New Business Development: Aerial Photography/Videography
Notes From the Field:
This is a bit of a blog about our efforts to add drone photography/videography into our Travel Photography work.
Its going to be a work in progress, and, I think quite different from our other work: It is specifically a collection of images and videos taken with an aerial platform or drone, with one exception, taken on an iPhone 7 for the sake of comparison.
I think this distinction is important, because the camera mounted on the drone is completely different than what we typically use in our work; a Canon 6D or 5D Mark III, which are both full frame 35mm DSLRs.
Read more at the bottom of this page
Update on Our Recent International Travels:
We were very excited to travel recently to Italy and Spain and to fly there for what we hoped would be some great video opportunities, particularly in the Cinque Terre area along the Italian coast. Sadly, the area we wanted to shoot was restricted to Special Use Airspace, and the drone manufacturer firmware prevented the drone from even starting its engines.
In preparation, I had spent considerable time researching relevant international UAS laws ahead of the trip using resources such as Airmap, The Italian RPAS regulations, and The Drone Traveler. Each resource provided some useful information, but in the end, it came down to what we learned locally once we arrived on location.
As you can see from the images below, Airmap showed no restrictions, but while on location and unable to start engines, I then used Kittyhawk which did show the special use airspace designation.
I came across the last image below while out shooting early morning stills in Manorola, but as you can see, the caption says Community of Riomaggiore.
Further internet research while still in Riomaggiore indicated that a possible work-around required a request to the drone manufacturer for a version of firmware that circumvented air restrictions and would allow the engines to start, which I was unwilling to do.
We knew beforehand that traveling with the drone would present unique challenges, but thought it worthwhile to test our boundaries and try our best.
We did not however, chose to try and circumvent any local or international regulations and therefore were unable to fly, much to our disappointment.
With the remainder of our trip scheduled for highly populated city centers, Cinque Terre was our best hope for logging some air time, but it just wasn't possible for us on this trip.
With all that said, it is with a huge sigh of relief that after doing a thorough post-trip inspection and calibration of all systems, that I can say the drone made the entire trip, with no concerns or damage. That's a huge relief since it traveled halfway around the world as check baggage; packed safely in its OEM travel backpack and then inside a hard shell suitcase with the rest of my photography gear that I don't hand carry onboard the plane.
Without delving too deeply into the technical details, the 3 points I consider to be most relevant to the images captured are:
1. The camera platform (drone) is suspended in the air, providing a completely different vantage point, but which is also inherently less stable than using the usual tripod with a Really Right Stuff panoramic head.
2. The DSLR I typically use captures 20 or 24 MP images using a variable aperture and mechanical shutter, compared to one with 12MP, fixed aperture and electronic shutter and the other with 16MP, micro 4/3 and more advanced features for both still images and 4K video.
3. Most of my panoramas are comprised of multiple individual frames and are focused on creating highly detailed images of great size, whereas these early drone images are limited to a single frame with limited digital data captured.
In the collection of images above, one image was captured using the iPhone 7 for comparison. The iPhone 7 is similar to the camera on the Yuneec Typhoon H in that it is also a 12MP, fixed aperture, electronic shutter based camera. all images for comparison were shot using ISO 200 or lower, for low noise and at similar times of the morning to see how each handled the lighting conditions. This was a very informal comparison, and only done to give me an idea of what I should expect using the Yuneec camera and not compare it to my full frame cameras, which would be an unfair comparison.
Videography: While the Typhoon's camera may not be the best suited to our landscape photography style, the video it captures is of 4K quality, and we've begun to see how well it can compliment our work with moving images.
check out the green button just above to get some information on a really great scholarship program being offered by our good friends at Drone Pilot Ground School. Alan and his team were a great help in preparing for the FAA Part 107 Certification and they're working hard to keep the community of Commercial SUAS Pilots informed of important developments in the industry and we're happy to help them spread the word about this wonderful project.