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Hello and First Flight Report

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by jadebox, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. jadebox

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    Hello! I'm new to this forum and to flying radio controlled aircraft.

    I enjoy building and flying rockets as well as taking photos and videos at rocket launches. I just bought a Phantom 2 Vision because I think it'll be a lot of fun for capturing "crane shots" and close-ups of the rockets. Our safety code requires us to be up to 2500 feet away from some of the larger rockets at lift-off. With the Phantom 2, I should be able to move the camera in much closer and get some unique angles in the shots. Even photos of small model rockets launching will benefit because I'll be able to do shots from above and from behind the launch pads looking towards the people launching the rockets.

    I received the Phantom 2 yesterday. Last night I prepped it and updated the firmware. My transmitter is one of the ones you have to open to get to the USB plug. I was careful, but it still popped open suddenly, sending the screws flying. Fortunately, it didn't come apart enough to pull on the antenna wire. The wire looks a little longer than in some of the photos I've seen and it is hot-glued to the case in a few places. So, I think some changes were made to protect it after the early reports of people accidentally pulling it out when opening the case.

    Other than scrambling to find the screws, everything went smoothly. After everything was ready, I re-watched several videos on how to calibrate the compass and fly the PV.

    This morning, the weather was very nice. Warm, not too hot. Partly cloudy. And, best of all, there was almost no wind. My understanding, and slightly amused wife, Bracha, and I took the PV to the school yard across the street from our neighborhood.

    Bracha flipped the controller switch to put the PV in calibration mode then I did the compass dance, contributing once again to the amusement of my wife.

    I took charge of the remote controller, pulled both sticks down and to the center and the PV started up. I pushed the left stick up and it slowly rose into the air. Woo hoo!

    I found it really easy to fly. Following the recommendation in the tutorial video, I kept the PV pointed in the same direction I was looking until I realized that Bracha and I weren't showing up in the photos and video. So, I rotated the PV towards us and flew it forward. I've never flown a radio controlled aircraft, but, of course, I've controlled R/C cars and toys before. So, the change in the orientation of the controls wasn't confusing. And, because I wasn't trying to fly quickly, there was plenty of time to react if the helicopter went a different way than I desired.

    With the PV and its camera pointing towards us, I realized that it was facing our neighborhood and home. So, I pushed up the throttle to get it higher. I stopped when it appeared to be really high. I looked at the altitude on the phone's display - 123 feet. Okay, so it wasn't as high as I thought. I took it up another 100 feet then took some photos of the school and our neighborhood across the street.


    [​IMG]

    I used Photoshop's Adaptive Lens Filter to fix the fisheye effect on the photo above. The distortion from the wide angle lens makes me nauseous when I watch the videos. So, I'll probably set the camera to a different mode and apply some filters in Premiere to fix the video.

    I was nervous before the first flight - not out of fear that something might go wrong, but for fear of being disappointed. Twelve-hundred dollars is a lot of money for a toy, so I was hoping the PV would live up to my expectations. So, far is certainly has. It was fun and easy to fly - Bracha even took the controls for a few minutes. The quality of the photos and videos is fine for what I want to use them for. And it was fun. I know I already said that, but it's the most important thing!

    -- Roger
     
  2. Pull_Up

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    Welcome, Roger, and well done - great write up! The fun starts here. :)

    After a bit of practice I expect some launch videos from your Vision along the lines of this:

    http://youtu.be/9ZDkItO-0a4

    :cool:
     
  3. jadebox

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    Well, I suspect that SpaceX spent more on their 'copter and rocket than I have, but I'll try. :)

    -- Roger
     
  4. jadebox

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  5. jadebox

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    I took the quadcopter to our local rocket launch yesterday. As expected, it attracted some attention. But, it wasn't a distraction which is good.

    I found it challenging to capture stills of the rockets in flight even with the camera set to capture five frames at a time. But, I got a few nice photos including the following one.

    [​IMG]

    I used Adobe Premiere's "Warp" function to stabilize each video then used them to create an SD format video. Producing the video in SD allowed me to crop and scale to avoid the "fisheye" effect and I could zoom in on specific areas. I'm pretty happy with the result.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzWjgnOthY4[/youtube]

    Next weekend, I'm attending a high-power rocket launch where the rockets are much larger. The larger rockets and motors should be easier to photograph. Should be fun!

    -- Roger
     
  6. iDrone

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    Nice video jadebox, and an excellent idea using the Phantom Vision to capture both rocket crew & mission. I was impressed with how stable those shots were. Thanks for posting it.

    iDrone