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Flying for real estate photography

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cloudbuster, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. cloudbuster

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    Total rookie here in Texas. Just pulling my Phantom 2 out the box, and already, questions arise. Maybe you experienced pilots can help.

    Question 1: Regarding flight time and battery life ... Do you confirm (or refute) the manufacturer's advertised flight time for the Phantom 2? What is your practical field experience?

    (2.) For shooting aerial footage and stills of ranch real estate, sporting events and such, I likely will need 20-30 minutes in the air. Maybe more. Will one extra battery suffice?

    (3.) Any Phantom pilots out there shooting video with GoPro 3+? If so, based on my needs as posted above, how much memory do I need for the camera?

    Thanks in advance for sharing.
     
  2. PhantomNoob

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    Location:
    New Braunfels, Texas
    I can't tell you, you may be my competition! <--- Real Estate agent in Texas LOL All kidding aside, I'm getting about 17 mins of safe flight, as I don't push it to the extreme. I have one extra battery, and so far, I've been able to complete all my projects. As for memory.... speed! I suggest the Lexar 600 or 633X. 32gigabyte is more than enough to shoot all you can edit.
     
  3. cloudbuster

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    Seriously doubt this newbie represents competition for ANY one, especially my neighbors in your area.

    I live and work in the Permian Basin ... +/- 300 miles from you. Once I get started, I foresee most of my flights will take place in West Texas -- so long as the wind will allow. No threat from me.

    Thanks for your input. And all the best with your aerial photography.
     
  4. azsean

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    You hit that one on the head!!! Wind in west Texas?!?! Never. I lived on Amarillo for a year and while I actually really liked it there, the wind seemed ever present. Now I'm back in AZ and it is the exact opposite.

    Just wanted to chime in because I just ordered a P2 with the 3D for luxury vids and also vacant lots for development. Would love to hear how it goes for you. I've been researching a lot of sites to learn more about how to take better aerial footage.
     
  5. cloudbuster

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    In AZ, your path reads exactly like mine so far. Bought the GoPro camera just today. It's still in the box, so you know I have miles and miles to go before I am proficient.

    The bird has been ordered; it's on the way next week, so I'm told. That's when I plan to start terrorizing all the neighborhood cats.

    Already the startup is more expensive than I thought. Even so, I will post any news worthy of attention. Hope you folks will do the same.
     
  6. bpatty

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    Good Morning from Abilene!

    Bite the bullet and buy at least one extra battery. (2 if you can afford it.) PLUS some sort of GPS tracker to place ON the Phantom. I lost my first Phantom 2 because of my piloting error! If I had purchased a tracker I would still have it. Also, You will need some sort of FPV system of your choice in order to be efficient with your videoing and photo shooting. Especially if you are doing it for real estate or better yet all of those oil wells/fields that are all over the Permian Basin. I'm sure those oil companies would LOVE to have some good aerial shots of their investments hanging up on a wall somewhere.

    Basically, If you set up a First Person View system, then you can see what the GoPro is seeing and you can get your camera angle correct as well as your alignment in front of or over your target area. You won't be wasting time and footage. It will take some practice time to get use to it and there IS a "hidden" danger. By looking at your video monitor or your cell phone screen, you may lose track of where your phantom is actually located in the sky. (visual orientation) It becomes a problem if you are fairly high up and your video screen begins to fade in and out or lost completely. That's where I made my stupid pilot error and lost mine. Learned a valuable lesson. Be sure to locate your Phantom often just to be sure when you are using FPV, or have a flying buddy along to spot for you.

    It would help if you could also purchase some sort of car plug in battery charger/ or rather any car charger that has a 110 outlet. You could be charging one battery while flying on your other one. Problem is it takes a while for one of those chargers to fully recharge a battery. My usual flight time is 15 minutes, LESS if it's pretty windy because the wind will take more battery power to remain stable in GPS mode. (Any wind out there in West Texas?? ha ha) That will give me a little extra flight time window to bring it down and make any landing spot changes. Just remember.. Phantoms don't have a glide angle !! I purchased a cheap little timer to have with me to count down from 15 minutes and then an alarm goes off to remind me to bring her down.. I actually start down at around 12 minutes to avoid any problems.

    Hope these little bits of advice help you out some. The main thing is to just not become overconfident. "I've Got This" kind of a feeling.. That's when problems arise.. Always be a little fearful that something might go wrong and be aware of your Phantoms systems. Glad to pass on a little info that I learned the hard way. Good Luck out there.. BPATTY
     
  7. timtim2008

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  8. derrickduff

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    Slightly different geography for me (Charleston, SC) but I'm doing the same here.

    1. I'm around 15 minutes each battery. I have the iOSD mini (highly recommend). I start bringing it down when it reaches 30%.

    2. Most houses I can do in one battery however I use two to make sure I get enough shots for the video. I'd rather have too much usable footage than too little.

    For events you'll want/need more than two batteries. Even with available power it'll be difficult to keep one battery ready to go. If events are going to be a regular thing I'd have at least four batteries with two chargers.

    3. 16gb is good but spend a few more bucks for a 32gb.

    Fly safe and good luck!
     
  9. Suwaneeguy

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    I run my P2 with a gopro 3+ black.
    Getting about 20 mins with one battery.
    64g memory card gives about 3 hours of recording time.
     
  10. bpatty

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  11. cloudbuster

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    Appreciate your comments regarding aerial photography in real estate and oil/gas.

    Per your recommendation, I bought an extra battery and am learning to use the Black Pearl Fly Sight, which enables the pilot to see what the GoPro "sees" in real time. Or so I am told. Emphasis on the "learning." I'm still groping my way through this.

    Hate to hear that BPatty lost a bird. That prospect makes me exceedingly nervous. As for getting overconfident, I'm a long ways from that stage. While flying, I watch my bird like a ... well, a hawk. {Sorry, that was just too, too obvious.}

    Right now, I fly the bird without a tagging device or I.D. This, you say, is a bad move -- one that I plan to rectify. I wonder which form of identification would be best to tack on the Phantom. Has anyone out there conducted research as to what is available? Tips?

    Thanks to all for your input.
     
  12. bpatty

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    As far as "tagging" your phantom, placing a "sticker" of some sort onto the craft with "Reward" or "If Found", then adding your phone # is the cheapest way. You can buy some premade stickers with your information already printed on it from various sites. I have just purchased some from UAVstickers.com He is in Colorado and is a nice guy to work with. Have also purchased some stickers from a guy in Florida. I'll have to look up his website. The UAV stickers sheet has additional stickers for your transmitter controller (ascend/descend/roll right-left/yaw right-left and so on) and you have the opportunity to have a custom sticker for a name for your Phantom that he will print out if you want something on like that on it. (20 characters or less) He also has some Phantom graphic stickers/bands along with sets for the transmitter.

    Do some research and look into buying a GPS tracker sometime to be placed onto your Phantom. I could have found my 1st one with it, and it helped me find my 2nd one when my oldest son got too brave with it and flew it out of sight with a good old West Texas wind blowing and we couldn't bring it back home against the wind. Used my cell phone and called the tracker number. It texted me back a few seconds later with it's GPS coordinates and we found it up against the wall at the Penny's store in the mall parking lot.. Believe mine is the TK105. I attached mine with Velcro along with a zip tie on one of the landing legs.

    Glad to hear that you have an FPV.. Those are great.. Is it with a monitor or goggles? Have heard that with goggles the danger is not being aware of phone lines/poles, trees etc., especially if you are circling around. With monitors it's just not being aware of where the Phantom actually is.

    Good luck with your Phantom. Let us know how things are progressing with it. Take Care bpatty
     
  13. cloudbuster

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    Okay, BPatty, on your advice, I purchased the I.D. stickers from the outfit in Colorado. They should be here in a week.

    More problematic so far, however, is the GPS tracker. My online market research turned up a myriad of styles, priced at +/- $50 to $150.

    As you rightly point out, wind is an issue for pilots in West Texas. Using a cell phone to find a lost bird's coordinates, as you did, is a real plus. So, which unit do you recommend? And will the extra weight hamper my bird's flight performance?

    Thx,
    Cloudbuster :?:
     
  14. bpatty

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    The tracker unit I purchased is the TK 105. I will look up the vendor I purchased it from, but believe it was on Ebay. You will need a sim card for it as well. That is what allows it to receive "calls". You can enter up to 5 different phone numbers for it to text back to/or rather respond to when called from that number. I've got mine, my wife and all 3 kids numbers programmed into it. That allows any one of them to call it and get a location. (In case my phone dies or out of cell phone contact) Course they wouldn't know that until I contacted them. But, if one of them is with me, it's a backup. My son had an extra cell number that wasn't being used, so it didn't cost me any data plans as he had unlimited data on that number. It will also send out an automatic text when the battery is getting low. I learned this the hard way as I started getting texts at 2 & 3 in the morning telling me to charge it !! Needless to say, I'm keeping it charged up for sure!! ha ha

    As far as mounting it, I placed it on top of one of the landing skids up against the "post". I zip tied it to the post, as there is a "loop" on the top of the tracker, then placed Velcro on the bottom of the tracker and the top of the landing skid. So far it's been a tough/strong connection. The tracker does add a little weight, but I haven't had any issues with the motors working overtime to compensate. If you have looked at any of the photos I've posted, I'm up there pretty high on some of them.

    Just curious but are you using any sort of fpv "hub" to route your video through? I finally went to the DJI fpv hub and it's been working like a charm, plus no soldering on anything so far.

    Lastly as a bit of advice. Be gentle when bringing it down. Don't be up there around 100 feet or so and come down fast. I've had a couple of narrow escapes with what I would call "cavitation' with the props. In bringing it down a little fast, I lost control temporarily and it just rocked back and forth a started to drop like a rock. I was able to recover it about 15-20 feet up. Really had a bad feeling something was fixing to happen and be very costly.. I dodged a bullet.. Not sure of the science behind it, but having a fast descent, straight down, is not good aerodynamically evidently. Now going forward and bringing it down may not have the same issues. Just be gentle.. AND pay attention to the battery status. You can be bringing it down gently, but when those back LED's go from green to red, be in a position to land it..

    Hope this helps. Any contact yet with the oil/gas people about doing a shoot of their facilities?
     
  15. cloudbuster

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    Am chuckling over here in God's Own Wind Tunnel. Your first three or four paragraphs (below) will require more study. I am anything but techie, so it startled my two sons that I even dreamed of plunging into the science of aerial photography.

    Am pretty much a raw rookie pilot, so I have zero knowledge of the following: 1. TK 105; 2. loading it with call-back phone numbers; 3. mounting the tracker unit to a "post"; 4. fpv hub. It all seems a foreign language. Seguro que si.

    I did, however, fully grasp your 'graph as to being careful with the bird. Confidence in my flying capabilities remains shallow and fragile. Not without reason. When gusty winds recently made my descent erratic and barely under control, I had a mini-crash in the caliche dust of an oil/gas drilling pad, my first such assignment.

    Cracked a prop but replaced it and otherwise, everything is A-OK.

    Am hopeful of flying a local nature preserve tomorrow, pending the wind velocity. It will be the first time I fly with a properly functioning FlySight monitor, seeing what the camera sees. After that, I must learn to edit video footage and lay down a music bed.

    This newbie is a long, long way from proficiency.

    (signed,)
    Amelia Earhart

    *********
    "The tracker unit I purchased is the TK 105. I will look up the vendor I purchased it from, but believe it was on Ebay. You will need a sim card for it as well. That is what allows it to receive "calls". You can enter up to 5 different phone numbers for it to text back to/or rather respond to when called from that number. I've got mine, my wife and all 3 kids numbers programmed into it. That allows any one of them to call it and get a location. (In case my phone dies or out of cell phone contact) Course they wouldn't know that until I contacted them. But, if one of them is with me, it's a backup. My son had an extra cell number that wasn't being used, so it didn't cost me any data plans as he had unlimited data on that number. It will also send out an automatic text when the battery is getting low. I learned this the hard way as I started getting texts at 2 & 3 in the morning telling me to charge it !! Needless to say, I'm keeping it charged up for sure!! ha ha

    As far as mounting it, I placed it on top of one of the landing skids up against the "post". I zip tied it to the post, as there is a "loop" on the top of the tracker, then placed Velcro on the bottom of the tracker and the top of the landing skid. So far it's been a tough/strong connection. The tracker does add a little weight, but I haven't had any issues with the motors working overtime to compensate. If you have looked at any of the photos I've posted, I'm up there pretty high on some of them.

    Just curious but are you using any sort of fpv "hub" to route your video through? I finally went to the DJI fpv hub and it's been working like a charm, plus no soldering on anything so far."
     
  16. bpatty

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    Dear Amelia !!

    I understand completely. I only started in December and not serious until January. I will take some photos of my Phantom's TK 105 "mount" and post them tomorrow. In the meantime, "Google" the TK 105. It should give you many entries and if you would like to see it, search for it under "Google Images". (or Bing or whatever browser you are familiar with.)

    "Loading" it with numbers.. As far as the TK 105 goes, You can read/follow the directions that come with the unit. I also watched a few videos on YouTube to see how it was done. You first install the sim card and then go through a series of steps to make your cell number the "Administrator", then as Administer, you can enter a few other "authorized" cell numbers. It will accept "calls" only from Authorized numbers.

    "Mounting it to a post". Bad choice of words on my part. What I meant was one of the landing skids. The "upright" part, going straight up and down. I zip-tied it through the "loop" at the top of the TK 105 onto the upright/leg, with the bottom of the TK 105 resting on the horizontal part of the skid. The bottom of the TK being attached with Velcro to the horizontal skid.

    FPV hub.. First Person View -- hub. That is a DJI part that when using it, it allows for the plugging in/connecting of all of the different parts of the video system. All of these various parts can all plug into it with the supplied connectors. Zenmuse Gimbal, video transmitter, Mini iOSD (mini on screen display.. This acts like a heads up display in fighter planes.. displaying the number of satellites acquired, height, distance, battery strength, heading, roll, yaw, etc.) and the GoPro camera. Its easier to connect some things if you are using the Zenmuse H3-3D rather than the H3-2D, but it does simplify connections using either one.

    Good Luck tomorrow at the nature preserve.. Just don't stay locked onto your monitor. Keep eye contact with it, in what they say is "Situational Awareness".. Take Care (signed) Wrong Way Corrigan !!
     
  17. EliasD

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    Location:
    DelMarVa peninsula somewhere in the beanfields
    You got hit with Vortex Ring State, or some here call it VRS. Not good for helios or our quads.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_ring_state

    It is suggested by others to go slightly horizontal when bring it down, I have come straight down in no wind but I came slow & watch it barely start to rock so I backed off on bringing it down & slid it to the side then brought it down as I slowly slid to the sides as I had to watch the trees nearby. I live in a large tract of woods next to fields & was on the edge of the woods.

    Course it sounds like you don't really have that tree issue as much in some areas of Texas. :lol:
     
  18. RodgerB

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    Nice shots. Using any kind of filter? Photoshop? It is disappointing that there is no filter holder for the Vision + 2! One can't create great photos without a filter! Whether it be a Skylight, UV, or a Polarizer.
     
  19. fastsmiles

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    I am flying and shooting here in the Metroplex. I agree, you definitely need to be able to see what your camera sees. The Texas sun makes it hard to see any video screen. Plan on some type of sunshade to screen your video display.
     
  20. cloudbuster

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    This little thread seems to be organic, which as a mullet newbie I appreciate.

    While you continue to fly in free air space and I learn left from right, up from down, I hope you will continue to provide input.

    As a total rookie, I gain by your practical field field experience.

    I fly tomorrow, with hopes of capturing footage of the Mississippi kite in flight, along with a up-close aerial shots of a mallard hen and her five ducklings.

    Lower your expectations and stand by.