These Fotodiox lens covers come in a set of 3 for the GoPro white, silver, black and black + and cost $9.99. I am constantly worried about scratching the lens on the GoPro because it is really the only truly fragile part of the entire aerial system. I have scratched a lens before on my old GoPro and it was basically ruined. I love that these lens covers came in a 3 pack because I misplaced my last one - now I have many backups (backup for my backup?) and can leave one in my Phantom hard case, at home, and in the car! If you have a GoPro, you should invest in a lens cover.
It is time to rally the troops. If you like drones, aerial photography, quadcopters, business, America, and freedom you should head over to Regulations.gov and voice your opinion.
"As you may or may not know, the FAA has recently published an interpretation of the law that protects Model Aviation from overburdensome FAA regulation (Public Law 112-95 / Section 336). In their interpretation, the FAA tries to say that FPV does not fall under their definition of Model Aviation and is therefore regulated by the FAA --- which effectively would result in no more legal hobby FPV flight in the USA. Such gross misinterpretation of the law by the FAA is an obvious outrage to all FPV hobbyists and companies like GetFPV."
From Tim Nilson of GetFpv.com
The response I have gotten to my book on starting your own aerial photography business has been amazing and the feedback I have gotten has been so positive but I still get questions about how much to charge for aerial photographs and video. This is somewhat of a loaded question and depends on where you are at on the drone as a hobby spectrum. For example, did you buy a drone specifically to start shooting aerial photography for business or do you want to just shoot enough to cover the cost of your awesome new toy? One of the things Italk about in my book is how to build up your customers by emailing realtors and offering free or discounted pictures to build your portfolio and get some satisfied customers to start generating word of mouth referrals. If you want to start building up a backlog of work and start an actual business you will make less at first but you will build your portfolio and customer base and you can slowly start raising your rates. Under this scenario, I think you offer pictures for free to the first client and if you nail the job then you should charge a bit more for your next set of pictures for the next client, say $50-75. You keep raising the rate up until you get to $100-250 per session. Only move your pricing up if you have happy customers who gush about how great your work is. Remember to always under promise and over deliver. Say you will give them 3 amazing pictures but end up giving them 6-10 fully edited amazing pictures and a short video if you have a drone with a gimbal. Word spreads fast if you are good at what you do and have great customer service.
If you do not like the progressive approach and want to just make some quick cash, you can do this as well. Depending on your RC and photo / video editing skills, you can easily charge $100-150 bucks for some nice pictures. If you have the DJI Phantom and a GoPro, try and use the video and picture setting that records video and takes pictures and go ahead and make a 1-2 minute video and offer it to the client for an extra $50-100. The bottom of the range is for less expensive houses while the higher end is for more expensive houses. You should always size up the house and the client because more expensive listings should generally make you more money than cheaper houses. Lots, ranches, and undeveloped land are ripe for aerial photography because they can be difficult to capture from the ground.
Anytime the job requires more than a short car ride or involves something novel or unique, you can and should charge more.
I started working on a short clip showing all my videos from my first 6 months in Maui but I got sidetracked when I got to the footage of the humpback whales I had from February 2014. There was such an overwhelming response that I wanted to make a longer one showing the entire interaction between the mother and her newborn calf. These animals are so amazing and they deserve to have their majesty observed and respected to that we can be inspired to care for their home.
Music is "That Age is Gone Now Pt. 1" by Sorrow.
This was filmed using a DJI Phantom 2 and the GoPro Black camera
Ok, I this has nothing to do with drones, quadcopters, or RC but I wanted to post it anyway. The Maui Aquarium has always been my favorite aquarium because of the shark tank with 5 different types of sharks and tons of huge ulua (jacks). I always assumed the only way I was ever going to get in that tank was to volunteer to vacuum up fish poop. Turns out you can go for a 40 minute dive in the tank for $200, and this was what my wife got me for my birthday. The sheer concentration of big fish makes this a memorable dive and I recommend it if you come visit Maui.
My friend Kelly put together another cool video he shot partially on his DJI Phantom. Being able to shoot action sports from an aerial perspective adds so much production value to regular videos. For all of us who like making short semi interesting videos this is huge! Aerial photography tip: If you are just getting into shooting aerial photography, try adding in a second camera somewhere on the ground or on your subject to help add depth and perspective. I have started doing it more lately and it makes the videos so much more interesting. It does not matter if you just take a 5 second clip with your smartphone while you take off, it just makes the video more fun to watch. Watch how Kelly uses this tip to make this racing video exciting.
Here is a wonderful post from AtlantaHobby.com about how the FAA is end our hobby and stifle harmless economic activity (Click here to read the original article). Share the message and spread the word! Support AtlantaHobby.com for helping to rally all of us drone, FPV, aerial photographers, fun seekers, etc.. FAA Stay Away !
In June 1776, representatives of the thirteen colonies, beginning a struggle against the tyranny and repression of a government gone mad, signed a resolution to declare their independence from Great Britain. This declaration changed the world; it was the first step towards a nation founded on liberty, and a government founded on respect for individual rights. This week, we celebrate the signing of that declaration, a day every American knows as Independence Day.
Now is a critical time in the RC industry. And I think it is a time for us to sign our own declaration.
Interpretation and reinterpretation
I came to despise double-speak during my thirty-plus years in the corporate world. I learned there that when someone came to know something was wrong, they changed the meaning of the words to make it right. I would often hear other executives say “We’ll tell it to them this way or that way,” with no concern for the real way, the truth. If something was flat not going their way, they would “reinterpret” what the words meant. Kind of like saying the sky is yellow instead of blue. Say it enough times and they believed the public would accept it as truth, or better yet, just “reinterpret” what the color blue means.
Most reasonable folks like you and I know this and have seen this in action. Lately, it has been coming from our own government representatives; you know, those folks we elect to represent us, who are supposedly there to listen and respond to our views and requests.
Some examples of reinterpretation:
The second amendment, that states the right to bear arms shall not be infringed, is now reinterpreted to mean only if permitted, taxed and under tightly controlled situations. The freedom of speech is now reinterpreted to mean only in certain areas and times.
Just last week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen smugly detailed how the agency “accidentally” lost two years of Lois Lerner and six other IRS employees’ emails regarding IRS targeting. Accidentally seems to be reinterpreted to “Hey, I erased the hard drives to protect the IRS.”
These are all examples that the vast American public did not need to have explained in the first place, but reinterpretation changed their meanings. The meaning was very clear for us to start with. Just what part of “Shall not be infringed” do our elected officials not understand?
Many of the darkest times in world history came about because the majority of the public sat idly by, was apathetic, and believed the “reinterpretation” that their governments told them. In 1930s Germany, you know what happened.
How does this relate to remote controlled flying machines?
As most of you know, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has been in the business of unmanned, remote control flight and safety long before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ever came into being. For over 75 years, AMA community-based programs have had a stellar track record, and the FAA has both praised these programs and implied they were a model for future oversight. The FAA and the AMA recently signed a letter of understanding detailing how they would work together to enhance safety, to share information, and to be transparent with each other. Now, the FAA has proven that the letter of understanding was nothing but blowing hot air, and that they had no intention of transparency or working in good faith with the modeling community.
Our free-market-based industry has created new innovation in electronic systems, robotics, programming, aerospace design, flight control systems, and many other technical fields. Many of these innovations are far more advanced than comparable systems developed by or for the government or military. The results include many benefits, not the least of which are youth that are more involved and have a higher level of interest in science, technology, engineering and math. These advancements have led to the availability of low-cost, reliable, light weight, and safer technology that can be used for search and rescue, crop inspection, disaster preparedness and response, and recreation. These new systems are enablers; the technology is so advanced that many systems know where controlled airspace is and avoids those high traffic and controlled areas of the sky.
Last week, the FAA (which, by the way, reports to the executive branch with the only congressional oversight limited to their budget, and is part of the Department of Transportation that spends over sixty billion of your tax dollars) issued a statement they were going to “reinterpret” everything to do with remote controlled flight. In fact, when you read it carefully (and you should,) they are going through the steps “asking permission” to change what they know as well as we do are already the correct definitions.
In 2012, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (Public Law 112-95) was signed into law, with Congress telling the FAA to study and create ways for unmanned aircraft systems to use the sky. This was in part due to large drone companies like UPS, Boeing, the military, and others wanting to fly their full-scale planes with no pilots, and in part to protect us from our own military spy planes and the National Security Agency (NSA) who want to know everything about you. Do you really think you have any privacy anyway with a cell phone in your pocket?
That 112-95 statute included Section 336, “a special rule for model aircraft.” This provision was specifically included to protect both hobbyists and the model aircraft industry from the over-reaching regulation that Congress knew would be created in the future by the FAA. This public law 112-95 law “exempts” recreational model aircraft from any new regulation, preserving for our communities the existing and historical role of offering safety programs, pilot instruction, flying site establishment, and event supervision, while preserving the FAA’s limited taxpayer resources for other important functions.
In this past week’s action, the FAA is attempting to “reinterpret” and change the meaning of “exempt from regulation.” They want to change the definition of “hobby” to suit their needs. Their attempt to change the definitions of what we do is in direct violation of the 112-195 the section 336 statute. Action on your part is required NOW, for they will change these definitions unless you act.
The FAA’s attempt at reinterpretation improperly tries to tie model aviation to new rules, including an unknown number of regulations that are created to apply to passenger aircraft not the aircraft we enjoy. The FAA has also stated that it may take enforcement action against hobbyists if it deems a model aircraft to pose “any kind” of safety issue to anyone or anything, without telling the community what its safety parameters actually are. This is an attempt to write Section 336 out of the statute and opens the door to arbitrary enforcement.
Unless you act now, there could be many new restrictions on hobbyists in the near future. You may be required to have a FAA medical certificate in order to fly your RC plane. You may be subject to being required to take a full FAA approved ground school and written test by an approved FAA certified instructor in order to fly your model aircraft. You may be required to have your aircraft inspected and approved for flight. You may even have to file an official flight plan in order to operate your model aircraft.
For some reason, the FAA also has a big issue with the word “commercial” and wants to make this word have a very broad definition. What this really means is that if you happen to be a farmer and want to fly at 200 feet to detect the soil moisture in your crops and improve your yield, you need to be taxed and jump through lots of hoops, since the FAA reinterprets this as a commercial operation. If you are a real-estate professional and stand on a ladder or put your GoPro camera on a stick and take an aerial photo for a creative shot of a home for sale that is fine, but you cannot fly up to 50 ft and take the same photo from your quad copter as you are now a commercial operation and are endangering that 767 at 35,000 ft. If you are a production house or a motion picture studio, don’t you dare fly your camera down a canyon to get that dramatic action shot as that is a commercial operation.
Even the public benefits of these technologies could be restricted. If you are a police department and can use a small quad copter to survey a traffic accident, economically saving the community thousands in full sized aircraft fees, you will need to be taxed and papered to death for the right to fly. If you can use a small RC plane or quad to find a missing child using a infrared camera at night (or day) you need to be taxed and buried in paperwork as well as this is commercial.
There’s many examples, but it comes down to this: Your action is needed to stop frivolous regulations reminiscent of the same kinds of issues our founding fathers had over two centuries ago.
The AMA has responded to the FAA the day after their reinterpretation notice was published, stating “…the current FAA stance is at best ill-conceived and at worst intentionally punitive and retaliatory.”
On Tuesday, June 24th, the AMA issued a member alert expressing great concern over provisions in the FAA's attempt at reinterpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
Your action is needed now, for as my mom used to say, “give them an inch…” I encourage you to modelaircraft.org to read your call to action from the AMA and to watch our Air Show broadcast tonight at 8:30 Eastern rcradionetwork.com where Rich Hanson the head of AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs and Dave Mathewson AMA's executive director will join us live to discuss this catastrophic new attempt at rule making and what you can do to help.
Time is short. You must be heard by July 25th or apathy will prevail and you will not be able to fly as you know it today.
Thanks for reading my long-winded statement. I am vocal, I do not have apathy, and I will not stand idly by while we are overrun by frivolous and unnecessary regulations.
I am a private pilot, and I do not want to be run into by a model plane or helicopter while flying my family somewhere, but overbearing regulations do not make for safe operations. Regulations do not prevent stupidity any more than the 55MPH speed limit prevents speeders.
Go outside, look up, is the sky crowded? Do you see planes everywhere like in the old Jetsons cartoons? There is lots of air space available and the only overcrowding I see is the Department of Transportation, with 57,000 employees and a mile high stack of regulations, trying to reinterpret our direction to suit their over-controlling needs.
My friends Marty and Ian from DroneMaui.com invited me to go on a hike up the west Maui mountains to get some footage of the wind turbines on the 4th of July around 5am. I was really tired and tried to get out of it but they talked me into going and I am so glad I went, it turned out to be an awesome adventure!! To make things more interesting, I had to be somewhere at 8am so my wife could play tennis so I had added pressure from the wife department. The hike was about 3 miles up some fairly difficult terrain, plus we had tons of gear with us. We tried to get up there as fast as we could but it still took an hour or more at a grueling pace. When we finally got to the top, the wind was absolutely blasting, but after that steep hike I was not about to miss my chance to fly around the windmills.
I took off and tried to head into the wind, but as I got farther away, the intensity of the wind increased and it was soon pretty obvious I was not going to be able to fly back to my take off spot. Full stick into the wind and it was still going backwards. If it was not for Ian's groundstation and Marty's line of sight spotting, I would almost certainly be without my phantom (and video card!!!) Once I realized that the drone was not coming back, I had to start thinking about the best way to get it on the ground but I had to have it land before it flew into one of those wind turbine blades. I had to then run another mile (remember the wife time obligation?) to look for it. The drone gods must have intervened because it appears I landed about as perfectly as possible, blindly!! I am really lucky.
I love adventures and this was an awesome one. I wish I could have gotten more than 20-30 seconds of wind turbine aerial footage but mostly I am thankful to still have a working quadcopter. Be sure and check out the pictures from our adventure below. Do you have any adventures to share? Please share in the comment section!
If you have not yet heard of the AirDog, then you should watch the video below first and then read this so it does not spoil the fun. This might be the first quadcopter that actually deserves to be called a drone because it actually operates somewhat autonomously. You wear or carry a simple remote on your wrist (that they say will be much smaller when it ships) and then the quadcopter keeps the camera pointed at you while you do whatever cool stuff you want to film. They say it flies between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the wind and how fast you need it to go. The range of the hand held remote is 300 meters and you can easily add a fully functional remote control if you want to fly it manually. Oh yea, one other awesome feature - it allows you to use your waterproof GoPro housing to keep that protected! That would help minimize the cost of water based crashes! My only real question is what happens when you are out over water and the copter starts losing juice? Does it return to where you took off? I have tons of questions about how this works and I am considering buying one because it is such a neat concept. You cancheck out their KickStarter here to get one, they are about $1200.
This is from their kickstarter page:
It will land at the end of your track, or return to the takeoff spot when the battery begins to run low. An alarm on the AirLeash tells you when AirDog’s battery is too low to continue.
I am really curious to see if this might be an easier way to film big, fast moving surf at Jaws. Are any of you planning on getting one of these? I have not decided yet. It sure seems cool!
A few months ago GoPro contacted me about the whale footage I shot and I also showed them the footage of Ekolu Kalama and they wanted to use both sets of footage! Getting footage that is good enough for GoPro is something I am proud of because I get to see it next to all the other amazing footage that is shot on GoPro. I have not been flying much in the past month or two because I have been focused on learning to surf but I am finally going to fly again with Ian and Marty from DroneMaui.com. We are going to go fly around the windmills / wind turbines on the west side of Maui early Friday morning. Hopefully we get some cool footage - I love collaborating with these guys!
Below are the two videos that GoPro put together. In general, the edits turned out pretty cool but my favorite thing they did was to add some sound effects like the sound of waves and the whales exhaling. I am about 100% they did not pull that from the original sound files! I am really looking forward to getting more awesome footage this winter from my drone in maui! Aerial photography is so damn fun.
Both of these videos were shot on the GoPro Black at 720 120FPS. The GoPro takes awesome videos of surfing and whales but it is also an amazing camera to shoot your kids with. Some of my favorite family videos have been shot on the GoPro. The wide angle lens makes it easy to get everything in frame. I love my GoPro!