As you might imagine we get tons of e-mail and one of the requests we have been receiving is to see more Draganflyer X6 HD aerial video examples. Specifically people would like to see examples of flying in more wind and keeping the camera on a subject.
The aerial video on this page is the first in a series of videos to address some of these requests along with a brief description of how we got the shots.
Shoot Draganflyer X6 1080p HD aerial video tracking moving subjects and flying in wind.
- Draganflyer X6 UAV RC Helicopter
- Panasonic SD9 1080p HD video camera
- Draganflyer SD9 camera mount with 5.8Ghz wireless video transmitter
- Video editing software – iMovie09
- Video editing workstation – 24” iMAC
For those of you that have been shooting aerial video with traditional nitro or electric RC helicopters hopefully you can relate to this and for those new to aerial photography please understand safety is a big deal to you, your talent and those around you.
The first problem is that when you are flying something really cool it tends to draw a crowd. There have been many times when we are out in the middle of nowhere and to our surprise all of a sudden there is someone standing there watching what we are doing so “crowd control” is essential.
Everything is a trade-off and what we mean is that traditional nitro or electric RC helicopter platforms (yes, we fly traditional RC helicopters too) are very good at carrying a heavy payload and flying in strong winds but from a safety perspective they are often spinning a 1400mm or 1800mm rotor system at approximately 1,800rpm. The tip velocity and inertia in the rotor system is very high and can be extremely dangerous.
One of the great things about the Draganflyer X6 UAV RC helicopter is that it is a relatively safe power packed helicopter in a nice compact package. Because we are using six individual motors and six rotors they are much smaller, have very low inertia and worst case, if there is an accident, the Draganflyer X6 causes much less damage.
Most importantly always develop a safety plan, know where people are and set aside places for an emergency landing. For the Draganflyer X6, make sure anyone near the helicopter is wearing some form of eye protection and if you develop a crowd watching the shoot, make sure they are all together, positioned up-wind from the shoot and away from the action.
About the video:
People ask about video quality and flying in the wind often, and yes, it can be done. We have re-posted an article written last year about flying in the wind that may be of help. The article describes floating the helicopter in the wind and that same principle of “floating in the wind” was used to get the shots you see here.
Whether you are flying a real helicopter, a large RC helicopter or the Draganflyer X6 if you are fighting the wind you will get some form of vibration so get comfortable with the concept of floating your helicopter with the wind.
- Opening shot, Mini Cooper driving up the street. The wind was blowing from behind the car, the pilot was positioned at the intersection and the driver was instructed to drive at the same pace as the helicopter. To get started we set the altitude of the helicopter and let the wind push it up the street with the car following behind. As the car neared the intersection we slowed the helicopter and yawed right to keep the car in frame.
- Lake bed sequences were a lot of fun. The wind was blowing pretty good and we intentionally got shots with the Draganflyer X6 shadow racing across the ground so you could get a feeling for the wind. In all cases we are starting out well past the Honda CRV and as the wind blows the helicopter past the vehicle, we yaw the helicopter to keep it in frame.
- In the clips with the Honda CRV the wind is blowing the helicopter left to right. Later during post production video editing to get the shots going right to left, we simply reversed the video.
- Slipping across the ground – again just letting the wind blow the helicopter. Be careful because the winds can change in speed and direction. From time-to-time make sure that you can stop the helicopter and penetrate the wind. If you cannot penetrate the wind, land, pack-up and stop for the day.
- Pilot walking through the lake bed. In these shots the helicopter is set in Altitude Hold mode and the pilot is simply walking along in light winds with the helicopter. The pilot is adjusting camera tilt and helicopter yaw to stay in frame.
- Swooping transition shot – we couldn’t resist … that shot was accomplished using an RC airplane equipped with the same Panasonic SD9 1080p HD camera. And it is just a fact that if you are going to pursue the aerial photography business you will end up having a variety of camera platforms. Think of them as tools. We know several people that use a wide range of platforms from the Draganflyer X6 to large turbine powered helicopters and planes to get the shots they need.
- Reflection transition – after the still image of the Draganflyer X6 in the video there is a reverse video shot of the Draganflyer X6 approaching the CRV to a hover. You will see the Draganflyer X6 reflection in the passenger window and in the next scene, we transition to the Mini Cooper with the Draganflyer X6 reflection in the drivers window. Again, the wind carries the Draganflyer X6 with the vehicle as we yaw to keep everything in frame.
- Rock formations and jeep – this clip was shot last year and honestly it was just good luck to have the jeep drive through the scene when it did.
We use a wide range of video editing tools and video editing work stations but this particular video was electronically stabilized and edited using iMovie 09 on a 24” iMAC with 2GB of memory and 1.3TB of disk.
iMovie works very well with the Panasonic SD9. After shooting the footage we simply pop-out the SD memory card from the camera and using a USB adapter, plug it into the iMAC. If iMovie is already running it will think the SD memory card is the camera and allow you to preview the clips and select what clips you’ll import into the system.
We hope you found this brief write-up, flying in wind article and video of interest. Enjoy your flying be safe and take some time to get comfortable floating that helicopter in the wind. The more confident you are in your flying abilities the better shots you will be able to get. Practice, practice, practice.
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