Drone footage to add flavour

Back to beat my drum (hey, none of you lot are going to do it for me).

We just got approval to post our latest Opto 22 case study video. This one is about Vista Irrigation District. They use our gear to move a lot of water to a lot of people.
We did all the drone flying and some of the camera work.

Once again, I want to make the point of how the drone flying is not the only video used, and how it adds a lot of flavour and interest (diversity) to the story.
We are also careful to only use it where it makes sense.

Ok, so now the fun bits……
0:00 The opening shot of the sunrise I am super happy with. It was a typical SoCal day and just a joy to fly in such a beautiful location and at such a beautiful time of day. It was dead calm and cool, perfect multirotor flying weather.

At 0:08 we do the car chase scene. The guy got a bit of a head start on me and I am pedal to the metal to try and catch up with him. The drone was cranked so far over you can see the rotors in the original shot, so we had to crop the video to get them out. It was THE fastest I have ever piloted a drone and as far as I know, it was flat out top speed for the drone (A Phantom P3 Pro).

At 0:14 I am using my favorite mode; Orbit. We set it up so the pump station was the center and just made sure we were above the trees and power pole and let it do its job. I still get a kick out of watching the drone do a perfect circle with the camera pointing in. I still feel like a bobble head stick figure, trying to watch all the obstacles and the drone and the data coming back and of course the video image, but it’s a fun kind of stress.

0:55 We took off from a street next to the reservoir. Had two spotters out so that we could be sure it was free from traffic. It was a very quiet dead end road. Bit of wind made things interesting, but not marginal by any stretch. Had to take off and land straight up between two large trees so we could be well clear of any power lines and make sure we did not over fly any ones property etc. Simple shot, just up and very slow even yaw to reveal the city of Vista. The pipe overlay was added by our video guy in post production.

1:28 At the end of the car chase, we were to fly up and ‘watch’ the guy open the gate. As ‘luck’ would have it, the gate was right at the 400 foot mark, so the geo-fence feature of the multirotor cut in and it would not fly past the guy. If we had launched 50 feet further to the gate, for the chase sequence, it would not have been an issue. Note to self. Be a (much) better judge of distance in the future…. The video guy had to do a fade out before we get to the gate as the drone pitches up and ruins the shot.

3:40 I was a bit nervous doing this shot. The multi rotor craft was below my ground level, so I was looking down at it. We had had a GPS unlock failure the flight before in that area and there was nice stiff breeze coming over the top of the dam wall creating some turbulence. It really made the drone rock around and was quite the handful getting back on the ground to reset the flight control system. It was this exact incident that made me understand just how much I was relying (resting) on the software to fly the craft and at that moment was when I vowed to teach myself to fly without all the electronic nanny systems.
Anyway, this was the second flight, the video director Paul wanted the ‘reveal’ shot, it’s a very powerful shot where we reveal something big to the viewer, so Paul wanted it and while I was on eggshells with the bosses drone in an unusual to me attitude we safely got the shot. The interesting thing is that it is played in reverse here from how it was flown and recorded. We wanted to be sure that we were lined up on the lake, so we started up high with the shot we wanted and ended down low….. Nonetheless I think it works and is a great closing sequence.
If you look to the far right hand side on the road, you can see me and video guy.
BTW, the reveal shot is showing Lake Henshaw. The same place I did the practice flight with Martty.

So yeah. I still think drone flying is better when there is a purpose.