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Phantom Vision for Archaeology

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by hughsnews, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. hughsnews

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    Hi Guys,
    I am an archaeologist who has recently started specialising in aerial photography. At the moment I use kites, primarily as the site I work is famous for its wind. I was hoping to ask you all for some advice.

    I am looking at getting into quads and have been doing research on the DJI phantom series. My primary goal with archaeological photos is to take photos vertically downwards over an area. I am after as little lens distortion as possible as it can warp walls etc.
    I also use multiple aerial photographs to stitch together large vertical panoramas of a site.

    The Phantom vision looks amazing for the simple fact that I can perfectly frame shots using an iphone. My primary concern is over the fisheye. Basically, with the removal of fisheye offered by the photoshop filter, will I get a photo that is comparable to a small point and shoot(for kite photography I use a 12.1mp Canon S110 which takes great photos). Does it remove all of the fisheye distortion (I know this results in a cropped photo)?

    I was also thinking of just getting the DJI Phantom 2 and was wondering if you can have a non-go-pro mount for it so I can use my old canon but then I lose the ability to see what it's filming. If anyone has a website for non-go-pro mounts, could you send it my way? Also this saves me a bit of cash which is always nice.

    Anyways, if you can offer any advice to a newbie that would be amazing!
    Cheers
    Hugh
     
  2. MikeON

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    You mention it is windy at your site. That could be an issue. The Phantom Vision can handle a fair amount of wind but not without limits. There have been a few posts here about how much it can handle. I prefer to fly on as calm a day as possible. If the Vision is holding position in the wind (in GPS mode) it does so by tilting into the wind, and the horizon in pictures will be tilted. Might not be an issue with straight down shots.
    The Vision as delivered cannot shoot photos straight down, but some have modified the mount so that it can.
    http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/attac ... 080777.jpg
    Within Photoshop CS6 (and maybe other versions), there are two options to correct fisheye - Lens Correction filter and Adaptive Wide Angle filter. The former doesn't crop but seems to stretch the image in the corners. The latter gives better control, less stretching, but bends the edges so that they require cropping. I prefer Adaptive Wide Angle. It lets you draw a line along a feature that should be straight, and will straighten it in the image, which might be just what you need.
    There have been some excellent videos on creating panoramas using fisheye-lens cameras. If you take many pictures to get enough overlap, you could probably eliminate much of the fisheye distortion.
    This video describes panorama creation with a GoPro, but the idea is the same.
    http://tv.adobe.com/watch/take-flight-i ... -3-images/
    Ragecams will convert the Vision camera to a non-fisheye for $500. Little steep for my blood, but another option.
    http://ragecams.com/shop/phantom-vision ... p-646.html
     
  3. noreason4

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    Just a quick sidenote: The vision is unable to perform a shot 90 degree downwards. For this you would need to get a go pro plus phantom 2.
     
  4. Pull_Up

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    Or do the mods MikeON mentioned above...
     
  5. OI Photography

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    +1

    Whether you use a gopro or your Canon, the P2 will be a better platform for your needs than the P2V. The specs on your camera look like it's just barely light enough that you could get a Phantom to carry one, but very little else...and you'd have to get creative with the mounting holes.

    DJI also has a photogrammetry tool you might want to check out built in to the groundstation/datalink setup they sell...I'm pretty sure it'll work with the NAZA in the P2 currently, but there's no compatibility with the P2V yet. Here's some more info (you'll be limited to 16 waypoints with the NAZA): http://wiki.dji.com/en/index.php/WooKon ... metry_Tool
     
  6. hughsnews

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    Thanks for your posts guys.
    Pointing the camera directly downwards is 100% necessary for what we do. I'd be happy to try mod it but would prefer not to... As for fisheye, I am happy to fix it in post-production, 500$ is also pretty darn steep for me too.

    Although the site is windy, there are days when it is very still and this is when we would use it. Does anyone know (in miles/kilometres per hour) what sort of wind the phantom can handle on GPS or even just to fly it safely?

    I suppose the next question is, could I buy the Phantom 2(not the vision) and replace the gopro with my canon s110 which weighs in at about 200grams compared to the GoPro 3 which I think is around 100? Or is the phantom too sensitive to weight changes even if small like this?

    I understand I won't have the ability to see from the camera etc, but that is not the biggest issue for me as the same occurs when using kite photography. I just use CDHK to have it shoot each 5 seconds then cull when needed.

    Thanks so much for the advice?
     
  7. hughsnews

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    Thanks for the response! What is the limit of weight that it can carry?? Do you know where to buy a mount suitable for a canon? I can't seem to find one.

    The Photogrammetry tool looks phenomenal! I would love one but it looks like the price is in the thousands and that is way to much. If the NAZA allows 16 points, that should be enough to take large sections of the site. If I can make sure the height of the camera remains relatively constant, then it would allow me to do large areas then stitch those together. Thanks so much for the advice- have learnt more on here in an hour than I have through google in the last 3-4 hours!
     
  8. OI Photography

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    The AUW (All-Up Weight) of the Phantom is what matters, the measurement of the full mass with all attachments, batt, etc. You want to keep this at 1200grams or less if possible, any more and your flight time will decline rapidly.

    I don't believe there's any custom mounts sold for that Canon or any other cameras than a gopro for the Phantom....but don't let that stop you! As long as you can mount it securely, and without disturbing the balance too much, it doesn't have to be pretty :)

    The photogrammetry tool is built in to the groundstation software included in the DataLink packages DJI sells, starting at ~$250. The datalink/groundstation gear was designed for DJI's Wookong flight controller initially, but has trickled down to the NAZA now as well...but with the 16 waypoint limitation. Basically you install a transmitter/receiver on the aircraft, which talks to a ground module connected to your laptop. There's an iPad interface too, but I don't know if the photogrammetry tool is available through that.
     
  9. hughsnews

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    Thanks so much for all the advice. I suppose the only thing I am still curious about is the payload size. So if the AUW is around 1200 grams or more, will it make the phantom more likely to lose balance and crash, or will it simply reduce flight time due to extra weight. With the new 25 minute flight time, even if that got taken down to 15-20 minutes, that would be enough for me and my purposes- or I can just buy a second battery.
    I imagine there must be some kind of custom mount sold for canon somewhere....
     
  10. OI Photography

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    Mostly it will just cut in to your flight time, up to a point anyway. If you keep it generally mounted near the middle, the Phantom can compensate, but in addition to the extra weight any shift in the center of gravity caused by the camera will cause the aircraft to work more to counter-balance.
     
  11. hughsnews

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    Fantastic- thanks so much.

    I think I will go the regular Phantom 2 and try find a custom mount for a canon. If anyone knows of one, it would be amazing if you could post it- but otherwise I will try find one online and will post any results I get.
     
  12. OI Photography

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    My pleasure!

    If you're ever allowed to share any of the kinds of pics you're planning on taking, I'd love to see some sometime.
     
  13. chidago

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    As my first post, and a new owner, I have ONLY flown in 20-25 mph winds, as thats all we have right now, and I cant wait to play with this quad..of course because of the single axis, its shaky, but, as far as the heli itself, it handles the wind fine..
     
  14. Chuggie

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    Greetings:

    The Photoshop filter will not completely remove lens distortion from the Phantom Visions lens; however, it will greatly reduce the distortion. It will crop about 5-8% of the frame when the filter corrects for distortion. If you use your Canon camera you will have to figure out how to tap into the electronics for FPV and for shutter control. All of the Visions camera control and FPV is routed through a single connector, so it may not be too difficult to build a connector that taps into Phantom shutter control, and FPV.

    I ran into a geologist in Petropavlovsk Russia who was using blimps to capture gasses and pyroclasts ejected directly from the caldera of Karmisky volcano in Kamchatka. I could see where a multi rotor copter would give him much greater control in placing his sampling trap, than a blimp tethered in the wind. I know a multi rotor would greatly improve the speed your data acquisition photographing a research area from the sky.

    Thanks,
    Chuggie
     
  15. hughsnews

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    Hey Chuggie,
    I don't need to patch the camera in for anything. Because I use CDHK, when I use my camera for kite photography, I set an intervalometer to take photos every 5 seconds. I then hover the camera over the site for say 1-2 minutes, which means I am guaranteed to get a couple of good photos in case light/wind etc cause issues with camera.

    So my goal with the Phantom 2 is to simply attach my camera to the bottom of the quad pointing vertically and then I will press shoot and send it off to the heavens. So if I do make a custom housing for the camera, it does not need to be fancy- thus hopefully reducing weight etc.
     
  16. wincrasher

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    You can essentially eliminate the barrel distortion by reducing the field of view to 90 degrees. If you can live with that, the Vision would give you a good result. At least you can stay out of the shot, which I imagine is an issue when you are flying your kite. ;)
     
  17. hughsnews

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    Actually no, the kite generally holds the camera at quite a distance away. I became skilled enough with it that I could have the camera sit relatively stable about a building or whatever from quite a distance away.

    Thats why I am not so fussed if I don't have a quad with live streaming footage- simply as I am used to aligning shots over an object from a distance. The quad should give me just a bit more finesse!

    Oh an OI Photography, unfortunately I am unable to share photos from sites until they are published, which can take years! :|
     
  18. OI Photography

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    Understood, I figured as much ;)

    Still, that has to be one of the coolest non-hobby uses for a quad I've seen yet. Or a kite.
     
  19. AllanVB

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    Well, Not sure whether this is good or bad news. Ragecams, Dennis send me back my camera with the modifications. I could not connect it to my receiver???? So Back to Ragecams it went. Apparently they cannot figure out what went wrong and cannot fix. I am asking myself, Am I out the fees and shipping I paid ragecams? Will I need to spend another $500 for a replacement camera? I don't have answers to these questions yet, but you can bet I will followup on all the forums with the good or bad news!

    This is a direct quote from their website "This is very easy and safe to do.

    To order this service please go ahead & place your order, & if you want the deluxe mod with filter kit select that also.

    We ask that you mail us your camera & the repeater receiver part only.

    We insure our work & have modded well over 1000 gopro cameras & 10 vision2 camera to date. Your camera will come back ready to film as soon as you connect it back to the vision2."

    here is a link to their site: http://ragecams.com/shop/54mm-lens-inst ... p-658.html

    Dennis keeps telling me how overwhelmed he is. He had better take care of his customers of that will change real fast.
     
  20. kevin_edw2002

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    Hi,

    I've also been experimenting with the Vision for use in archaeological applications. I have been getting usable results using the stock DJI camera and a spacer to enable me to get a near-perpendicular view of the ground surface. My current workflow involves making a series of aerial traverses across a site or area and capturing video footage at 1080p at 30fps and narrow FOV (90 degrees). Once the flight has been completed, I import the video into Photoshop and then export the relevant portions as an image sequence (typically at a rate of 1 frame per second, which provides plenty of redundancy). The image sequence is then imported into Photoscan for processing (alignment, point cloud generation, meshing and DEM).

    I've attached a few images showing a couple 3D models of a rock outcrop and a large water tank, together with a digital elevation model/orthophoto/contour plot of the latter. As you can see, there is very little distortion and plenty of detail.
    Best,

    Kevin
     

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