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Old November 7th, 2014, 09:09 AM   #1
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New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

We've never flown before, but with this guy, the AirDog, we just might (OK, my wife REALLY wants it).

We shoot only weddings (so far) and I know that a quad copter camera is just a tool, like a slider, to get a couple of (really, really cool) shots. I know it's *mostly* a toy for now.

The functionality of this, especially the leash (put it in your pocket, and it will follow you at a designated height, distance, angle) seems both easy and very useful... I'm thinking of it tracking a bride as she walks to the groom for a 1st look; or similar uses.

Heck, the thing will even repeat a pattern for you, automatically.

From you smarter people, any reason I *shouldn't* consider this?

https://www.airdog.com/
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Old November 7th, 2014, 09:44 AM   #2
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

They sure are the next plaything for weddings but in my country they are forbidden to be used commercially if you don't have a pilotlicense and for every use you need to get approval.
If you plan on using these you really need to be a 2 man team and it's use is also very limited, you can get a few shots of the venue, maybe use it during a photoshoot but that's about it, I would see it more usefull for corporate videos where the company wants to have a aerial shot of their buildings but I rather just hire someone that has a license and deals with the paperwork to get approval.
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Old November 7th, 2014, 10:00 AM   #3
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

According to them availability Feb 2015. Kickstarter projects, atleast the ones I have backed, have had long gestation periods. Some take more than even a year. I can certainly state that there is a level of uncertainty to these projects. :)

PS: Heisenberg's uncertainty principle comes to my mind...
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Old November 7th, 2014, 10:44 AM   #4
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Drones certainly give a different perspective on weddings and I have a Phantom with gimbal and GoPro that I have taken quite a lot of footage with.

However there are a number of things to think about before going down that route. as Noa said, a number of countries now require a license to fly and approval for each commercial operation. There are also restrictions on how close to buildings and people you can fly to conform with the regs. There are also technical issues to consider, such as the flying time available from a battery pack and how many you would need to be sure of getting the footage you want. Set up time is also a consideration as you will need to set up a FPV monitor to view what you are filming and frame shots correctly, this is in addition to the time needed to prepare the drone. Noise is another consideration as even the small drones can be quite noisy. If you want to fly anything other than a GoPro size camera, then weight will be very important, with the need for a bigger and very much more expensive drone if you want to carry a compact or even DSLR. More weight also equals shorter flying time.

At the moment, a drone at a wedding it is a fashionable gimmick, but you really need to have at least one extra person involved, which again means more cost and the risk of not being able to fly if the weather prevents it.

A couple of other things to think about, is that it may well be possible to fly a small drone like the Phantom, tethered, which would mean that in some countries such as the UK, many of the rules for a conventional flight don't apply, I believe even the requirement for a license.

I have also been thinking for a while of investigating the possibilities of a helium filled tethered balloon, just big enough to lift a GoPro and gimbal. It would be extremely simple, cheap to operate and could stay in the air totally silently all day. A small double winch with about 200ft of fishing line would be enough to tether it stably and should not really take any more time to set up than a drone, with the advantage of being able to leave it in position. If the winch is mounted on a small wheeled trolley it would also be easy to reposition. Anyway, just an idea if anyone has any thoughts on it. I could always start a new thread if anyone is interested in debating the idea.

Roger
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Old November 7th, 2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Roger I have seen a YouTube video where a two man team did a helium balloon setup tethered with fishing line tether. No gimble. Just fit it into styrofoam.

We're not considering A quad copter. Only THIS one. No manual controls required. No assembly before use. Use the phone app to tell it how to follow you (or whomever is holding the wrist/ankle tracker) and let it go. Their most recent announcement has a delay in shipment from December to February so they can install a ground sensor to help avoid collisions.

Noise is one thing I am concerned about. No idea what to expect.

I really don't want to use this often. Maybe a few establishing shots, then trying to figure out one or two other creative ways to use it (like tracking the bride and/or groom walking to a spot).
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Old November 7th, 2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Hi Robert, I posted a response on the other thread where you mentioned this, but I am very doubtful that it will be licensable for commercial use such as weddings. All license conditions that I have seen, require the quad to be under control and in line of sight view of the operator at all times. The Airdog appears to be a fully automated tracking quad that will follow an electronic tether on a person, particularly for extreme sports. That would involve it being not only out of manual control, but also out of sight of the user while participating in their sport.

Even well established quads under manual control have been known to be affected by random radio transmission. At least under manual control there may be an opportunity to recover, but the results of an automated quad at a wedding being affected by a spurious transmission doesn't bear thinking about in my
opinion.

I think that the idea of having an additional tracking device on a manually controlled quad such as the Phantom, could be very useful if there was an operator permanently manning it.

Roger
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Old November 7th, 2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

My thoughts behind having a gimbal mounted camera on a tethered balloon, is that it would be quite easy to incorporate a gimbal controller to aim the camera.

Roger
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Old November 7th, 2014, 01:51 PM   #8
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

A pretty fair concern, Roger.

It looks like the AirLeash (tracker) is also the manual controller, and you can buy a 2nd one to take control. I've also sent a question regarding the control app. If each allows manual flying, I think I'm in.

Here is the note from AirDog about lost signal:

If for any reason AirDog loses the AirLeash signal, it will hold its position at the point where signal was lost. The AirDog will hover for 30 seconds, then do one of the following: a) fly to the takeoff spot, or b) land at the spot where the signal was lost. You can set preferred behavior using the AirDog mobile app. New behaviors may be added over time, and will be available with firmware updates.
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Old November 7th, 2014, 02:55 PM   #9
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

See my reply on the other thread. IF I were to be in the market for a drone, I'd wait to buy it until has actually been available on the market for a while.
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Old November 7th, 2014, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

The return to home on signal loss has been standard on other drones for a while, including the Phantom. The thing is that with manual control you are watching whats happening and inputting the movements yourself. With the Airdog it is under auto control and it may not be loss of signal but rather a control signal being affected that may change direction of flight while nobody is monitoring it.

I realise that it is hypothetical, but it is relying on automation when deviation could be dangerous.

Roger
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Old November 9th, 2014, 08:37 AM   #11
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Hey Roger

Here is the guy that used party balloons and a fishing rod!!

A Go Pro + some helium balloons + fishing line = cheap aerial photography | Video Contest News - Featuring News about Video Contests!

Chris
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Old November 9th, 2014, 09:15 AM   #12
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Those are some very important points, Roger. IF the device they call a leash does allow manual control like we would expect, I'll still probably buy this (yes, after its actually come out). Then I'll have to buy a 2nd one IF I choose to use the drone for moments with people instead of just scenery.

Even then, my caution would be to avoid anything where the flyer gets within 15-20 meters of a person who isn't me. One reason I though the 4K in the new GoPro would be nice.... I could have this flying nice and safely high, using post processing to make closer/tighter shots.

Thank you for walking me through the concerns and potential idiocy, gentlemen.
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Old November 9th, 2014, 09:23 AM   #13
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Thanks for that Chris, very entertaining if not quite what I had in mind. I was thinking more in terms of one larger balloon with fins to keep it into wind, and twin lines to be more controllable. I'll have to work out volume to lift ratio to see what size would be possible. Not a lot of use if it needs to be Goodyear blimp size though!

Roger
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Old November 9th, 2014, 09:33 AM   #14
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Those are some very important points, Roger. IF the device they call a leash does allow manual control like we would expect, I'll still probably buy this (yes, after its actually come out). Then I'll have to buy a 2nd one IF I choose to use the drone for moments with people instead of just scenery.

Even then, my caution would be to avoid anything where the flyer gets within 15-20 meters of a person who isn't me. One reason I though the 4K in the new GoPro would be nice.... I could have this flying nice and safely high, using post processing to make closer/tighter shots.

Thank you for walking me through the concerns and potential idiocy, gentlemen.
I think you will find that even unlicensed flying will need to comply with FAA and CAA rules which will require you to be a lot further than 15-20 meters from people and property. You will still need to be licensed if you are using the quad in pursuit of your business eg wedding filming. The licensing in the UK requires written examination and practical flying tests after approved training. I haven't got the details to hand but costs are in thousands of pounds rather than hundreds. The US laws are probably similar or will be soon and the risks of flying without official approval, in the event of an accident, are likely to be catastrophic from a financial viewpoint.

Roger
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Old November 9th, 2014, 07:31 PM   #15
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Re: New Drone Seems awesome - Talk Me Out of It?

I have always wondered how far you actually need to go skywards to get a shot of maybe the wedding party outside the Church. If you stick a POV cam on a say 5 m pole and hoist it up into the air the wide angle would easily capture all the people .... When it comes to filming people do you really want to show the venue with tiny specks on the ground being the guests? I have done a few shots from a 1st floor balcony with a GoPro and it appears a LOT higher POV than the human eye would perceive. Even one of my cams on a mere 6' lighting stand appears on video as being as least 3 times higher and I cannot see any point in filming bridal party and guests from a height where you cannot even recognise they are people.

I wonder if there is a simple method where you could get a camera high enough up so it looks like an aerial shot but avoid using a quadracopter ?? I did see a thread somewhere with guys using action cams on long fibreglass poles to inspect power line insulators and it saved them a fortune doing it from the ground instead of hiring a chopper.

Here is some video with a 16' pool pole

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