Tag Archives: DJI

A Beginner’s Guide To Getting Into Drones

They are fascinating, impressive, and downright cool, which is enough for some gadget fanatics to want to devote plenty of manhours to getting to grips with them. However, given their expense and the fact that a novice handling could quite easily end up in disaster, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that some beginners are a little apprehensive about diving headfirst into the world of drones.

Here, we’re going to look at what you, as a beginner, need to know about drones, how to choose the best one for your needs, and how to make sure that you can actually fly the thing without a catastrophe following in your wake.

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Know what you want to use it for

Before you dedicate your life over the next few months to knowing anything and everything drone-related, it’s a good idea to get to know why you want to buy and fly one in the first place. There are plenty of people who want one just for the experience of flying a drone, which is perfectly fine in and of itself, but those who might want a drone for the sake of photography might have different needs (such as good camera stabilization features.) There are more practical uses for drones as well to consider, some of which might even have commercial benefits.

Choose the drone that best suits your needs

Now that you hopefully have a better idea of what, precisely, you are going to be using your drone for, it’s now time to choose the drone that suits those needs. Websites like DrDrone.ca offer thorough guides on which drones are best suited for different kinds of usage. Some are better suited to beginners who are just learning to fly, while others have specific applications. Even for those specific applications, such as buying a drone that is focused on photography, there is a wide variety so take your time in perusing the market.

Know whether you’re going to have to assemble your drone

This is a big stumbling block for a lot of people who buy a drone and expect that they are going to be able to fly it as soon as they take it out of the box. This type of drone does exist, they are called RTF drones (or Ready to Fly drones). The other type is called “DIY” typically, which means that you’re going to have to assemble it when you open it. If you feel confident you can put it together just fine, that’s a-okay, just make sure you know which you are getting.

Do you need a license?

The answer to this question will depend largely on where you live. In some countries, the recreational use of drones might not require any kind of license or ID. However, in the vast majority of English speaking countries, if you have any intentions to use your drones for commercial purposes, you’re going to need some form of license  However, it is crucial to do your research and learn your local drone license needs and laws, rather than relying on this tip for a definitive answer. Drone-traveller.com offers an in-depth look at national drone laws in a variety of countries.

Get some training

Rather than trying to master the art of flying a drone all by yourself, it might be worth taking the time to look into those that can show the ropes. When it comes to earning a license in the countries and states that require it, it may be essential that you have some formal training, and there are plenty of teams like Uavcoach.com that can help give you all kinds of drone flying courses, for more general use as well as specific practical applications, depending on your needs.

Know what accessories you might need

Plenty of drones come out of the box with a range of helpful accessories, but you will often find that you need a little extra just to make sure that you’re covered in any eventuality. Some spare drone parts such as additional rotors or props are always a good idea to have on hand. Keeping a backup flight battery is usually a good idea as well, as well as having a portable charger so you can stay flying for longer.

With the tips above, hopefully, you should feel confident that getting into drone flying need not be all that much of a fuss. With the right choice of machine, a little practice, and a few solid tips in mind, you should be flying with the best of them.

DJI Osmo Mobile 2 – Affordable High End Image Stabilisation on your Smartphone

The Steadicam was launched more than 40 years ago and since then we have become accustomed to seeing smooth video at sporting events and in movies, most famously in the classic horror ‘The Shining’ with Jack Nicholson. This high-end equipment costs many thousands of pounds and thus keeps it well out the reach of hobbyists or home users.

Orwell Bridge Motion Timelapse

Over the past few years, the technology associated with expensive motion picture equipment has found its way into the consumer market, once heavy and cumbersome, the large motors needed to stabilise heavy camera equipment has now been replaced by tiny brushless motors powerful enough to steady our mobile phones.

DJI Osmo Mobile 2
DJI Osmo Mobile 2

As a commercial drone pilot, I have experienced DJI’s camera stabilising technology first hand using their drones which employ identical techniques to keep footage smooth in windy conditions, so I was excited to experience the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 Smartphone Stabiliser.

The Osmo Mobile 2 allows for the capture of extremely smooth footage using an Android or iPhone to capture the video itself. The mobile device is slotted into a rubber padded clamp, balanced manually using the adjuster on the Osmo. This initial adjustment means that the device doesn’t have to work as hard to stabilise the device and thus extends the life of the battery and motors when in use.

Orwell Bridge Motion Timelapse

DJI provides an app for both Android and iPhone to directly control the device via Bluetooth LE 4.0 and also includes a USB socket to allow you to charge your phone. DJI state up to a 15 battery life, so you should be able to comfortably use the device and maintain your phone battery life with plenty to spare.

After installing the device, you switch on the Osmo by long-pressing the button on the handle, the Gimbal springs into life, balances your mobile device and suddenly it appears to float in mid-air, silently holding your phone completely steady!

You can use the DJI GO app to take movies, photographs, panoramas and even Live Stream to Facebook, YouTube an more. The Osmo can be set to smoothly following your hand motion, removing judder whilst filming or can be set to maintain the position of the phone.

DJI Osmo Mobile Stabilised Video

For more advanced uses, there is Timelapse, Hyperlapse and Motion Timelapse. All of these modes produce really impressive results, my favourite was Motion Timelapse which allowed me to take speeded up sunsets and even panoramic shots of large structures, by setting the start, middle and end points of the movie, choosing a lapse time and the number of frames, when you click Go, the camera very slowly pans and produces a smooth and stable sweeping timelapse video, it was very impressive. The standard tripod screw mount at the base of the Osmo allows you to attach it to a tripod, so no tired arms when producing your masterpiece.

At 485g, the Osmo Mobile 2 is very light but feels high quality in the hand, you do also have to take into account the weight of the device you are going to use. The Osmo is comfortable stabilising anything from the size of an iPhone SE to an iPhone 7s, but check your phone is compatible before purchasing, especially with an Android device.

DJI Osmo Mobile 2
DJI Osmo Mobile 2

This is the second iteration of the Osmo Mobile and DJI have successfully brought down the cost of the original model without forsaking built quality and features. If you are a budding ‘vlogger’ or like taking footage of family and friends, this may be the gadget for you. There is even a ‘Selfie Mode’ with and object tracking to keep you all in the picture wherever you might be!

At £129, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is good value for money, has great battery life and the features are great too. I loved it!

The Gadget Man

www.thegadgetman.org.uk

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Watch DJI’s Bigger Picture Reveal LIVE!!

Thanks for joining us for the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro live reveal. Personally, I’m looking forward to trying both of these devices, the Mavic Pro was a game changer, so the improvements announced today and going to give pilots even greater opportunity to produce outstanding footage.

 

 

 

Electric Car Road Trip – 1200 miles in a Tesla – What tech gear are we taking?

A ‘Gadget Man’ Road Trip would be nothing with a car stacked full of technology, here’s a quick summary of the gear we are rocking for the trip.

The Car

This is of course an ‘Electric Challenge’, so we are driving a Tesla Model S 100D. A 4 wheel drive, twin motor electric car, packing a 100 kWh Lithium-ion battery with a projected range between charges of more that 300 miles. We can also take advantage of Tesla’s very own Supercharger network, meaning our charge times will hopefully be under 30 minutes. Enough time for a coffee and meal on our long journey. The car is packed with driver assistance technology and always on 4G connection for maps and music streaming.

The Drone

We will be taking along a DJI Mavic Pro for aerial shots. The Mavic is an outstanding, foldable 4K drone with a 25 minute flight time. It boasts the most advance stabilisation technology available today, combining GPS, Glonass and Optical stabilisation and obstacle avoidance.

As a backup, we will be taking along a DJI Phantom 3 Standard with 2 batteries.

Cameras

Our filming will be carried out on a DJI Osmo+ 3 axis stabilised camera with 3.5x optical zoom and 4K video recording. This will be backed up by a GoPro Hero camera, Panasonic Lumia G3 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge smart phone.

On board the car, we have a Transcend DrivePro 230s dashcam and hopefully a Samsung Gear 360 (2017).

Editing and Blogging

Our editing will be carried out on a Dell Latitude Rugged with Core i7 and SSD drive, this will be complimented by a Transcend SSD drive and SPS Rugged USB3 1GB Hard drive.

Comms

We are looking forward to confirmation that EE will be providing us with 30gb of data and a in car wifi hotspot, to allow us to Live Stream, and Vlog during the journey.

Tracking

Our trip tracking is being provided by Coderus. Custom built apps on our mobiles will transmit our GPS coordinates to our server in London, this information will be pushed to www.eastwestroadtrip.co.uk and www.thegadgetman.org.uk to allow for our friends, families and supporters to view our progress in real time. This is looking to be a fabulous addition to the trip and will encourage interaction with Paul whilst I concentrate on driving.

10 Days to Go!! Important Update! – Tesla Road Trip 2017

With 10 days to go, I was hoping it would be a matter of tying up some loose ends and some additional organisation in the lead up to the challenge…

Sadly at the end of last week, my very dear Uncle, John Porter passed away. Dad, his brother understandably wants to be at home with the family at this time, so he had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from our challenge. Due to the commitments I have already made with a whole host of people over the last couple of months, I will still be embarking on the 1200 miles electric journey.

I won’t be doing it alone though. My new co-driver will be announced this Friday, so stay tuned!!

Drones, Cameras and Dash Cams

DJI Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro

Today was quite exciting with the arrival of a DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Osmo+. The Mavic is a 4K foldable drone and the Osmo is a stabilised 3.5x zoom camera. Transcend have also committed to sending a dash cam for the trip which should enable us to record both road and cockpit footage. We are also currently waiting for a Dell ‘ruggedised’ laptop which will be invaluable for the trip especially producing 4k footage from the camera and drones. This will hopefully give me sufficient time to familiarise myself with the equipment and weather permitting (22 mph wind and no rain) I should be able to obtain some stunning footage from Ullswater, Glencoe and Ardnamurchan. Fingers crossed (and crossed again). The DJI Osmo_ is a 3 axis stabilised camera when means I can stagger around uncontrollably and get some excellent footage without worrying about the wind.

The saga of the air beds.

We were unable to find a specific donor for the air beds that are needed for the Camping Pod in Ullswater on Friday and Sunday. This was after contacting practically every single large camping equipment supplier in the UK. Most didn’t reply and unfortunately those that did were unable to provide additional donations above their current budgets.

It was however ‘lucky’ or more likely a result of the multiple cookies on my computer set when I was searching for air beds, that a Groupon deal dropped into my Inbox on Wednesday.

DJI Osmo+
DJI Osmo+

Thus, I was able to purchase two double sized air beds ‘high raised’ with built in pumps for just under £80 meaning that both of us will sleep soundly. We will be taking along sheets, quilts and pillows, so we should feel right at home. I have already tested the inflation and deflation of one of the beds and was surprised at how quickly it inflated, but equally how quickly is deflated in ‘reverse’. It was easy to re-pack and fitted nicely into the included carry bag. Sorted.

Further Support and Sponsorship

I had a long conference call yesterday with a very large potential sponsor/partner. We discussed a whole host of possibilities that will help me and Dad on the trip (particularly on the comms front). Hopefully I will be able to announce something next week when I receive confirmation!

 

Computers, Phones and Tablets

Dell Latitude 14 7404 Rugged
Dell Latitude 14 7404 Rugged

Having just had my trusty (and smashed) Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge replaced with a brand spanking model, I am now pretty confident I don’t need to be panicking about a super up to date phone for the trip. It has an excellent camera on board and stunning screen. Tablet wise, I have a nVidia Shield K1 for ‘droning’, this extremely fast processor on board and should do nicely for the trip.

I am really, REALLY hopeful that we will receive a 360 camera and a SIM card with a hefty amount of data onboard to enable us where possible to live stream the event as best we can.

Accommodation

We are staying at Hillcroft Park in Ullswater on Friday and Sunday, courtesy of the site owners, which is very generous of them. On Saturday we are staying at Far View in Kilchoan about 8 miles from Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.

That’s for this update, but stay tuned this Friday to find out who will be joining me on our ELECTRIC ADVENTURE!

Source: 10 Days to Go!! Important Update! – Tesla Road Trip 2017