If you’re ready to take to the skies with your first drone, you’ll want to learn the basics first.
Drone technology is getting better and better every year, making it easier for beginners to take it out of the box and take to the skies. However, even the most basic drone has a bit of a learning curve. So, if you’re ready to shoot some sweet aerial shots but don’t really know how to get off the ground, this video from Darious Britt of D4Darious shows you the basics of drone operation, from rules and regulations you need to follow before you take off to flight exercises you can practice once you’re in the air. Check it out below:
Part 107, the latest in legislative FAA goodness and the requirements for commercial drone use in the U.S., was released June 21, 2016. This is the big jump we all have been waiting for as it relates to the UAS community, and it makes the lives of those wanting to get into commercial drone work a little easier.
For those that fly for recreation, you can stop reading now and go and play. Nothing here for you.
Here is a quick sum up of what the FAA put out:
What you must do
Register your aircraft with the FAA and mark the aircraft appropriately
Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test through an “FAA-approved knowledge testing center” OR if you already hold a Part 61 certificate (often referred to as a pilot’s license), pass an online course (Part 107 training is expected to launch today at faasafety.gov)
Apply for and receive a remote pilot airman certificate with an UAS rating
Pass a pilot’s knowledge test every two years
Conduct preflight checks to ensure that UAS are in safe operational condition
Nils been piloting remotely piloted vehicles since 1986, specializing in aerial imaging. He has supported the US Department of Homeland Security for over 10 years, Volkswagen of North America and been on Hollywood production teams. He has over 5500 hours of RPV flight time and is one of the principal engineers with the latest UFOptic 8 helicopter. Prior to co-founding Cavus Media LLC, Nils was a United States Army Combat Medic stationed at Walter Reed Hospital and has been a volunteer fireman/EMT for over 20 years, in addition to being a Father/Husband.
Back in December, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its official registration rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) in the United States. It’s important that you register yourself as a user before you embark on your first flight.
The process takes about 5 minutes. Just create an account, fill out your profile, review the FAA safety guidelines, and boom — you’re officially equipped to recreationally operate a flying camera in the wild! You do not have to have your (drone) Camera in hand to register.
Until January 20th, 2016 you can register free of charge. After January 20th, all registrants may be subject to a $5 fee. That’s the equivalent of one fancy coffee you’d be missing out on.
You MUST mark any and all aircraft with your number before you operate them.
The number must be visible without using tools. You may mark it inside the battery compartment if that is accessible. You may use any method to affix the number that ensures it remains visible, including permanent marker, label, or engraving.
To operate as a hobbyist, you must operate according to the safety guidance you have acknowledged and in accordance with a community based set of safety guidance. For further information on the safety guidance visit faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft/
The FAA proposed new rules for drone flight. Check out the full press release here. What does this mean for the video industry? It is actually not as bad as the last proposal that wanted all drone flyers to get a pilots license. Some high points (pun intended) are:
“An operator would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an FAA UAS operator certificate.”
“To maintain certification, the operator would have to pass the FAA knowledge tests every 24 months.”
“A small UAS operator would not need any further private pilot certifications (i.e., a private pilot license or medical rating).”
With these newly proposed rules it offers some regulation around drone flight which is great for safety. What do you think about the proposed regulations and does your company operate a drone? Continue the conversation and update us here.
The current unmanned aircraft rules remain in place until the FAA implements a final new rule. The FAA encourages new operators to visit: http://www.knowbeforeyoufly.org
AirDog is a small, agile, foldable quadcopter, especially designed for filmmakers and action sports enthusiasts who use GoPro cameras.
Like its canine namesake, AirDog automatically follows you wherever you go, whatever you do. It’s not bothered by pelting rain, freezing temps, massive waves, or freaking insane places. AirDog doesn’t say “no.” It just follows, flying right along.
AirDog is your sidekick, just in case you can’t rent a helicopter plus professional photographer to take a video of your black diamond run. AirDog is your personal training assistant, allowing you to review what you’re doing right, and where you need to improve. AirDog can transport you to views that you never thought possible. AirDog can persuade others to join you in your extremes.
Just strap the AirLeash (tracker device) on your wrist or helmet, and the AirDog is ready to follow you.
Inside, AirDog is really complex technology. But using and controlling AirDog is really simple.
Here’s the basic idea
AirDog follows a signal from the programmable tracker – AirLeash. We could use a smartphone, but you need more precise tracking for actions sports. So we designed AirLeash.
The AirLeash is a small waterproof computerized tracker with clever software and sensors inside. It sends signals to the AirDog, indicating exact movement trajectory.
It may look bulky now, but as soon as we start production it will be half the size and with multiple attachment opportunities (helmet, snow-googles, wrist, bike handle-bar, etc)
The drone performs inflight calculations to correct its flying pattern, and points the camera at the user wearing AirLeash.
Takeoff and landing is completely autonomous, freeing you to focus on your performance. It will land at the end of your track, or return to the takeoff spot when the battery begins to run low.An alarm on the AirLeash tells you when AirDog’s battery is too low to continue.
We spent countless caffeine-fueled hours, hacking intelligent flight code algorithms. The result is functionality that allows AirDog to follow you while you’re riding down the slope or flipping around on a halfpipe. You don’t have to worry about controlling the camera.
Strap it on, cue it up, and do epic things.
There are six Follow modes that you can configure and control with your AirLeash and smartphone app. Each one is a great choice and will deliver stunning results, regardless of your sport. You’ll probably want to use all six.
1. Auto-follow. Will work with almost any sports. In this mode AirDog will follow you repeating exactly your movement trajectory while maintaining its position in preset distance and altitude from you. It will follow you at speeds up to 40 mph.
2. Relative position follow. In this mode AirDog will maintain constant offset relative to magnetic north from the rider. For example, you can set it to keep a 10 meter distance at 4 meters high to the east from your position. Even when you change your direction, the AirDog will stay at the same preset angle from you. We suggest this mode for straight line wakeboard cable parks, surfing, and some other sports.
3. Follow track. This is the safest way to operate AirDog. Simply go for one lap with AirLeash and it will record your track. Then adjust AirDogs trajectory to your liking in smartphone app. AirDog will repeatedly fly over the exact set trajectory and the camera will be continually adjusted to aim at the rider.This is the most creative mode where you can become a true director of your movie. Adjust AirDog’s trajectory to avoid obstacles like buildings or trees. You can even make it to shoot you from different angle on different spots/kickers in the track. It might sound complicated, but its a simple few tap process in AirDog smartphone app.
4. Hover and Aim. The Hover and Aim setting allows AirDog to stay in one position above the ground, but constantly directing the camera at the AirLeash. This setting is perfect for tight places such as smaller skateparks, narrow forest trails, or for activities such as bungee jumping or base jumping, where clearance from equipment is important.
5. Circle. In this setting, AirDog makes circular rotations on a set radius and altitude, keeping the camera aimed at the AirLeash. This for slow speed or static shots to show impressive view around you.
6. Look down. The most simple mode but can produce very stunning results. Simply “walk” your AirDog above a ramp or kicker where you are about to throw some epic tricks and with push of a button it will freeze its position and aim camera straight down. Now make sure you don’t go too high.
Not satisfied with all these amazing options? No worries.
We’ll always be adding new flight modes through firmware and app updates. We depend on user feedback to continually develop Airdog into something that’s jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring.
The AirDog is designed to go farther and higher than you thought possible. If you’ve ever wanted to shoot an edgy music video from off a cliff, the AirDog is your solution. If you’re shooting an indie movie, and want some clutch aerial shots for the car chase scene, the AirDog is happy to oblige.
Video producers take note! The following detailed map shows you all the places you can and cannot fly a drone.
Video drones are awesome. From shooting incredible nature footage to superhero spoofs, drones can create some spectacular videos. So it’s no surprise that the market is flooded with new drone models coming out. As video drones get cheaper we can expect to see more and more flying through the skies.
However, concerns surrounding drone safety have begun to find their way into pop culture. For example, a runner at the Geraldton Endure Batavia triathlon in western Australia received injuries after allegedly being struck with a drone. In Ohio a man faces felony charges after refusing to down his drone so a medical helicopter could land. Even the name “drone” implies scary robot overlords or unmanned death planes. With all the negative press surrounding drones, it’s no surprise that there has been stricter regulations in regard to drone piloting.
As of June 21, 2014 national parks have been designated “no drone” zones along with airspace surrounding airports. 11 states have already passed drone regulatory legislation with many more to come, so figuring out where you can and cannot fly a drone can be really quite confusing.
Luckily for us the good people at The Verge have created an interactive showing us where drones are prohibited. This map only takes into account “no fly zones” surrounding national parks, military bases, and airports. Before you fly a drone for your next big project you need to make sure your state allows for commercial drone use.
After putting money behind the push for revamped commercial drone laws, Hollywood is officially petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration to let filmmakers fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) before final rules are put in place. Seven aerial production companies have requested an exemption from flight regulations, pilot licensing requirements, and airworthiness certification rules, none of which have been finalized. FAA rules allow the agency to grant exemptions for “narrowly-defined, controlled, low-risk situations,” and film and video companies hope that includes using low-cost drones for shots that would otherwise require a helicopter.
“Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer the motion picture and television industry an innovative and safer option for filming,” says Neil Fried of the MPAA, which facilitated the petition. “This new tool for storytellers will allow for creative and exciting aerial shots, and is the latest in a myriad of new technologies being used by our industry to further enhance the viewer experience.” In order to actually get the exemptions, however, the companies must prove that their plan would benefit the public good, and that it would not create unsafe conditions. If the FAA approves those exemptions, it will still need to approve individual operations.
Currently, public-sector groups like police, fire departments, or government agencies can obtain exemptions to operate UAVs. According to an FAA release, agricultural groups, power line and pipeline inspectors, and oil and gas flare inspectors have also approached the agency about exemptions and are considering their own petitions. Small drones are already common video tools, but they hover in uncertain legal territory. Private hobbyists are generally allowed to fly them under 400 feet outside populated areas, but the FAA hasn’t created robust regulations for for-profit flights, though Congress has ordered it to do so by 2015. Until then, commercial drone flight is officially banned, with a court case that could legalize it stuck in appeals. In late May, a real estate photographer who uses UAVs to shoot houses received a notice from the FAA advising him that there was no legal framework for his business.
If this exemption is granted, it’s extremely unlikely you’d see Hollywood drones filming a busy street scene in Manhattan, but they could be used as cheaper and arguably safer alternatives to traditional aerial photography on controlled sets. While there’s no timeline for when the FAA will consider a petition, it faces mounting pressure to make commercial UAV flight easier — alongside the film industry, Amazon is reportedly pushing for a way to fly its delivery drones to customers. A number of news media companies, including The New York Times Company and the Associated Press, also oppose the current ban on First Amendment grounds.
As a Connecticut photojournalist moves forward with legal action against a police department after being suspended for flying a camera-equipped aerial drone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is publishing information on its website to clarify rules and regulations, or lack thereof.
The FAA sent a Tweet Thursday linking to a post titled “Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft.” The FAA responds to issues ranging from what airspace the federal agency controls to enforcement efforts for those caught flying the drones.
The FAA points out in “Myth #3” that it distinguishes no grey area when it comes to federal aviation rules and regulations. “Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval,” the post said. Of course, we know the FAA recently launched a series of test sites around the country to study how to best authorize commercial drone flights. As for the argument the FAA is behind other countries in regulating and allowing commercial drone flights, “Developing all the rules and standards we need is a very complex task, and we want to make sure we get it right the first time,” the post countered.
We’ve already seen some terrific aerials from RED’s EPIC DRAGON camera, and a new aerial video of Los Angeles from Axiom Images — not to be confused with the Apertus Axiom camera — really shows off the strengths of the new sensor. With its small size, 6K resolution, excellent dynamic range, and better low-light performance than the MX sensor, it may just be the perfect camera to take up into the sky. Check out the video below:
As far as the noise goes, with the MX I felt that 1280ISO was getting sketchy and 1600ISO was pushing it. With Dragon, I feel very comfortable with 2000ISO. The noise didn’t scream at me like it normally does. I need to pull up some older aerials and compare the two side by side, but I won’t have a chance until I’m back from NY.
The most impressive parts are the night shots. While LA is pretty well-lit at night, compared to what we used to get with film, these new digital sensors are simply stunning. CJ and the team shot on with 18-85mm Fuji Premiere in 5K (since that lens didn’t cover the full 6K sensor all the way through). Here’s a photo showing their setup in the PictorVision Eclipse rig:
For more on the Eclipse rig, here’s a nifty product video:
Obviously these kinds of setups are not cheap rentals, but the results speak for themselves, and many of these kinds of clips are available from companies like Axiom to purchase. For more information on the rig and Axiom images, check out the links below.