In this article, I'm going to share with you how the Autel Evo flies. In addition to myself, I had two friends of mine with little or no drone flying experience test fly the drone and asked them to answer a few basic questions about their experience. But first a quick note on Autel Customer Service. In setting up the drone and getting it ready to fly, I discovered I needed to do a firmware update. When I did the update, it failed and so I called Autel tech support and got to talk to a person right away. (BTW, I didn't tell them I was doing a … [Read more...] about Autel Evo drone – How easy is it to fly?
You may remember the fun I had when taking my Lume Cubes out with Jamie MacDonald, and seeing if we could use them with his drone to paint halos over a barn. While the experiment was mildly successful, Lume Cube Ambassador Daniel Alpert has a great piece on Lume Cube's blog explaining how to do this and several other light painting techniques. He details the technique, gear and settings necessary to make these shots work. Check out the video below, or visit Lume Cube's blog for more. … [Read more...] about Light painting with your drone
The Autel Evo was originally released in June 2018, and has gone through various updates and improvements since that time. This article will be looking at it in its current state running firmware version 1.3.46 and is the first in a three-part series. Below is a first look and focus on the basics of the drone, what's in the box and general observations. Part two will showcase how it flies. Here I'll have two people fly the drone who have no drone flying experience and include their feedback in the article and I will also fly the drone and give … [Read more...] about First look: Autel Evo drone
The Weekly Wrap-Up features articles from the last seven days of Photofocus. This week, Lauri Novak explained how to check our camera's shutter count, Michèle Grenier gives us her final decision on switching to mirrorless, Levi Sim discusses using speedlights for portraits with waterfalls, Vanelli dives into the new Accent AI 2.0 with portraits and Chris Anson tells us how to register our drone with the FAA. Thanks for joining us this week on Photofocus! … [Read more...] about Weekly Wrap-Up: April 28-May 4, 2019
This is a follow-up article to Hobbyist drone flyers must register their drones. As of February 23, 2019, even if you are flying your drone for fun and recreation, and not for business purposes, you need to register your drone with the FAA. You'll register under Section 336. The good news is that you only need to register once every three years and you use that same FAA number on all your drones. Yes, you need to display the FAA registration number on the outside of the drone where it is readily visible. So let's get started. First, go to the … [Read more...] about How to register your drone with the FAA as a recreational flyer
From now through April 29, you can save on the one-click solution to make your drone photographs shine! Drone photographs often lack things like quality, contrast, saturation and sharpness. With the program's artificial intelligence-powered enhancer, these problems are now a thing of the past, allowing for a quick, one-click solution to editing drone photographs. AirMagic can be purchased for just $29 through April 29. And if you purchase now, you'll receive the "Shoot Professional Photos with Any Drone" video course (a $79 value) and the … [Read more...] about Flash sale savings and bonuses on AirMagic
In this video, I'm going to show you one way you can determine which strength ND filter to use when you are shooting video. I always shoot my videos in Manual mode. I also try to keep my aperture between f/3 and f/5.6. This range gives me the sharpest images. I also want to maintain my desired shutter speed and ISO. So my only real option is to use ND filters. I have ND filters that range from 2 stops to 4 stops. I can also stack two of them if I need a darker ND filter because my camera allows me to screw on the filters. An example of ND … [Read more...] about What strength ND filter do I use on my drone when capturing video?
In this article and video, I'm going to show you Skylum's new drone specific software, AirMagic, for taking your drone photos, both JPG and DNG RAW, and quickly producing beautiful results with them. How does it work? Here's how Skylum describes it: There’s no doubt drone photos look breathtaking. You can see our world from places previously unreachable. But drone photos often lack quality. You may spend ages getting that one shot with a drone, and then you may spend even more time making it look perfect with manual editing. That’s why … [Read more...] about Using AirMagic to process your drone photos
This requirement has gone back and forth, but for now, as a hobbyist drone flyer, you must register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55 pounds. You have to register even if you are just flying in your backyard. The steps that the FAA lays out for Recreational Fliers is: Step 1: Register your drone To register your drone, you need to create an account. You do that here. Once you create your account, you can login and proceed to register the drone. To register you must be at least 13 years old. If you are less than 13 years old … [Read more...] about Hobbyist drone flyers must register their drones
The Weekly Wrap-up compiles interesting articles published during the last seven days on Photofocus. This week we posted articles on why non-wedding and portrait photogs would go to WPPI, a first look of the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera, lighting with the Spiffy Specklur Core kit, Blackmagic RAW for Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and learning the basics for flying UAVs. Good reading! … [Read more...] about Weekly Wrap-Up: March 3-9, 2019
While I've written a number of drone articles on flying and photography, I feel like this one will help tie many of those together. Taking photographs with your drone involves a lot of different skills. So here are some things for you to explore that I hope will help you on that journey. Most of these examples use DJI products, but the basic techniques can be applied to any brand of drone. I also think you'll find it much easier to explore many the basics on the ground rather than try to figure them out while you're flying (except for the ones … [Read more...] about Learning the basics helps you take better photographs with your drone
After announcing its new AirMagic software in late February, Skylum has started accepting pre-orders, and has released additional details about the software. With typical drone photographs, the photos often lack quality, contrast, saturation and sharpness. With AirMagic, these problems are a thing of the past. Drone photographers can take advantage of the program's artificial intelligence-powered enhancer, allowing for a quick, one-click solution to editing drone photographs. AirMagic works by first detecting the drone camera used, and … [Read more...] about Skylum opens pre-orders for new AirMagic software
The FAA is making some important changes in the area of drones. One of which that may directly affect you is that as of February 25, 2019, hobbyists — like commercial drone pilots — are now required to display their FAA-issued registration number on the outside of the drone, where they are easily visible. The reason for enacting this was a concern by FAA's interagency security partners of hidden or concealed explosive devices that would pose a potential threat to first responders if they have to open a compartment on the drone when arriving on … [Read more...] about Hobbyist drone flyers must display FAA registration on the outside of drone
While taking photographs with your drone is very similar to taking them from the ground, it's also very different. For me, the difference lies in two main areas. One is in the new perspective a drone offers by being in the air above everything. The other is the ease with which you can change your position from a few feet to thousands of feet from the initial launch point. Your camera can be raised or lowered in altitude, it can be moved forward, backward, right and left. You have 360-degrees of flexibility with your camera that you didn't have … [Read more...] about 360 degrees of flexibility and a new perspective: Taking photographs with a drone
Aerial photography is definitely booming in recent years and you can use it to your advantage for your architectural photography. Aerial views can offer a new perspective and many clients appreciate it. Let's talk about how to shoot aerials and what to look for once you're in the air. Decide how you're going to shoot The first step is to decide where you are going to shoot from. When it comes to aerial views, there are several options, including plane, helicopter, drone and rooftops. The helicopter/plane option is great for large buildings … [Read more...] about Using aerial views in architectural photography
As an FAA Certified Part 107 pilot, if the area you want to fly in is within five miles of an airport, and that airport airspace is controlled airspace, then you will need to get an Airspace Authorization to fly there. In the past, this has required submitting a request through the FAA portal and could take from 30 to 90 days or even longer. Now, If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has the new LAANC (Low Altitude Airspace Notification Capability) system active, you can often get authorization in 30-60 seconds once you submit the … [Read more...] about Getting a Drone Airspace Authorization in 60 seconds using LAANC
This article consists of 2 parts. This is part 1 of 2. In this 2 part article, we're going to explore creating a 3 image HDR merge in Aurora HDR 2019. I’m using RAW photographs from my Inspire 2 X5S camera shot in DNG RAW shooting AEB (auto exposure bracketing) mode taking 3 photographs. One challenge in shooting multiple exposures with a drone is that there can be a slight change of position between the photographs, even at faster shutter speeds because of GPS drift, wind, and other variables. Because of this, I will use a high ghost … [Read more...] about Aerial HDR Photography using a UAV with Aurora HDR 2019, part 1
Are you having problems with your drone videos having a smearing or jitter during your panning from left to right or from right to left? If so, try slowing down how fast you pan. That will often result in jitter-free video. See the full article, "Becoming a Better Drone Videographer: Reducing Jitter in Your Drone Footage" here. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Slowing down your panning speed can reduce jitter in your drone videos
In video editing, my primary tool is DaVinci Resolve. While I do use Final Cut Pro X for some things, I have a real fondness for DaVinci. One thing to note is that it requires a more powerful graphics card than FCPX. The good news is you can try it for free to see if your computer can run it. The free version of Davinci Resolve 15, both Mac and Windows, can be found here — you will find it on the bottom of the linked page. It is really quite amazing what they give you in the free version! DaVinci Resolve 15 is broken down into pages. These … [Read more...] about Video editing basics in DaVinci Resolve 15: The Media page
A few weeks back I had an incident with my DJI Inspire 2 drone. While I was taking off from a very gravelly location, I had one of the propellers detach. Because I was on a large landing pad, I was able to power it down and all that happened was that it rolled over and powered off. Had I not been using a landing pad, the drone would have sustained substantial damage. Even though I am very careful and double check this, this kind of incident can happen. Want the full story on landing pads for drones? Read it here. Fly safe and have fun! … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: A landing pad might save your drone from damage
This is a follow-on article to Becoming a Better Drone Videographer: Setting up your DJI Drone Camera for Video Using Manual Mode and D-Cinelike. This article assumes that you set up your camera based upon that article and shot your video in that same mode or at least in D-Cinelike. In this video, I show you the basics of color correction of video shot in H.264 and D-Cinelike. I will be using Davinci Resolve 15. You can find my article doing the same thing using Final Cut Pro X (FPCX) here. My primary tool is DaVinci Resolve. I use … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Videographer: Basic color correction of DJI D-Cinelike in DaVinci Resolve
Vanguard's Alta Sky 51D is a spacious backpack for camera gear. It'll carry a laptop in addition to cameras, including the largest DSLR's, but its special characteristic is that it can be configured to carry a quad-copter drone, like a DJI Phantom. Even loaded very heavily, it is comfortable to wear and manages sweat well. It's a heavy-duty backpack for carrying and storing your gear, and it has a lifetime warranty. Highly recommended. More specs and details right here. Photos below the video. https://youtu.be/EYulL9MLbDk … [Read more...] about In Depth Gear Review: Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Backpack For Drones!
In this article, I review the new Brother AirScouter WD-300C Head-mounted Display, that I have been using for the last 3 weeks. In much of my commercial drone work, I am a single operator drone pilot. That means I am having to control the drone and the camera simultaneously. That translate into looking down at my tablet and back up to the drone, so I can fly safely and still get the shot. I am finding that using a headset even helps me do a better job when I am piloting and have a second operator controlling the camera because I can see what … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot: Brother AirScouter WD-300C Head-mounted Display Review
This article and video are about how to create a custom Workspace in Luminar 2018 for editing your DJI RAW images. These are the filters that I work with in Luminar 2018 and this will give you a starting place for your editing. You may also want to read my articles about LUTs and how to use them with your DJI Drone RAW Images. If you want to follow along then you will need to have Luminar 2018. Click here for Luminar 2018. On the right are the filters that I use in the video and for working with the DJI RAW files. I rarely use … [Read more...] about How to Create a Custom Workspace in Luminar 2018 for DJI RAW
In this article and video, I am going to talk about how to set up the camera on your DJI drone using the Go 4 app in Full Auto Mode. In future articles, I will show you how to setup and use Aperture Preferred Mode and Full Manual Mode. I will be using screenshots from my Inspire 2. Your screen may look a little different, but the basics are the same. Preparation Do your initial setup inside. Be sure to remove the rotor blades from your drone before you begin. Start your remote, connect your tablet and start the Go 4 app Start your … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Photographer: How to setup your DJI Drone Camera in Full Auto Mode
This article is about how to use Luminar 2018 with LUTs, to edit your RAW DJI Drone Images (DNG). Using Luminar 2018 in conjunction with LUTs can be a great starting point for your DJI Drone RAW images, to help you create that look you want. I will be demonstrating this on a Mac. In the Windows world the process should be very similar. Want to know what the heck a LUT is? Click here. Follow along If you want to follow along then you will need to have Luminar 2018. You can download a trial version here. You will also need the DJI specific LUTs … [Read more...] about How to use LUTs, Luminar 2018 and RAW DJI to Perfect Drone Photos
When I fly my drone, most places have dust, dirt, sand or vegetation and other debris on the ground. Even when there is asphalt, there is most often dirt, dust, small sticks or stones, that gets kicked up from the wind generated by the rotors/propellers. Why use a landing pad? Protect the drone's electric motors The most important reason to me is to keep fine dust, dirt and sand out of the electric motors that power the drone. Each motor has an intake, that draws in air, to keep the motor cool. I have been told by technicians in the … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot – Why would I use a landing pad with my drone?
Here are three things you can do to help your drone batteries last longer. Note that these tips are for Lithium Polymer batteries (LiPo) with a focus on DJI Drones. Don’t charge your battery or batteries right after flying. Let them cool down first Land your drone when you reach 25-30% battery level Deep cycle your batteries every 10-20 hours of flight Taking good care of your batteries is very important. Why? If your drone has a single battery and you have a battery failure while flying, then the drone is going crash. … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot-3 things that help batteries last longer
There are a lot of things remember when you're flying a drone. If you're shooting video and/or photographs, then there are even more things to remember and set. Having a preflight checklist makes this much easier. Here are some of the things to check on the ground, prior to takeoff and immediately after takeoff, while in the air. Note that some of these options depend upon which drone you're flying. Remember that whether you are a recreational pilot or Part 107 commercial pilot, you are responsible for checking and setting up the drone so … [Read more...] about Becoming a Better Drone Pilot – The Preflight Checklist
Welcome to part 4. If you haven’t read and practiced Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this article, I recommend you do that before proceeding. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here. Warning! You could crash your drone when practicing these maneuvers. Note: the Mavic Pro does not have ATTI mode on the Flight Mode Switch. ATTI mode is the most challenging mode to fly in because you’re no longer using GPS to lock the drone’s position. and there’s also no obstacle avoidance systems active in ATTI mode. That means it isn’t going to warn you if … [Read more...] about Becoming A Better Drone Pilot, Part 4 – Learning To Fly With Precision & Confidence: ATTI Mode