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Old Feb 20, 2013, 08:53 AM
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therczone's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Jan 2003
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Help!
Stable aircraft for GoPro for broadcast news

I'm sure this has been discussed many times before but I'm so lost that I'm hoping to get pointed in the right direction so I know where to start.

I work for tv news stations in my county and throughout the world. Only one station has a chopper and it's schedule and cost to launch it means there are often times the full-scale news chopper can't fly. In addition, there are often times where a newsworthy incident is inaccessible to ground crews.

I saw a station had a DJI Phantom and GoPro Hero3 in their live truck, but did not see it fly. I've been wanting to put together such a setup for well over a year now, but don't know where to start. If you've ever seen news chopper footage, you know it is amazing how stable it is. That is my biggest concern, stability. I need to be able to hover for 10-15 seconds and "hold the shot". In my dreams it would look like it was on a tripod, but I know that's impossible. In the news biz we pretty much setup the shot and hit record for 10 seconds, then repeat. I need that, but in the air. I don't care to do fancy aerial moves. If I were to record and use any moving shots, it would be a circular orbit around a scene.

I'm confident the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition will meet or exceed my quality threshold. My budget for the complete ready-to-fly aircraft is $600-$1000 (without the GoPro).

Would going with a DJI Phantom be a fatal mistake? Is there something "way better" for the same price? I like the DJI Phantom price and iPhone downlink ability of the new GoPro Hero3, allowing me to start filming for around $1000, but I'm a firm believer in "well its only 10% more and is 50% better". Buy once, thats how I like to do things.

I was considering the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 for a while but using a GoPro is a mandatory requirement for me and it didn't seem very stable in the videos I saw. I'd jump at the $300 pricetag, but my gut tells me I can do better. I also considered the SafeFlight QuadCopter, but I'd rather have it RTF out of the box (ironically I've always preferred rc car kits).

* Incredibly stable (almost as good as a news chopper, this also begs the question of gimbals.. electronic or gravity-based)
* Auto-leveling (I mean the aircraft.. so I don't nosedive it, but the camera too)
* Ability to hover/sustain it's altitude and position with no hands on the radio, this is to "hold" the shot for 10 seconds
* I have zero flying experience but have over 10 years of rc car experience, I expect a few days at a park should be enough and that flying an aircraft that auto-levels itself it literally "up/down" "forward/backward" "left/right". I don't want to have to worry about staying level or nosediving. Launch up, move in to position, hover and let go of the controls for a few moments.
* Auto-home, GPS, other useful safety features or features that aid in flying
* A decent resistance to wind gusts

Please do not reply telling me I need to get flying experience. I've ruled out getting a huge 700-sized helicopter. I'm trying to buy something that is easy to fly with 3 or more rotors and will spend many days or weeks practicing.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:41 AM
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hexa's Avatar
United Kingdom, Scotland, Edinburgh
Joined Nov 2010
1,839 Posts
You have chosen to get into mutirotor at very sugar cake time meaning its so easy to have a copter ready to fly in like 1 hour, not like some of us old boys who started a few years back who had to spend countless nights and days building frames from curtain poles, soldering, testing, crashing, the list goes on and on.

Long story short. Buy a dji phantom them wait for brushless gimbal that uses the alex moss gimbal board is released,
Don't wait for Dji gopro gimbal because the price will cost you an arm and a Head.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:45 AM
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First he going to have to hear from all the Nanny State losers say how it is illegal and how he is going to get the hobby banned. Oh don't worry they are coming.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:53 AM
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hexa's Avatar
United Kingdom, Scotland, Edinburgh
Joined Nov 2010
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For sure, as soon as the governmentals figure out a way to tax the drone scene to fatten their pockets there will be bans left, right and centre.
No flying with out licence, insurance and flight path tax, MOT for your copter as well in a few years from now.
enjoy your freedom wile it last.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 08:47 AM
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San Diego, CA
Joined Jan 2003
21 Posts
I'm growing increasingly set on the DJI Phantom. But I can't help but wonder if there are other options - better or cheaper options - out there. With all the nifty features (GPS, auto-home, ready-to-fly, etc) of the DJI Phantom I'm finding it hard to find something better, but I simply don't know what else is out there.

As for a gimbal, am I correct in my understanding that there are two types.. one which uses a sensor and servos, and one which uses gravity and a single-point axis to keep the payload (camera) level? I would probably prefer a gravity-based one due to price and the need for extra weight and a new radio system. Are there ready-made gimbal systems out there or do I have to just man up and make my own?

As for the legalities, I will worry about that if and when it comes around. By the time it does, I will likely have sold enough footage to have paid for the setup completely and can sell it. And besides, it's only illegal if you get caught and/or they care enough to do something about it. I have a very good relationship with law enforcement in my county and as long as I'm respectful and not interfering, I doubt they would mind too much.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therczone View Post
I'm growing increasingly set on the DJI Phantom. But I can't help but wonder if there are other options - better or cheaper options - out there. With all the nifty features (GPS, auto-home, ready-to-fly, etc) of the DJI Phantom I'm finding it hard to find something better, but I simply don't know what else is out there.

As for a gimbal, am I correct in my understanding that there are two types.. one which uses a sensor and servos, and one which uses gravity and a single-point axis to keep the payload (camera) level? I would probably prefer a gravity-based one due to price and the need for extra weight and a new radio system. Are there ready-made gimbal systems out there or do I have to just man up and make my own?

As for the legalities, I will worry about that if and when it comes around. By the time it does, I will likely have sold enough footage to have paid for the setup completely and can sell it. And besides, it's only illegal if you get caught and/or they care enough to do something about it. I have a very good relationship with law enforcement in my county and as long as I'm respectful and not interfering, I doubt they would mind too much.
What simulator and practice quad are you currently using?
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tarro View Post
First he going to have to hear from all the Nanny State losers say how it is illegal and how he is going to get the hobby banned. Oh don't worry they are coming.
(Full disclosure... I had to look up Nanny State ). What I was going to suggest to the OP that with all of the attention that multirotors are getting now, check out your local/state laws that deal with multirotors and aerial surveillance before making any purchase. There was a news report just a few weeks ago that mentioned several states that were considering banning multirotors for commercial use. I personally don't care one way or another but I'd hate to see you or your news company drop almost $1k on a Phantom and GoPro3 only to find out you couldn't use it for commercial purposes.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 10:22 AM
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Long Island, New York
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Originally Posted by Mike_Then View Post
(Full disclosure... I had to look up Nanny State ). What I was going to suggest to the OP that with all of the attention that multirotors are getting now, check out your local/state laws that deal with multirotors and aerial surveillance before making any purchase. There was a news report just a few weeks ago that mentioned several states that were considering banning multirotors for commercial use. I personally don't care one way or another but I'd hate to see you or your news company drop almost $1k on a Phantom and GoPro3 only to find out you couldn't use it for commercial purposes.
Yes, you can now call yourself a Nanny Stater now.
Do you stand in front of Verizon Wireless stores and remind everyone coming out that talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal? If not why don't you? That really is dangerous.

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Old Feb 21, 2013, 11:21 AM
we dont NEED roads!
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United States, CA, Sacramento
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Originally Posted by therczone View Post
As for the legalities, I will worry about that if and when it comes around. By the time it does, I will likely have sold enough footage to have paid for the setup completely and can sell it. And besides, it's only illegal if you get caught and/or they care enough to do something about it. I have a very good relationship with law enforcement in my county and as long as I'm respectful and not interfering, I doubt they would mind too much.
You have ALOT to learn.

http://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t557485p1/
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 12:13 PM
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that link had too much conjecture. this is the best link on the web for uav laws and interpretations

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...11761&page=122
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:25 PM
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United States, KS, Overland Park
Joined Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therczone View Post
I'm sure this has been discussed many times before but I'm so lost that I'm hoping to get pointed in the right direction so I know where to start.

I work for tv news stations in my county and throughout the world. Only one station has a chopper and it's schedule and cost to launch it means there are often times the full-scale news chopper can't fly. In addition, there are often times where a newsworthy incident is inaccessible to ground crews.

I saw a station had a DJI Phantom and GoPro Hero3 in their live truck, but did not see it fly. I've been wanting to put together such a setup for well over a year now, but don't know where to start. If you've ever seen news chopper footage, you know it is amazing how stable it is. That is my biggest concern, stability. I need to be able to hover for 10-15 seconds and "hold the shot". In my dreams it would look like it was on a tripod, but I know that's impossible. In the news biz we pretty much setup the shot and hit record for 10 seconds, then repeat. I need that, but in the air. I don't care to do fancy aerial moves. If I were to record and use any moving shots, it would be a circular orbit around a scene.

I'm confident the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition will meet or exceed my quality threshold. My budget for the complete ready-to-fly aircraft is $600-$1000 (without the GoPro).

Would going with a DJI Phantom be a fatal mistake? Is there something "way better" for the same price? I like the DJI Phantom price and iPhone downlink ability of the new GoPro Hero3, allowing me to start filming for around $1000, but I'm a firm believer in "well its only 10% more and is 50% better". Buy once, thats how I like to do things.

I was considering the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 for a while but using a GoPro is a mandatory requirement for me and it didn't seem very stable in the videos I saw. I'd jump at the $300 pricetag, but my gut tells me I can do better. I also considered the SafeFlight QuadCopter, but I'd rather have it RTF out of the box (ironically I've always preferred rc car kits).

* Incredibly stable (almost as good as a news chopper, this also begs the question of gimbals.. electronic or gravity-based)
* Auto-leveling (I mean the aircraft.. so I don't nosedive it, but the camera too)
* Ability to hover/sustain it's altitude and position with no hands on the radio, this is to "hold" the shot for 10 seconds
* I have zero flying experience but have over 10 years of rc car experience, I expect a few days at a park should be enough and that flying an aircraft that auto-levels itself it literally "up/down" "forward/backward" "left/right". I don't want to have to worry about staying level or nosediving. Launch up, move in to position, hover and let go of the controls for a few moments.
* Auto-home, GPS, other useful safety features or features that aid in flying
* A decent resistance to wind gusts

Please do not reply telling me I need to get flying experience. I've ruled out getting a huge 700-sized helicopter. I'm trying to buy something that is easy to fly with 3 or more rotors and will spend many days or weeks practicing.
just being honest--i know you said not to mention learning to fly, but quads are NOT easy to fly. if you've never flown anything, especially a multirotor, you'll want practice on a micro size quad, or a simulator. they are very difficult to fly, even with auto level. (which only helps when you let go of the stick)

i think everyone does this. they assume it's easy since they assume the flight controller does all the work. they build one. go outside. almost immediately crash it. (i did) you can get it to hover fairly easily. maybe even keep it roughly in the same spot. but once you lose starting yaw position, you'll lose orientation, your controls will be reversed, and you'll react with the wrong stick inputs, and it'll drift away (and these suckers are FAST). i'm not saying you won't be able to handle it, i just think you should keep in mind that they're difficult to fly and you'll want to practice on something safer first. (quads will dice you up like hot knife through butter, go google quadcopter accidents, it's scary what these flying blenders can do to flesh)

and if this is for news... i would get fan shrouds. like the parrot drone has. if you lose a motor or esc, and if crashes into a crowd and you mutilate someone... enjoy your lawsuit. just a warning.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:45 PM
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Subaru4WD, what time does your Government rep come and tuck you in? Oh and does he bring your check to your bank for you?
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 01:50 PM
we dont NEED roads!
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United States, CA, Sacramento
Joined Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by Tarro View Post
Subaru4WD, what time does your Government rep come and tuck you in? Oh and does he bring your check to your bank for you?
Why can you never stay on the subject at hand?? Not sure what you are talking about.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 02:24 PM
I hate waiting for parts
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United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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Originally Posted by Tarro View Post
Yes, you can now call yourself a Nanny Stater now.
Do you stand in front of Verizon Wireless stores and remind everyone coming out that talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal? If not why don't you? That really is dangerous.

Actually, I was just trying to help the guy not waste his money. I said nothing about it being illegal; I said he should check his local laws before buying. Please re-read my initial post if that wasn't clear. But I have a sneaking suspicion that you'll interpret whatever you want from what was posted, regardless of what was actually said.

Stepping away from the thread. Cheers!
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 05:12 PM
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therczone's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Jan 2003
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I will look in to the links provided regarding the legalities, but would like to stay on-topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by serrated View Post
but once you lose starting yaw position, you'll lose orientation, your controls will be reversed, and you'll react with the wrong stick inputs, and it'll drift away (and these suckers are FAST).
Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that the Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC) on/off feature eliminates this issue? See this YouTube video by DJI, which explains how on the radio you can enable IOC and it will either keep "forward" as "forward", or will change it depending on it's orientation in relation to you/the radio/the GPS.

Basically if "forward" is north, and then I rotate 90 degrees and "forward" is now facing west, the controller (with IOC on) will still treat north as "forward". With IOC off, "forward" would go "west".

DJI Phantom CH 5 Intro to IOC (2 min 44 sec)


And the controls, per the video and my understanding (again, if I'm wrong let me know), it's literally left/right forward/back up/down and rotate-left/rotate-right. It doesn't seem difficult at all. Especially since I'm not planning to do fast aerial maneuvers. I'll be going so slow that if I get a control reversed, I should have time to correct myself. I can't imagine ever crashing or nosediving due to the auto-level and altitude hold and my slow flying. I plan to do slow and stationary flight paths. Basically go straight up, move in to position, adjust the rotation, and hover while the GoPro records. Not trying to argue.. if I'm wrong then I want to know. This is just my current understanding.

DJI Phantom CH 3 First Flight (2 min 44 sec)
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