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DJI/Apple fan boy goes to the Cote d'Azur and learns a few things


Jan 31, 2017
I'd like to share this video. I got to stay here as a guest of the owners and am delighted to say they wanted a video of the villa as they want to promote it more to extend the rental season. A lot of fun was had and lessons learned a few of which I share below.

• All filmed in 4k 30fps (except for one shot/mistake when using a borrowed iPhone SE)

Equipment Mavic Pro, Mavic Air, DJI Oslo mobile (with iPhone 8), Zoom H2n microphone, MacBook Pro.

A few Lessons learned.
1) The Mavic Air blows around too easily and I had no confidence when flying it out to sea especially as the Wifi suffered I suspect from the routers in nearby town. Also to get the shots I wanted I used Litchi to plan the sea flight and the full circuit took over 5 mins (in the end heavily edited down) so battery capacity was a worry. Despite many attempts it seemed Litchi was determined to record it all. It was complex enough without deleting bad takes from the Mavic Pro so a huge amount was recorded. I should have noted bad takes down on paper at the time. Because I did not the SSD on the laptop ran out of space. Indeed the 2 TB external disk ran out in the last few days of shooting so if I ever do anything similar a pen and paper will be essential.
Because of sudden gusts/battery/poorer gimbal I concluded that if I have ever to give up a drone it would be the Air. So I am well and truly back in love with the Pro

2) Litchi is an essential tool but far from simple to program. Indeed the round the house shot I think revealed that it needs to do 'curves' with height as well as flight path. It took nearly a whole day to get that shot as right as it is. I think the route that involved a huge sudden drop but keeping the house steady pushed Litchi to slightly beyond it's limits.

3) Filmic Pro proved to be a disaster as it has a major bug or two with the iPhone 8 which resulted in any recalling of settings making the picture upside down. As a result it was abandoned. I do hope they sort this. I think I should turn off auto updates on Apps before any trip like this. FilMic Pro was such a disappointment as the iPhone's own software is always in auto exposure/focus.

4) Final Cut Pro is wonderful. It has allowed all sorts of adjustments to be made and some shots like the circuit have been made much better with the stabilisation it offers. Also with footage from two drones, two iPhones (and a couple of Canon stills) its's colour matching features have made the edit much simpler. I also used the Neat Video noise reducer plugin on the last shot which improved it a lot.

5) Something I did get right was to copy off the SD data frequently as it would have been a disaster if I'd lost a drone and it's footage.

6) As we got near the end I realised that I really needed another external drive taken on the plane by somebody else as while drones can be replaced trips like that are difficult and expensive to repeat.
I found this video whilst googling trying to find ANYwhere I can actually fly in the Côte D’Azur. I spend a lot of time there and having great difficulty finding anywhere I can use the drones. Places which are OK on Geoportal are banned by the authorities (Iles de Lerins for example). Help!
Anyhow, I do not wish to hijack your post - this video is superb and the notes are fantastic. It is so great to see honesty and very helpful hints, one of the reasons I love this site.
I have the software you have but have not used it yet (invest first, shoot later). I think the video is really terrific and professional, even more so with the obstacles you encountered. Well done - I hope you get a lot more work based on this - you deserve it. :)
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Reactions: Hauptmann
Nicely made video. Maybe bit too long for the purpose. The footage from the drone came out a lot worse then from the phone. I suppose settings must have been to blame. Make sure you set sharpness to +1 in custom camera settings to avoid the built in noise reduction making hash of your footage.
Like it! But some of the ground and hotel footage looks like doesn't belong here

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