Posts Tagged ‘ Inspire 1

10 things that could save your drone

10 things that could save your drone

Click here for a German translation of this post.

If you’re interested in drones you will have no doubt seen all the spectacular crashes on YouTube and heard about drones flying away by themselves. Drones like the DJI Inspire 1 or Phantom 3 are highly complex devices that rely on various systems to perform properly. While there’s no way to guarantee against a hardware or software problem there are a few things you can do to minimise the chances of crashing. Here are my top tips that could save your DJI drone.

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1. Know when and when NOT to calibrate the compass

A lot of people recommend calibrating the drones compass each time it’s flown at a different location. While this seems to work for some I think it introduces unnecessary risk. Let me explain why…

When you perform a compass calibration you’re letting your drone test its surroundings for magnetic force and once the calibration is complete it stores that data and assumes that those forces are normal for the current location and will be consistent throughout the flight. But what if there’s a large electrical cable or metal pipework buried below the paving you’re standing on? If that were the case then the calibration you’ve just performed will have taken those effects into account and the moment the drone takes off it will be flying with incorrect compass data.

Unless you’ve travelled a long way (hundreds of miles) since your last flight there’s no real need to re-calibrate the compass if you already have a good calibration locked in. If you find yourself in a nice open undeveloped area then it’s a good time to grab a clean compass calibration, otherwise why replace a clean calibration with one from an area where you have no idea what unknown forces are at play.

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DJI Phantom 3 vs Inspire 1 – Which should I buy?

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I’ve owned my Inspire 1 for over a month now and with over 70 flights under my belt I feel like I’m starting to know it well, both from an operational and flight characteristics point of view.  Before i purchased the Inspire I spent a lot of time deciding between it and DJI’s other popular offering, the Phantom 3 Professional as both have 4K cameras and a lot of features in common. I wasn’t able to test either system so I based my purchasing decision on a few factors that could potentially make a difference. The things that really swayed me towards the Inspire was it’s ability to rotate the camera, the removable gimbal allowing for future upgrades and the ability to operate in higher winds.

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Recently I’ve had the chance to spend a few weeks flying the Phantom 3 Professional so I thought I’d share my findings about whether I made the right choice and try to give some advice to anybody trying to decide between  these two platforms. Firstly I’ll describe some differences in the aircraft and then I’ll go on to talk about my findings.

Size, weight & build.
By far the biggest difference between these two drones is the size and weight of each design. Although I’d seen a few Phantoms in the past I’d never actually used one before and after using the Inspire for a few weeks I was quite surprised how much smaller and lighter the Phantom is. The Inspire weights in at 2.93 KG whereas the Phantom 3 is less than half that at a mere 1.28 KG.

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Inspiring Panorama’s – Shooting panoramas with a drone

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The great thing about shooting pano’s with the Inspire 1 is that due to it’s ability to lock position using GPS it pretty much works like a tripod in the sky allowing you to rotate through horizontal pans at various pitches without the camera slipping position too much. The Inspire is especially good at this job because it’s props lift out of view enough to get a 30 degree up angle on the camera and still not see the props or the landing gear in the shots.

After some experimentation I settled on shooting 4:3 Raw stills and in order to provide plenty of overlap for stitching them together I shot around 16 images per 360 degree rotation. I found I could cover from 30 degrees up to 90 degrees straight down using four rotations so ended up with around 70 stills per pano location.

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Click here to view the interactive Panorama I created.

In order to stitch the images together I used an application called AutoPano Pro from Kolor Software. AutoPano does an amazing job of taking all the individual images and then combining them together in to one seamless pano file. AutoPano handled the Inspires Raw DNG files perfectly although it is quite a CPU intensive process.

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Once the images have been stitched together there are multiple tools allowing you to tweak various aspects of the pano. I found the only tools I really had to use were the crop tool to remove some black space at the top of the pano and the automatic horizon tool to straighten the horizon. Both tools worked perfectly.

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I wanted to create an interactive pano so I opened the exported file using another application from Kolor called Panotour which magically turns the pano file in to an interactive html experience allowing the pano to be controlled and viewed on both the web and on mobile devices.

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One of the great things about Panotour is that you can also link multiple pano’s together creating a virtual tour for the viewer. In my example I simply linked together two pano’s allowing the viewer to jump between them.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

 


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Inspire 1 ND filters Part 2 – Renaat filters

Since posting my review of the Polar Pro filters the DJI Inspire 1 I’ve purchased another set from a guy named Renaat in China. I read about his filters set on the InspirePilots forum, for more information he can be contacted via email at ceulenaere@gmail.com

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I paid a total of $84 including delivery for a set of four filters from Renaat including ND8, ND16, ND32 & ND64. The filters were delivered in 2 days using DHL so they are extremely good value.

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Learning to fly – First Shots

In the week since my first test flight with the Inspire 1 I’ve been out flying it nearly every day, it’s almost becoming an obsession!  As somebody who enjoys capturing images from the world around me I’ve found that suddenly having this amazing new perspective on life has reignited a passion for capturing images that I haven’t felt in ages. Here’s a few of my first attempts at filming from the Inspire.

While I’m finding it very tempting to start being more daring with my shots I’m forcing myself to take things slowly and really think about every movement of the Inspire. It would be all too easy at this stage to let creativity take over and get the camera in to more interesting positions but for now I’m leaving myself plenty of room and remembering that it’s early days in the development of my flying skills.

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