Phantom

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Phantom

Postby The Rat » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:03 pm

For those who are not yet aware of it, I made a video of the WWFM event in Cesar Chavez Plaza last weekend from the video I shot with my Phantom quadrotor. The link is here. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I am still on the steep early end of the learning curve both of flying the Phantom and making videos, but if you have a good geocaching project for aerial photos and would like me to make a video of it, let me know. Wouldn't you like a photo/video of you at the top of that telephone pole or tree?

To be suitable for this, bear in mind several rather severe limitations that might affect the choice:
1. No long hikes. The Phantom isn't heavy, but it's bulky, awkwardly shaped, and somewhat fragile. I don't have a special carrier. So it has to be at a place close to where I can park.
2. Many jurisdictions prohibit quadrotors - the MROSD, for example. They don't even allow them where all the model planes are flown at Rancho San Antonio. I was rousted there.
3. No flying over private residential property. A lot of people get really freaked about privacy or noise.
4. I need considerable open space for launch and flight. The Phantom can be tricky to fly at times, especially in wind (which is always much stronger as it goes up) and I need to be able to keep it in sight while flying it. Dense forest or urban high-rises are not suitable places to fly it.
5. My setup is is not anywhere near high-end. I don't have a gimbal or first-person view. If you don't know what those are, you can look them up on YouTube to see their importance if you care, but the point is that I can't guarantee a good result. I could miss it all or get only poor footage. You get what you get.
6. Currently I only have two batteries and I get at most 10 minutes of flying time with each when I have the camera on, so I can't video an entire trek/event, etc. If the assault on a cache is expected to be short, that's much better than videoing a long, fruitless search only to miss the final moment. I may buy another battery or a car charger at some point.
7. I could go on with other limitations, but to focus on the positives, maybe a cache with an iconic building or tall artwork within sight would work. For example, I did a video on Skycan. Multi-levels, like in a parking garage might work if the action can be seen from the outside. I think it would work great with a near-to-shore kayaking group effort. I'm not afraid to fly over water as long as it's not too windy or too far away from shore, and I can time the good action right.
8. Anyway, don't let me discourage you from asking. I'll say no if I have to and explain why. Maybe we can figure out a way to do it or something similar. BTW, I don't have a smart phone or standard video camera, so if you have one and want some non-aerial footage you could bring that and we could combine the video into a final product. My action camera (SJ1000) can be used on the ground or mounted on bikes, etc., too, so the limitations do not apply to the camera, only the aerial part.

If interested, you can contact me through my geocaching profile (THE RAT) or message me through the forum here. Most of you probably have my email address or phone number already.
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Re: Phantom

Postby not2b » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:14 am

In other Phantom-related news: allegedly someone used a Phantom to spy on the French World Cup team's pratice (though I suppose it might just be some media organization trying to get cool pictures).

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/06/france-cries-foul-at-world-cup-spy-drone/
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Re: Phantom

Postby The Rat » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:07 pm

Oh yeah, I heard about that. There's a forum for Phantom owners with all kinds of stories, mostly horror stories. Most have videos authenticating them, too. A guy was videoing the Grand Canyon and let his Phantom get caught in a downdraft. It crashed into the canyon wall as he tried to bring it back. He crawled over the edge (over a railing warning not to cross it) and climbed down the sheer cliff. He retrieved it successfully, but risked his life. Someone else was hovering his Phantom over the crowd at the Stanley Cup finals waiting to enter the stadium. The crowd was yelling that it was police drone (it wasn't) and started throwing stuff at it, coming close. Instead of flying it to a safe place the owner kept it hovering there and finally someone snagged it with a sweatshirt. The Phantom was knocked down several feet, but almost recovered, then someone else smacked it with his skateboard, knocking it to the ground where the crowd stomped it (and a GoPro Hero3) to pieces. $1500 or so down the drain. Another idiot flew his over AT&T Stadium in Dallas, and lost radio contact with it when it went over the wall. It then tried to return to its home point as programmed and crashed into the roof, where it stayed. I think he got it back. A woman on a beach in Maryland physically attacked a kid flying his Phantom over the beach. She was ripping at his face and screaming at him to stop filming. He tried to hold her off, but felt he couldn't hit a woman and mostly just took her attack, filming it with his cell phone while the Phantom flew overhead shooting video of surf. He called the cops and the woman was eventually arrested. There are tons of Phantom pilots on their second or third Phantom, mostly due to their own stupid conduct or ignorance about the Phantom. That's just the tip of the iceberg. As the TV show used to say, "There are eight million stories in the Naked City...."
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