Tuesday 27 May 2014

Aerial video

I have been flying both full-sized and radio-controlled aircraft for around 10 years, and have completed 25 hours of training in a fixed-wing aircraft. I started flying multi-rotor "drones" about a year ago when I saw them as an opportunity to improve our videos. Aerial video is a fantastic tool when used in real estate, event and promotional videos.

So we decided to invest in an aerial video platform. And after several weeks of careful construction, it is finally up and running. We decided to go with the DJI F550. The F550 is a hexacopter (6 motors) and has a few benefits over the popular DJI Phantom, such as its ability to carry a bigger battery for longer flight times.

We currently use a GoPro Hero 3 for our aerial video work. The GoPro is a fantastic camera for this purpose, as its wide-angle lens is able to capture huge amounts of detail in a single frame. The GoPro is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal, which allows us to shoot incredibly smooth and professional aerial video.

When the camera is hundreds of feet up in the air, it's hard to frame up the shot. To assist with this, a video transmitter feeds video to a set of video goggles or an LCD monitor on the ground. This allows us to see exactly what the camera is seeing in real time.

There has been a lot of controversy recently regarding the commercial use of drones. Until early this year, the CAA required individuals to hold a special authorisation in order to fly drones for commercial purposes. This requirement was recently dropped, so there is currently nothing stopping video producers like ourselves from using these tools. However, it is likely that in the near future, new legislation will be brought in. When this happens, we intend to gain any necessary license to continue our aerial video work.

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