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Old July 12th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #1
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Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

I just bought the new version of the AR.Drone that has an onboard 1280x720 HD camera that can record video to a USB memory stick. It also has improved controls & is easier to fly.

The onboard camera is not great although it is just about good enough for a web page & we did just use it on a paying gig to grab some aerial stills of a real estate property we filmed in the South of France. The rolling shutter is terrible & the stills are only 1280x720 too but it's easier to just record video & grab stills from that.

I have just had delivered a Replay XD 1080 that at 85gms should fly quite easily on the new drone & give considerably better video quality. I have also just ordered a proper radio control modification that should make it even easier & more reliable to fly. There is even a cheap & simple GPS mod that can be fitted to give the drone a homing function. http://mirumod.hopto.org/

The AR.Drone 2.0 is a toy & it's not a patch on a real multi-rotor helicopter but costs a fraction of the price. It's also small & light & very safe so can be flown anywhere without the inherent danger of having a flying lawnmower drop out of the sky as with a larger more professional machine.
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Parrot AR.Drone 2.0-villaa_002.jpeg   Parrot AR.Drone 2.0-villaa_007.jpeg  

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Old July 12th, 2012, 08:55 PM   #2
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Hi Nigel

I would be interested to see how the "Version 2" stands up after some use. I never actually bought a brand new original version but the two I did buy gave me endless issues and I probably had no more than 15 minutes trouble-free flight time.

I eventually sold both to a local guy who admitted he already owned 4 of them and he said you really do need 4 machines so you can canabilise some for spares as replacement motors and boards cost a bomb.

Then again, as you say, it is essentially a toy!!

Keep us updated as to it's reliability ?

Chris
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Old July 13th, 2012, 03:02 AM   #3
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

I am also looking at other means of grabbing low level aerial images. I already use a 7m (23') lighting stand with a battery operated pan & tilt head with a full size camera but I am contemplating purchasing a 15m (50')telescopic fibreglass antenna that could easily be used with a GoPro or similar. Finally there is the low tech balloon option like this
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Old July 13th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Hey Nigel

That is really cool!! For weddings or events you certainly wouldn't need to go that high..in fact for weddings you could get a really neat image maybe 10 or 15 metres up in the air..... I like the balloon idea as it's so smooth. It would probably work well for Real Estate too just with a hand tethered line ..I'm sure 15 metres of line would be manageable. I think I might have placed a couple of cable ties around the camera in the foam block, just in case!!!

For events you could send up the camera just before the start and tether it to a solid point so your GoPro doesn't fly away whilst un-attended

Chris
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Old July 13th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #5
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Glad to see you're fiddling with it Nigel.
I think I'm going to sell my Drone (The last one I got)

I wish I'd known you wanted a Reply. I'd have sold you mine.
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Old July 15th, 2012, 04:58 AM   #6
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Litten View Post
I wish I'd known you wanted a Reply. I'd have sold you mine.
Why? Have you been disappointed with it?
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Old July 15th, 2012, 05:36 AM   #7
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

The only problem with using 50 helium balloons is that you cannot deflate them & re-use the helium plus there is no easy way of storing them from one job to the next or indeed transporting them. There is a special additive that you can spray into latex balloons prior to filling with helium that seals them so that they stay inflated for weeks.
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Old July 15th, 2012, 06:14 AM   #8
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Hi Nigel

It still wouldn't be a too expensive lifting device even if you cheered and let the balloons go .. at a wedding it could be a special event ...grab the camera and let everyone clap and cheer as they are released??? You do guys have the kits that are mentioned in the video??


Chris
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Old July 15th, 2012, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

I had actually found the disposable helium cylinders on Amazon.co.uk: Low Prices in Electronics, Books, Sports Equipment & more before I found that video. It's obviously a fairly recent product but they appear to be widely available worldwide (including Australia BALLOON TIME STANDARD HELIUM BALLOON KIT NOAH LATEX CYLINDER KIDS PARTY DECO | eBay) for about 30/$50 enough to fill 50 party balloons. I am just about to order a cylinder & will report back. I am tempted by one of these but doubt that it will lift a camera although they are 4.5 feet long apparently AIR SWIMMERS Helium Blimp Type Remote Controlled R/C Large Flying Fish UK SELLER | eBay

The balloon option could be quite a hit at large indoor weddings.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #10
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Great concept but they could have gone with a less jello-cam sensor. That is some serious jello in their promo videos!
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #11
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Great concept but they could have gone with a less jello-cam sensor. That is some serious jello in their promo videos!
That's why I didn't post any video but just used stills grabbed from the video. You can take still photos but the resolution is no better than the 1280x720 video so you may as well just shoot 30 stills per second & choose from them when the flight is over rather than atempt to hit the shutter button at just the right moment.

The jello is only partly the fault of the sensor but is also down to the vibration of the motors. Isolating the camera from vibration is quite difficult with a little helicopter.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #12
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

My R/C mod arrived today & in between rain showers (it is after all summer here in the UK) I managed to try it out. It is much, much easier to control the drone when fitted. While the iPhone interface is cool actually operating proper joysticks is far more natural & positive with decent feedback. You can still operate the camera from the iPhone.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:52 PM   #13
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Go Pro might do well if they made an easy to fly copter with one of their cameras built in with all of the preview & WiFi built in.
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Old July 20th, 2012, 11:31 PM   #14
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Re: Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Go Pro might do well if...
They seem to be doing quite well for themselves already. :)

-gb-
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