It was a beautiful and sunny day in Maui. The wind was calm, the sky was clear, and everything looked so clear and crisp. I also happen to bring my DJI Inspire 1 along because I have not been flying it much at all lately (I have been too busy messing around with my FPV Race Copter). I decided early in the morning of our beach day to bring the drone along so I had to recharge a battery because of the smart feature that causes them to uncharge themselves so they do not go bad. This is generally a good thing if you keep up with it but it caused me to only get one battery pack of flying. I was still able to get some great shots and even do a quick little surf edit of my wife and nephew. Seeing this makes me really excited about the winter and all the amazing surfing that goes on out here. Maui had an amazing summer swell that I am totally kicking myself for not filming - what was I thinking?! I was probably too busy out surfing it myself.. Oh well, next one that comes through I will be on it like cheese on pizza. I have really been loving my Inspire 1 after the warranty issues I had when I first got it. Here is a link to the video in case you can't see it below.
This is slightly off topic and not very drone related but I was impressed enough to justify passing it along to anyone who might be interested. Today I was about to go surfing and there were two guys watching some clips they had shot using an iPhone. I went over to check them out and I was completely blown away by the quality. It looked 100% professional. Super silky slow motion, perfect color, no distortion from a fish eye lens, etc. I was under the impression they used a professional underwater rig with some sort of DSLR camera but it turns out they simply had their iPhone 5 in a Watershots waterproof housing. I knew the iPhone had a good camera and that the iphone 6 had amazing slow motion but this just exceeded any expectations I might have had. Wow. They even filmed on the iPhone 5 that "only" shoots at 120fps. I can't imagine how cool it would look if you used the Watershots with the iPhone 6 that shoots at 240fps in slow motion!
I have about 5 GoPros and the last thing I need is another thingy but I am sitting here about to order this because of how amazing these simple surf shots turned out. To keep it drone related, think how cool your aerial video of a beach would be with some underwater footage of a wave!!
The iPhone 5 Watershots case is $90 on Amazon and the iPhone 6 Watershots case is $140 on Amazon.
I have been playing with my FPV racing quad and having lots of fun with it. I don't plan on putting a Gopro on mine so I just used the DVR feature of my Fatshark Dominator HD goggles and recorded what I see. I have learned a few things so far about race quads that I figured I would pass on to others looking to get started.
1) Use omni antennas like the spherical ones from Fatshark. The higher db antennas I use for aerial photography drop out easily because they have a narrower window. With the race quad you fly all over the place and get in some interesting orientations that seem to add distortion to the signal right at the worst possible time.
2) Buy lots of batteries. The 4s 1300mah battery lasts about 3-4 minutes if you are zipping around. Practice makes perfect so you probably want 4-6 batteries. The hard part is keeping them all charged up. Remember to label your batteries so you can keep track of ones that might be going bad.
3) Acro aka manual mode flying is how these are designed to be flown. I only use angle aka self leveling mode when I am landing and taking off. Even then, landings are a bit rough because you have to tilt the camera up so much.
I have not come up with a good practice method yet for improving flight performance but I will put one together if I can find a good system for training. If anyone out there is having fun with these race quads let me know.. as always I would love a guest article from someone who is an expert in this area! If the video below doesn't load, you can click here to watch it directly on YouTube.