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Quadcopter advice
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Case Offline



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Post: #1
Quadcopter advice
 
Dear Rudi,

What are some good quadcopters to get started shooting some GoPro video ? What are the kinds of budgets one would expect ? What are some things to look out for ?

Do most of these have interchangeable batteries? Most seem to have rather short battery life...

25-Apr-2015 20:55
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Rudi Offline



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Post: #2
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
Hi Case,

If you insist on shooting GoPro, your choices will be quite limited these days. A lot of the quadcopter manufacturers are going away from GoPro and are supplying their own camera solutions instead. The new DJI Phantom 3 has an integrated 3-axis gimbal and camera, and a lot of other manufacturers are going the same way.

If you insist on using a GoPro, your choices will be limited to the remaining stock of the Phantom 1 (unfortunately, DJI have discontinued the Phantom 1 when they released the Phantom 3), a Phantom 2, a Blade 350 QX3 (or QX2 if you can get one cheaper, but stay away from the original 350 QX - the QX2 and QX3 are much improved), or something like the Walkera QRX 350 Pro (you can get this with the G-2D gimbal, which is the gimbal that I use - it's only stabilised in 2 axes, but does the job). You will also need to supply your own gimbal for these quads, one designed with the GoPro in mind. You can of course shoot without a gimbal, and most (if not all) of these quads come with a GoPro holder, but your footage would look much like this - this was shot with a smaller quadcopter, but the principle is the same – non-stabilised footage will look much like this from larger quadcopters as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8tCZdxTvoA . Here is stabilised footage for comparison (this is only a 2-axis gimbal, so there is some vibration in the yaw axis at times, stuff that I would have to sort out in post, if I cared Icon_smile): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnwS5BgninM . (BTW, both of these flights were flown with more verve than I would fly if I was trying to absolutely positively get the shot, so even though the 2-axis gimbal shows some shortcomings in the second video, it is still vastly superior to no stabilisation at all. The yaw vibration can be minimised by flying slow and steady, then the video speed can be adjusted in post. I picked these two videos because they show the worst results from each scenario. BTW, even a 3-axis gimbal will not eliminate all vibration, not if it's severe enough. That said, if I was buying a gimbal today, I'd look at a 3-axis gimbal!).

The best quadcopter for GoPro is currently the 3DR Solo. Or will be, when it becomes available shortly. But... it's not out yet and it's not a "starter" package. Not priced extraordinarily high though, and I expect it will give DJI a run for their money. You can find out more here: http://3drobotics.com

If you're not set on the GoPro, there are several solutions out there: DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ or one of the Phantom 3 models, a Blade 350 QX3 AP Combo, or even something like the Yuneec Typhoon Q500. I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than something the size of a Phantom, because the 350 mm sized quads are about as small as you want for shooting aerial video. (I do recommend smaller quadcopters for learning to fly, but not for aerial video). The Yuneec Typhoon is a larger craft, 500 mm motor-to-motor (diagonally), but that also makes it inherently more stable.

If I was just starting out, I would just get a Phantom 1 and buy a gimbal for it. In fact, that is all I use right now - I still haven't moved up to anything more expensive! You can get a good 2-axis gimbal for not much money (this is the one I have), and even 3-axis gimbals are not all expensive (the Walkera G-3D is a really good gimbal and much cheaper than some of the DJI ZenMuse offerings). But... I already have a GoPro and didn't want to spend much money. In the future, when I'm shopping to replace my current setup, I will most probably go with an integrated solution (I really like the Typhoon Q500 Icon_cheesygrin ).

Hope this helps. Icon_smile

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
28-Apr-2015 12:29
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Case Offline



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Post: #3
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
Thanks Rudi, woa thats alot of information.

I'm familiar and own a gopro so i figured it would give me much better quality footage and would be easily upgrade-able down the line to a better gopro. I think it would also make video processing easier and if i was to use multiple gopros easier to match.

quote:Warning: Never use the DJI Phantom Quadcopter with your GoPro camera when both devices have their Wi-Fi systems turned on. The DJI Phantom's Wi-Fi and the GoPro camera's Wi-Fi run on the same frequency, so if you use them together when both Wi-Fi systems are engaged, the DJI Phantom's transmitter will lose the ability to communicate with the DJI Phantom Quadcopter. Whenever this happens, you will not be able to tell the Phantom where to fly. This may result in loss of property or damage to your equipment.

Oh... that's a rather unfortunate limitation... Icon_sad

400$ GoPro Gimbal
quote:Screwdriver Included
Icon_lol

What are the flight times for the DJ1 ? I think the 3DR stuff is probably outside of my current budget, the Walker G-3D seems more than suitable for my applications.

Are blade guards a good idea for the DJ1 if shooting around people ?

29-Apr-2015 04:25
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June Bug Offline



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Post: #4
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
Case wrote:Are blade guards a good idea for the DJ1 if shooting around people ?
You don't need blade guards around Mike. You need to leave the quad in the car until Mike leaves.

I used to be a lumberjack.

30-Apr-2015 12:03
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Rudi Offline



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Post: #5
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(29-Apr-2015 04:25)Case wrote:  Thanks Rudi, woa thats alot of information.

I'm familiar and own a gopro so i figured it would give me much better quality footage and would be easily upgrade-able down the line to a better gopro. I think it would also make video processing easier and if i was to use multiple gopros easier to match.
Agreed. I went with the GoPro for much the same reasons. It is still one of the best cameras in that class.

(29-Apr-2015 04:25)Case wrote:  
quote:Warning: Never use the DJI Phantom Quadcopter with your GoPro camera when both devices have their Wi-Fi systems turned on. The DJI Phantom's Wi-Fi and the GoPro camera's Wi-Fi run on the same frequency, so if you use them together when both Wi-Fi systems are engaged, the DJI Phantom's transmitter will lose the ability to communicate with the DJI Phantom Quadcopter. Whenever this happens, you will not be able to tell the Phantom where to fly. This may result in loss of property or damage to your equipment.

Oh... that's a rather unfortunate limitation... Icon_sad
It's a limitation, but I just turn the GoPro on and start recording. Sort out the edits later. Stopping and starting the camera sounds fine in theory, but I'd rather concentrate on the flying and edit things later.

(29-Apr-2015 04:25)Case wrote:  What are the flight times for the DJ1 ? I think the 3DR stuff is probably outside of my current budget, the Walker G-3D seems more than suitable for my applications.
My Phantom 1, with the GoPro and gimbal and everything else attached, gets a solid 8-9 minutes of flying per battery (I could probably get around 11-12 minutes without all the camera gear attached). It doesn't sound like much, but is more than enough and these are flight times that leave between 20-30% of battery capacity in the battery at the end of the flight. This improves battery life in the long term, but more importantly - these are SAFE flight times. I *know* I can get 8 minutes of air time, and get the bird back safely.

The Phantom 2 and later models use proprietary batteries that are expensive and only last around 15 minutes (so about double the flight time of the Phantom 1, at most!). They are also expensive: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/10...ttery.html . The batteries that I use in my Phantom only cost me around $10 each: https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor...FPack.html . I'd rather stock up on these than buy the proprietary batteries at an inflated cost, especially since I can monitor my "regular" hobby batteries with a good charger, and keep them in good condition. The DJI proprietary batteries require the DJI proprietary charger, and that does not give me as many options to monitor and condition the batteries as a professional hobby-grade charger.

(29-Apr-2015 04:25)Case wrote:  Are blade guards a good idea for the DJ1 if shooting around people ?
Probably. That said, if you're gonna be bumping into people with your Phantom, they will still get hurt. Icon_smile I don't fly with prop guards, mainly because they add weight and reduce prop efficiency and, as a result, reduce flight times! But... they do not affect flight times too severely and are probably a good idea in the beginning. You can always take them off once you feel comfortable flying without them.

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
30-Apr-2015 14:15
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Sheldon N Online



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Post: #6
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(30-Apr-2015 12:03)June Bug wrote:  
quote:Are blade guards a good idea for the DJ1 if shooting around people?
You don't need blade guards around Mike. You need to leave the quad in the car until Mike leaves.

There seems to be a logical fallacy in your rebuttal argument.

Icon_mrgreen

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30-Apr-2015 14:15
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Rudi Offline



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Post: #7
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(30-Apr-2015 14:15)Sheldon N wrote:  
(30-Apr-2015 12:03)June Bug wrote:  
quote:Are blade guards a good idea for the DJ1 if shooting around people?
You don't need blade guards around Mike. You need to leave the quad in the car until Mike leaves.

There seems to be a logically fallacy in your rebuttal argument.

Icon_mrgreen
Please explain this logically fallacy. And do it logical! Icon_cheesygrin

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
30-Apr-2015 14:17
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Sheldon N Online



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Post: #8
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
Crap!! Icon_lolIcon_lol

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30-Apr-2015 14:18
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June Bug Offline



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Post: #9
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
June Bug wrote:You don't need blade guards around Mike. You need to leave the quad in the car until Mike leaves.
Sheldon N wrote:There seems to be a logical fallacy in your rebuttal argument.
Rudi wrote:Please explain this logically fallacy. And do it logical!

I'm surprised Mic hasn't jumped all over this.

I used to be a lumberjack.

01-May-2015 03:29
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June Bug Offline



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Post: #10
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
Rudi, how common is it for newbie quad pilots to lose sight of their quad copter, and not recover it?

I used to be a lumberjack.

01-May-2015 03:34
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Sheldon N Online



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Post: #11
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(01-May-2015 03:29)June Bug wrote:  I'm surprised Mic hasn't jumped all over this.

I fixed my typo, but only after Rudi mocked me for it.

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01-May-2015 03:47
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Rudi Offline



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Post: #12
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(01-May-2015 03:34)June Bug wrote:  Rudi, how common is it for newbie quad pilots to lose sight of their quad copter, and not recover it?
It's not uncommon, JB. Icon_smile

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
01-May-2015 04:37
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Case Offline



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Post: #13
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
I'm dissapointed by the flight times to be honest...

Hahaha, randomly checked the weight of the x100 compared to a gopro, its 440g vs 200g, no x100 flights anytime soon lol.

I'm keeping a ton of tabs open now, the DJ1 looks like it'll be the way i go, eventually. We all know how slow i like to take things. Icon_biggrin

01-May-2015 04:44
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FJ Love Offline



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Post: #14
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(01-May-2015 04:44)Case wrote:  I'm keeping a ton of tabs open now,

don't crash your PC Icon_lol

01-May-2015 05:16
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Case Offline



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Post: #15
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
The tabs are saved Martin, even if i was to crash my PC, i could still get them all back Icon_biggrin

01-May-2015 05:57
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Rudi Offline



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Post: #16
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(01-May-2015 04:44)Case wrote:  I'm dissapointed by the flight times to be honest...
Most people, new to the hobby, think they want longer flight times. Most of them decide that other things are more important, once they've been flying for a while. Don't get me wrong - longer flight times would always be welcome, but they honestly are not that important in the big scheme of things. That is what extra batteries are for! Icon_cheesygrin

(01-May-2015 04:44)Case wrote:  Hahaha, randomly checked the weight of the x100 compared to a gopro, its 440g vs 200g, no x100 flights anytime soon lol.
My GoPro Hero 3 Black, naked, is 74g. And that is how you want to fly one - the extra 126g is equivalent to the weight of another gimbal!

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
01-May-2015 07:52
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DJ Offline



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Post: #17
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
Case, you get bored after 8 minutes anyway, and your neck gets tired.




01-May-2015 17:00
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June Bug Offline



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Post: #18
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
DJ wrote:Case, you'll lose it in less than 8 minutes anyway, and your neck gets tired searching the sky, looking for the quad-copter that you looked away from for a split second.

There. Fixed if for you.
Case, you should purchase your first flying machine used.
Also, don't mount a GoPro on your maiden voyage.

I used to be a lumberjack.

02-May-2015 00:40
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juice Online



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Post: #19
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
(02-May-2015 00:40)June Bug wrote:  Also, don't mount a maiden on your GoPro voyage.
Sage advice.

02-May-2015 02:43
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June Bug Offline



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Post: #20
RE: Quadcopter advice
 
OK, that made me laugh !!!

I used to be a lumberjack.

02-May-2015 11:42
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