DJI Phantom for GoPro

Very rarely do I find myself in a situation where a ‘thing’ is more impressive in real life than the marketing guys have actually tried to sell you….I tend to buy things based on the “expect 50% to be true” rule and then I’m not majorly disappointed – Today that rule was broken, I was genuinely shocked.

Being as yesterday was Friday we went out for a ‘meal’ at a place that sold eatable products, we found it rather busy as it turned out the place was also licensed to sell alcohol so was limited in it’s range of refreshing soft drinks, nevertheless we struggled through…Due to it’s busy nature it took us so long to get served and sufficiently ‘refreshed’ with soft drinks that some of us didn’t manage to get back until well past 3.30am this morning…Disgusted with all this ‘waiting’ many of us swore this morning that ‘we would never do it again’……like usual..

Whilst out I was waiting for my food I got talking to a couple of the guys about ‘UAV’s (unmanned aeriel vehicles) and how I wanted to buy a commercial model to use for filming with my GoPro camera. For those who have been in a coma for the past five years you may wish to google ‘GoPro’ at this point and get an understanding of exactly what this little camera can do, it has changed the way people record movies and made a range of high definition recording options available to the general public at an affordable price, I own two and will likely soon own a third.

The UAV basically allows you to strap a GoPro underneath and film in the same way that a helicopter would with fast, smooth, sweeping ground shots and high altitude panaramas – To try and achieve this type of photography 5 years ago would have required either a very rich friend with a Hughes 500 or the best part of $5000 an hour for recording. The commercial UAV I’ve had my eye on for the last few months is manufactured by a company called DJI and the model is specifically designed for the GoPro called the ‘Phantom’ – They retail at around $800 Aus but with extra batteries, spare carbon props, prop guard protection and a carry case you can pretty much say goodbye to a thousand bucks without blinking……

So, anyway, whilst exchanging polite quips with my colleagues and supping on my glacially filtered mango squash Josh piped up that he’d already bought himself a Phantom, that he hadn’t used it yet and was going to try it the next day….”Awesome” I said……..Whilst waiting for our long overdue food……(cough)

I met up with Josh this morning at about 10am, for some reason nursing the regular pulsating cranial injury I appear to get on Saturday mornings, we rendezvoused at the memorial park next to the main shipping wharf – It was blowing about 15 – 20 knots, pretty gusty and given my prior (disastrous) experience with RC helicopters I really didn’t hold out much hope of this thing being able to fly in a crosswind of this strength…

After an initial teething problem of a mechanical nature (Two of the counter rotating props being on the wrong spindles) it was up and running……..Man this thing is seriously awesome with a capital ‘O’….

The reason this thing is so good is due to some clever onboard trickery that allows it to fly by monitoring it’s position relative to the ground via a GPS sensor, if you tell it to hover, it will just sit in place, at that altitude and will automatically adjust it’s position with tiny engine pulses to keep it at the exact place you set it….Even in the gusty wind it was moving by no more than 100mm relative to it’s original position. these things are so simple to fly it lets you get on with enjoying it for it’s real purpose of assisting with creative filming…

It also has a really cool ‘Go Home’ feature – If the Phantom is airborne and suddenly loses connectivity with the controller it will climb to a height of 50ft and then navigate its way back to the original GPS co-ordinates at which it commenced it’s flight, slowly descend until it lands and then shut down….We tested this and it was awesome, the phantom is once again, AWESOME!!

2 thoughts on “DJI Phantom for GoPro

  1. Pingback: DJI Phantom | Cine Photo Tools

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