On a commercial shoot, last month, in San Jose, I needed to do a number of repeatable shots for the director on our video project. What that means is the director has a specific shot in mind. He told me where to start, where to end and what he wanted in-between. Then we shoot the scene and he would want to redo the shot exactly the same, but with variations in speed and gimbal position.
While I am able to duplicate a flight path pretty well by hand, it would be great to have an app that records the position of the drone at key points and then lets me repeat that path until I get the shot I am looking for. If it also allowed me to change the speed of the drone and camera position as well in real time during the flight, that would be even better. With the Litchi app on my iPad, I can do just that.
In this article, I am going to show you how to set up the Litchi app to do this. Another great source for this is Laurence Seberini at Phantom Flight School (see link below). In the video, I will show you how to setup the Litchi App so that it uses the C2 button to record a waypoint based on the GPS position of the drone. Next, I will show you what setting to use for that mission to allow you to fly your drone along the waypoints you have set, at whatever speed you want, and then reverse the move. You can record both directions too. You can fly this as many times as you like and when you are done, you will end the mission. I will be showing you on an iPad. The process is similar on an Android device.
Setting up Litchi for Repeatable Shots
(Editor’s note: There is an important note two minutes and twenty-two seconds into this video. The first section in Mission Settings is the Heading. Change its setting to Manual.)
Test Fly the Repeatable Shots Mission
In the video, I show you how to fly the mission we just created. Things to note:
- Once you have setup your waypoints and run the mission, the speed of the drone is controlled by the right stick. Pushing forward increases the speed. Pulling back slows it down.
- If you pull the stick back past the center point on the remote controller, the drone will begin to move backward. You can do this any time during the flight.
- You control pitch by moving the left wheel
- You control the yaw/pan by moving the left stick to right or left. This allows you to change both pan and pitch at the same time using your thumb on the stick and one of your fingers on the wheel.
What I wanted to do was to control both yaw/pan and pitch of the camera at the same time. I have been able to do this with previous versions of Litchi by changing the Gimbal Mode in Settings. With the latest release of the DJI firmware for the Inspire 2, Litchi has some problems in keeping the Gimbal Mode settings. I would set the Gimbal Mode to Yaw Follow and each time I ran the mission, it would reset to Free (Inspire). Free (Inspire) allows me to rotate the drone, but the camera/gimbal stays in the original position, so moving the left stick didn’t change the yaw/pan of the camera. This would happen when I would run the loaded mission. What I ended up doing was loading the mission, set the Gimbal Mode to FPV and that would keep the setting each time I ran the mission. If I reloaded the mission, it was reset it to Free (Inspire) and I would have to reset it to FPV. I contacted Litchi support and they had me try the latest Beta version. It did the same thing. I don’t know if this is an issue for the other DJI drones or not. It would be great if you would share in the comments if this is a problem for the DJI drone you are flying
You will find Phantom Film School Complete Bundle. It is normally $149, but the first 20 people will get it for $100. here.
Fly Safe and Have Fun!
Chris started Portland Pro Drones with the focus on working as a contractor for other companies, flying their drones and his own, as well as capturing stock videography and photography. Chris flies a DJI Inspire 2 drone with Zenmuse X5S camera.
See examples of his work here.