I got rules when I fly. This weekend I broke most of them. We traveled up to Centerville, Iowa to film a festival and some footage of the area. I took both my Sexycopter drone and the little DJI Phantom Vision 2+. I love both these helis for different reasons. The Phantom is a wonderful compact unit. One battery powers everything. The gimbal is amazing and the GoPro style camera does a decent job. The Sexycopter is a maintenance beast that has a much shorter flight time which is around 5 minutes compared to 20 on the Phantom. It is big and relatively heavy. I love it because it will carry a GH4 and I can shoot 4k. Back to my rules. Do not fly over crowds. Nor shalt thou fly over water. Thou shalt not exceed an altitude of 400 feet. And obviously, never close to an airport. And don’t freak, I did not break that rule.  Another good commandment is always maintain line of sight. Prior to this shoot I had extensive conversations with the director Nick. I was careful to explain the inherent dangers of aerial photography. I am pretty confident he was not listening. Our first location was shooting wake boarders at Lake Rathbun. I knew this was part of the plan so I deployed the little Phantom, all decked out with little floatation devices just in case. A wakeboard boat cruises around 22 mph or so.

I found that landing on a moving object was a little tricker than what I expected.


The DJI camera does pretty good, but I have noticed some artifacting in some of the video. It looks pretty compressed and a little more crispy than a GoPro. But for a stunt rig that might take a swim, I am happy with the footage. I ran it through an optic compensation filter to take the wide angle bend out and maybe did not use the best render method. I will mess with that later. For situations where we would be around people or over water, we flew the Phantom. For the bigger wide open stuff, we used the Sexycopter with the amazing GH4 at 4k. The footage has been run through stabilizer and color corrected with my very limited color correction skills. I am not good at it is what I am saying. Winds for the most part where relatively calm with afternoon winds around 12 mph. Nick was understanding, or at least pretended to be, when I would say no to one of his many dangerous ideas, which was nice. It was a very good weekend. Here is a little highlight reel of our festivities.


No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *