3. Nate0624

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi There, Any good youtube videos you can point to that discuss this further?

    thanks.
     
  4. Boozshey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    1
    Get a gimbal and roll won't be a problem
     
  5. horne47789

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0

    There's a YouTube video that features updating a repeater, but I found that one wasn't easily available here in Ireland.

    However, many standard routers which you might have in the house from previous broadband packages, will support ddwrt. Personally, I have used both Linksys WRT and Buffalo routers and they are great. The ddwrt site includes a search tool to identify if any given router is supported.

    After flashing the ram from ddwrt onto the router (a simple firmware update) you can then configure the settings to match your camera. The instructions on the post under FC40 about extending the wifi range (viewtopic.php?f=20&t=6866) at the very end are perfect and worked immediately for me.