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P3P & Equipment Review/Testimonial

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by outlaw704, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. outlaw704

    Dec 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    We just returned from Haiti after a production week with Gabriel Films on a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded documentary about deforestation, erosion and reforestation. The week was focused on aerial video to incorporate into the documentary.

    Our list of stuff:
    Phantom 3 Professional, power supply and RC transmitter
    8 batteries
    iPad Mini 2 with HoodiVision sunscreen
    HDMI module
    25 foot HDMI cable
    Black Pearl RC801 Monitor
    CyberPower PowerTrip 240 inverter ($50 at BestBuy)
    Variety of ND filters including SRP 8/16
    DJI Hardcase Backpack
    UAV bits gimbal protector
    extra propellers

    We chose the P3P and DJI backpack because of it’s small size and portability and it’s 4k capability. This allowed us to get to very remote, difficult locations. The DJI hard backpack performed flawlessly, protecting our P3 through some tough conditions and locales, including a trip on horseback.

    This P3P has a few simple, minor mods including a UAV Bits gimbal protector, each arm had a plastic zip tie tightly wrapped around each arm between the motor and LED light (crack prevention), an HDMI installation and we used an ND8 filter or SRP graduated ND8/16.

    We flew a total of 61 missions in 17 different locations over the course of four days. Some in very tight, tropical settings, in heavy fog, in a riverbed, mountain tops and valleys, at a fortress (Citadelle Laferierre), city and country locales. Some in heavy winds up to approximately 25 knots. All but three missons were very successful. In two cases, the locale was so tight as to prevent GPS lock; since those locations were so tight we felt flying without GPS was unsafe. Another mission was aborted after about ten minutes of flight due to heavy interference from a microwave transmitter antenna close by. We successfully recovered the P3P in ATTI in that case, but still got good footage.

    In our worst failure, we lost GPS lock after takeoff, in a very tight, bad line-of-sight location, we had limited control and elected to “emergency land” - controlled flight straight down from about ten feet to a hard landing onto a soft tropical forest floor. Fortunately, we only had to replace 2 props.

    We filmed in 4K/25 with F. Hagan’s suggested color/log settings and got about 10 to 12 hours of beautiful footage. Our editor is working on post at this time and hopes to have edited video to see very soon.

    We hand launched about 1/3 of the missions due to lack of flat terrain. We hand landed every mission. We used an inverter to keep batteries charged - the charger worked flawlessly and was on 12 hours a day. The inverter worked ok - we think the car’s cigarette lighter power was not very pure; but we always had batteries topped-off and ready to go.

    The UAV Bits gimbal guard turned out to be an excellent option - not necessarily for crashes, but for the amount of handling our P3 went through over the course of this production week. Our gimbal came through unscathed. The HDMI system worked perfectly; our Director was tethered to the RC by a 25 foot cable while watching the Black Pearl monitor. It’s picture quality is superb (much better than the iPad) and it’s fully charged battery lasted all day, each day. We had one case of the iPad overheating and giving us choppy video. We remedied that with a moist cloth attached to the back of the iPad and had no further difficulties.

    Overall, the equipment was outstanding, performed as expected under extremely demanding conditions and delivered excellent, production level video. We are very pleased.
    #1 outlaw704, Sep 6, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
    okcorral and reboot81 like this.
  2. nhoover

    Dec 11, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Los Gatos, California
    Wow sounds like a blast. Would love to see some of the footage once edited. Glad it worked out so well and thanks for posting the story.