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My Journey

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Django, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Django

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    Heya Gang!

    I've been a lurker for a while but thought it was time to make a post; as I just received a DJI Phantom 3 Professional for Christmas from my beautiful wife of fourteen years. I thought I would share my experiences, questions, and thoughts- no matter how embarrassing they are, in the hopes that others may learn from my mistakes, share in the joy of my explorations, and gain knowledge from the thousands of questions I'm bound to have. Thanks for letting me join in.

    ~Jamie

    A Bit About Me

    I'm a youthful forty-one year old Canadian and full-time paramedic. I do a bunch of other cool things, as well, but I'll leave those for another time.

    Quadcopter Experience

    Zero. Nada. Nothin'. Actually, that's not true. I had a Syma XC5 for a week before I donated to the forest and mountain gods.

    Flight Knowledge

    The same. Nothing. Yaw? Pitch? I'm pretty sure those are the name of either a Vegan restaurant or a children's cartoon.

    Film/Photography Experience

    Hey, I have some of these! Not much, but I know that Instagram isn't an online grandmother ordering service.


    Okay, let's start!

    I fell in love with quadcopters when I saw a guy flying one in a park field a year ago. It went straight into the sky and that was that. I was hooked. The lights, the movement, the coolness of it all just took my breath away. The pilot's breath was also taken away as he promptly flew into a goal post. It didn't matter, though, I wanted in...

    So my wife suprised me with a Syma XC5

    [​IMG]

    It was the perfect start as I was able to fly it indoors and it didn't cost a fortune. I had it for a week before I gave it up as tax to the wind, who took it away over the mountain and into the forest. Somewhere a beaver is trying to order more batteries and figure out how to save money on shipping from Banggood.

    I waited a week to see if I missed it, and I did. So I ordered another one (it's still here with me) and I think that was the test that I needed to pass for my wife to see how commited I was to this art and how much I love it. Fast forward eight months to last week where, to my utter shock, a beautiful Phantom 3 was found under the tree (the one inside the house this time). Needless to say, I'm the luckiest guy I know.

    Like I mentioned before, I want this thread to be a service to others. So I won't be hiding any of the questions and things I've done. Here are ten things that I've had to ask, figure out, and think about in the last week.

    1) I should probably sign up at a forum. Which one? DJI or PhantomPilots? Let's go with PhantomPilots as they have a cooler logo and seem nice.

    2) How the heck do I charge the battery?! Ah...

    [​IMG]
    That black tab flips up! Aha! And don't charge the battery and the controller at the same time. Got it.

    3) Do I turn on the controller first? Or the Phantom? Does it matter? I'm still not 100% on this.

    4) Can I fly it indoors? Let's see! Holy sweet mother of Japadog, that's loud! And powerful! At least the prop didn't cut through my jeans as I tripped to grab it (who does that?!) but they left a mark. First flight: .5 seconds. Let's go back to the forums and instructions and read for a while.

    5) Don't forget to take the plastic Gimbal protector off! Gah! I'm not sure it'll win any best design awards.

    6) What the heck is this app? It looks like something from Nasa! Let's head over to youtube (this vid was great in explaining everything:

    )

    7) In the DJI hardshell backpack, there's a slot at the top that I have no idea what would go in there. Still no idea:

    [​IMG]
    8) I'm using an iPhone6+ but might want a dedicated tablet. My iPad3 won't work as the processor isn't fast enough apparantly. Air? Mini? Need to do more research (and sell my Ipad3).

    9) Practice, practice, practice. My first five flights have been at this local field at dawn. Up and down. Left and right. Nothing fancy. Backwards. Firgure 8s. More practice. I love every second of it. I watched this vid a lot:

    )

    10) Okay, let's take it to the great outdoors and see what we can do. My first (real) flight! Hurrah!


    (straight footage on auto with no editing except turning that dial on the controller- it looks likes I made it too dark)

    These are the pics, which I edited on my iPhone, with Snapseed:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well, that's enough for now, I reckon! Thanks for reading and watching!

    Next week...

    Manual camera & video settings?, battery charging questions (how far to run it down each flight?), ND filters, and a lot more!
     
    d3adtwist, KeithG and Ohmygod like this.
  2. Deep6

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    Location:
    Thornton, CO
    Hi there, I am brand new to this myself, and was wondering if you figured out what you did or didn't do to make your video so dark... I had the same issue yesterday, when previous vids have been fine. Wondering did I spin the wheel inadvertently? Been concentrating on making sure I calibrate the compass, pre flight checks, and yes trying to remember to take the gimbal protector off... Agreed, surely they could have done better with that protector. Haven't really looked the the cam settings much yet, but after getting home and having my video all look like the above, it's time to figure that end out.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    Ohmygod likes this.
  3. Ohmygod

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    I am also new as of Christmas (aren't wives great!) I liked your questions and will follow. I am taking a very slow path due to being slightly older and tech challenged and in the middle of winter now. I did post yesterday and got great replies and using that bought the Ipad Air 2 with WiFi and Cellular for a pure Phantom tablet. Love this forum.
     
  4. CCDD

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    Location:
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    Welcome aboard and thanks for the great intro!!
     
  5. Jay H

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    Location:
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    To change brightness/exposure, you need to change the ISO/ shutter speed. To get the right setting, You can use the overexposure warning to see when something is overexposed or enable the histogram graph and adjust the Exposure settings accordingly. In the graph, if the peaks are all the way to the right, then its too bright and make the settings darker, if the peaks are all the way to the left, then its too dark.

    Neutral density filters solve that problem of bright sunlight. Also in video, it will remove the propeller shadows/jello when flying directly toward sunlight.

    a few tips:
    -Shoot in raw if you want to edit photos after. (If you have photoshop)

    -Also, you could use AEB or Auto Exposure Bracketing. When you take a picture, it will take 3 separate pictures with 3 different Exposures and you can choose which one you want to use.

    -Turn down Sharpness, Contrast and Saturation to -1 or -2. I have it set to -2 but i guess it depends on what looks good to you.

    -at night, long exposure shots with a lowered ISO(to reduce noise) and 2" shutter speed make some great shots.
     
    #5 Jay H, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  6. Deep6

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    Location:
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    Thanks Jay, that was a lot of what I've been you tubing. Looking forward to it warming up enough today to mess around with all that.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  7. AAPhoto

    Joined:
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    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    I'm a bit new to all this as well and have recently acquired a P3P. I'm a professional photographer (landscapes and Motorsports) and have been doing a TON of research and therefore, I think I can answer some of your questions.

    The instruction manual and many youtube videos show the following power-on and power-off order:

    Power-on:
    Remote Controller, then Phantom.
    Power-off:
    Phantom, then remote controller.

    I just try to remember the remote controller starts and ends the entire sequence.

    I've been wondering the same thing!

    I'm using an NVIDIA Shield K1 since it has a GPS and barometer, is fast with no lag using DJI Go (minimal lag with Litchi), and was only $200.


    In regards to picture brightness, there are three things that determine the amount of light in an image: the aperture (the hole in the camera lens that lets light through to access the sensor - measured in "f-stops"), the Shutter (the amount of time the sensor is exposed to the light when you press the shutter release button), and ISO (the amount of noise tolerance applied to brighten an image after there is no more aperture or shutter speed to use.... to put it simply). The Phantom cameras have a fixed aperture of F/2.8. Therefore, the wheel on the right side of the remote controller will adjust the shutter speed and/or ISO to properly expose the image. In "auto" mode, the camera picks which of these to adjust. Depending on the scene, it may not always get it right.

    To make things simpler, I would recommend enabling the 'histogram' in your app (explained briefly in the video below). The histogram is a graphical representation of your exposure. The white should basically remain in the center of the chart to have a proper exposure. If it hugs the left wall, the image will have a lot of 'blacks' and will generally be too dark. If the white part hugs the right wall, it will be too bright and overexposed in some areas. The goal is to keep it towards the center, or at minimum, off of the left/right walls of the chart.

    ND filters:
    ND filters can be used to darken a scene with the intention of slowing down the shutter speed for videos. The goal is to reach a shutter speed that is twice your frame rate. For example, if you're shooting at 4k 30fps, the shutter speed should be at, or near, 1/60sec. This allows for smoother, more cinematic-looking videos. ND filters generally aren't used for taking photos since a slower shutter speed could result in blurry photos.

    Camera Settings:
    The video below explains briefly how to turn on the histogram as well goes over some camera settings that you may find helpful if you don't mind doing a little post editing. I find these settings retain the most detail in photos and videos and I can edit to my hearts content.



    Enjoy yourself and have fun!
     
    KeithG likes this.
  8. Django

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    Heya Gang!

    Holy smokes- you guys are super helpful! Thanks for the tips, thoughts, and comments!
    _____________________________________________________


    I've got a couple more flights in and have another round of things that I've had to ask, figure out, and think about in the last few days...

    1) When I login here at the forum, it says that I have 1 "new message"- but I have no way of finding it. When I go to the PMs, it says that I have no conversations. Hmm. The same with "drafts". I have no idea where to find them. This just shows how much work needs to be done to bring me up to speed. I hope you’re all ready for work that lies ahead for you! Holy smokes, I’m as new as they get!

    2) I was so focused on making sure I have full battery charge and RC charge, that I didn’t pay enough attention to my iPhone 6+ battery. Near the end of my second flight; the screen went blank, my heart and my lungs had a race to see which would quit first, and then before either passing out or weeping (I couldn’t decide which) I managed to regain composure enough to hit the RTH button. Sweet Marie. I almost started clapping and/or screaming when I saw it land in front of me.

    3) So far for landings, I’ve been practicing setting it softly on the ground like helping a wounded butterfly. Nary a bounce in sight! I’m obviously a natural! Once on the ground, I’ve been holding the throttle down for a few seconds until it stops. But then I thought I should know how to CSC it properly and did the move when it was about six inches off the ground. Well, maybe my right thumb didn’t go to the corner enough? Because it pitched backwards and gave the lawn a little cut off the top. So much for natural. Now I’m a bit nervous to practice it again. I need to work on that. And I threw out the two propellers. Boooo me.

    4) Batteries. I’ve watched some Youtube videos and have been reading a lot but some things still aren’t clear to me. It seems like its time to call it a day when the battery reaches 20%; as it shouldn’t be depleted every use. But then I read that they should be stored at about 50%. But it seems logistically difficult to go home and charge it back up another 30%- and I don’t want to stop flying at 50%- so I’m not sure what people do. I also read that you should let the batteries cool before putting them away- so when people are out flying- do they not put the battery back into the backpack? Should I be putting it in my pocket instead? Curious.

    5) ND filters. I know that they’re a must- but I’m not sure which one is appropriate for where I’m living. It would be nice if there was a ND4 = Jamaica. ND16 = Vancouver. Maybe there’s a chart somewhere that gives lighting examples. I’ll look into that some more, I think.

    6) I ordered some accessories because that’s part of the fun. I got the Phantom Identity Set from UAV Stickers (Phantom Identity Set ) and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t know if it makes me look like a rookie or not- but I love them.

    7) I also ordered some UAV Bits Strong Arms (Strong Arm reinforcement plates with Motor Caps ). I’m a big believer in preventative maintenance so I thought these would be a good investment. It seems like the jury is out a bit with actual data/proof of their effectiveness but they make me feel better, and sometimes that’s what matters the most.

    8) I also ordered a prop balancer and am waiting for that to come in. I’ve been reading that people add tape to the lighter side- but that seems like it would affect airflow to me. The same for the strong arms- are each one exactly the same weight within a millionth of a gram or whatever? Does it matter? I’ve fascinated by the precision balancing of everything and am mindful of adding weight or adjusting what people way smarter than me have already designed.

    9) Gain and Expo. My homework for the next month. Eighties rock band or my neighbours pets? Or something I should really know more about. Yah, probably that.

    10) Lastly, here's a photo I took at night. I put the ISO at 100 and then set the shutter to 3 seconds (3”). The first ones were kind of blurry until I realized that I needed to let my craft hover where it was for a minute to stabilize. After that, I was golden. A little editing with my Snapseed app on my iPhone and I am absolutely thrilled with the result. The video I took is still a little dark, though- I really need to sort that out. More homework and experimentation!

    [​IMG]

    Until next week! Thanks for joing me on this amazing journey!

    ~jamie
     
    #8 Django, Jan 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  9. AAPhoto

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    Are you on a PC, mobile device, Android, Apple? I use 'Tapatalk' on an Android phone and there's a message icon under the settings menu. On a PC, there should be an envelope icon in the upper right corner of the webpage, by your username.

    Pulling the throttle stick down is the correct way to land. Using CSC to land is how many people flip/crash their Phantoms. CSC should be reserved for starting the motors only (in my opinion).

    I read about this as well and believe this is only for long-term storage. If I'm only going to to a few days without flying, I leave them fully charged and top them off the night before I fly. To take the battery level down to 50%, i'll either do a quick flight at sunset (to peek over the trees since I live on the side of a mountain) or I'll play around in the flight simulator. You can also just leave the Phantom on doing nothing, but what fun is that? ;)

    The guide is to try to slow your shutter speed down to twice your frame rate, so it really depends how bright or cloudy of a day it is. A real sunny day usually calls for an ND16 for me to get my shutter down to 1/60th sec. That's great if I'm shooting 4k 30fps (30x2=60, hence the 1/60th sec shutter speed). If I want to shoot at 24fps, i'll throw on the ND32 which will typically bring my shutter speed down to 1/50th sec. (24x2=48, so 1/50th is close enough). All an ND filter is doing is taking away light and when you take away light, the camera compensates by either increasing the ISO or decreasing the shutter speed. Therefore, lock in your ISO and force the camera to decrease the shutter speed until you have something close to twice that of your FPS. You may have to try different filters until you get the right shutter speed, but over time, you will know which one to use out of habit and just by looking at the sky.

    Here's a great explanation:


    Great Photo!! For the dark video, seems like you may need to increase the ISO to let more light in. I noticed, however, that the camera has a maximum ISO of 3200 which may not be enough for some situations. For the amount of city lights in your photo, i think that should be enough. Was your ISO locked in at a particular setting for the video? Also, technically, we're not supposed to fly these things at night... for safety reasons... ;)