And I broke it within a week on the second flight…
I got a pretty good deal on a DJI Phantom 2 + Zenmuse H3-3D Gimbal along with First Person View (FPV) Transmitter and Screen that mounts on the controller.The Gimbal it made specifically to hold a GoPro Hero 3 or 4 and it all came in a purpose made and padded backpack.
I was like a kid on 15 tons of sugar at Christmas…times infinity! This was something I had been after for ages. I hadn’t bought myself something that could be classed as a “toy” yet still have serious business potential once certain licences are in place.
After very quickly reading…ok skimming the quick start guide (does anyone actually read the full manual on anything as cool as this?) we were ready for it’s maiden flight. My friend Dean joined me for the first flight as he had some experience with these contraptions. We set the GPS (so it didn’t just fly off) and we LAUNCHED!
The first flight went well considering I had never flown anything RC ever and it’s easy to see why some companies are using these for aerial photography work. They’re awesome and it’s 100% something I’m considering getting the license for so we can legally use it for paid work within the Civil Aviation Authority’s strict guidelines. Yes the license is A LOT but once you’ve got that sorted the sky is quite literally the limit and at the least would be amazing to offer to couples for their weddings.
The second flight was undertaken around where we have our photography studio. The footage up around Ashford Reservoir and in the orchard looks so good! We are truly blessed to be able to use this stunning setting for family and engagement shoots giving them a totally unique feel.
I wanted to practice low flying as it’s cool and because I think it’s what I would use the quadcopter mainly for when I eventually get the required license although I had to take it up high a couple of times to show the stunning surrounding countryside.
You can skip to the end if you’re just here for the crash, otherwise please sit back and enjoy some lovely views over Ashford Reservoir and a nice flight through this very old, beautiful orchard.
After I had done some low flying I turned my attention to getting as close as I dared to some of the trees. As the old saying goes…”Practice makes perfect” …well, perfection doesn’t come over night…a slight gust of wind on what had already been a fairly risky flight already took the Phantom on an updraft into some branches which were hardier than the rotorblades and….. the inevitable happened.
As Neil Armstrong wisely once said:
“You’ve got to expect things are going to go wrong. And we always need to prepare ourselves for handling the unexpected.”
I thought I handled it quite well! It’s all fun and nothing was seriously damaged…or so I thought. I bent the gimbals Y-Axis and tore part of the main ribbon for the controlling of the gimbals entire functions…..OOPS! Good job I like taking things apart! After I had bent the arm back straight using 2 pairs of molegrips I emailed DJI to see if they could send me a new main ribbon as nobody sells them….and THEY DID!So now I just have to find time to replace it.
In case you’re wondering, Currypool Orchard is part of Currypool Mill Camping park. It is a fully working organic apple orchard where the owners make a range of some of the tastiest pure apple juices you’ve tasted from a variety of apples that grow in the orchard. They also make chutney, apple cider vinegar and an assortment of jams. The orchard is also home to a large swarm of very active honeybees making delicious appley nectar infused honey! Find them on Facebook.
Whether you call them a Quadcopter/Drone/UAV/crazy flying camera thingymajig I just put all of them so:
a) more people would see it in their search results and
b) to wind up the purists (although it is technically is a quadcopter).
DJI have sent me the new ribbon and I’m waiting for a few free hours to strip the gimbal down and rebuild it with the new ribbon but I can’t see that happening for a few months as we’re so busy going through and editing all of the weddings we’ve captured this season! It’s been a truly insanely busy couple of months with weddings nearly every weekend from April to now!
Royalty free MUSIC used in the two videos are:
“Running Waters” by Audionautix. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)