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Frustrated? Paranoid? I'm questioning everything me taking up this hobby

DesignFlaw06

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#1
How do you guys do it?

Let's start with finding interesting places to fly. I can't seem to do it. I want to, but I don't have the eye for it or I can't fly where I want to, or I think I can't fly where I want to. Are there any tools for finding good locations? I want to stay legal where I fly but it seems impossible to do so with anything of interest around here. Is it wrong for me to hope the local airport closes down so I can get some shots of the historic city?

I know there's a 107 certification, but does that really help me? I'd still need to get a waiver to fly in the city because it is Class D airspace. After that, I don't know where I would use it and it seems like an expensive way to get some footage and likely harassed anyway.

Maybe it's the paranoia from what's stated above, but I bring my Mavic Air plenty of times and chicken out of flying. Usually because there are people around. Maybe I just have visions of perfect shots and nobody should be in them. Or I don't want people giving me grief about flying or some other ignorant spiel. Do I just need to be more bold?

Some of this frustration has to deal with the amount of time I have to attempt flying. My wife works 3rd shift and we have a 5 year old. Maybe there are ways to incorporate flying with him? But we can't do it around our house because we live in the city. You would think there would be some common sense that would prevail in those laws.

And then we get to content. I see some great videos on here and other sites. I try to follow the tips such as D-Cinelike, ND filters, etc. but I can't seem to grade or correct them to look good. I had a good view of a sunset down at the lighthouse the other day. I thought I'd try to AEB shots and do some HDR. The Air mislabeled the exposure bias in the EXIF data, making it more difficult to import them. I've been using PaintShop Pro since I can't really justify a Photoshop subscription. Maybe the shots I took just aren't that good and can't be combined into something nice. I'm not sure anymore.

Video editing seems to be a painstakingly slow process for me. FInding music is challenging for me. Even when I do put a video together, I'm never happy with the finished result. I've been using DaVinci Resolve, but I have the same issues with color grading that I have with still shots.

Sorry for the vent. I really do enjoy flying when I actually do it. I want to be better and I want to fly more. I guess what I'm really asking is how can I do that?
 

dirkclod

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#3
What you ask is kinda a lot for one to answer .
Don't use the kid as I am 63 ,retired because of heart issues and have been raising and I mean raising a 3
year old grand that is with me from the time he wakes up till he goes to bed .He has went with me everyday I
do fly and loves watching and unless it is raining we go flying and been doing this since before he was born .
I'm lucky and don't live in a big city now and maybe thats what you ought to try and do if people are part of your problem . Move .
Now editing I just started trying to learn and even got a big screen 5K Mac to handle it. Not good at it but
it's really just for family and friends so it don't matter . If I lived where there was interesting stuff to video I
might but I don't .I do show a few member friends my stuff just to show them what world I live in .
Maybe your expectations are just to high after watching what is posted here as some are great .
Or maybe ya just need to go see a shrink . Helped me :)
jk
 
Joined
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#4
Aren't you trying to tackle too much at the same time?

From personal experience, a step-by-step approach is best, in my way it started to learn to fly confidently, including the nervous of tle flight itself and then the regulations and non-written rules about it

My second step (not perfect on the first, mind you, but confident enough to move on) was understanding aerial video, which has its own secrets, tricks, etc.

Then I started learning editing. Premiere is right now too large of a beast, so I'm playing with Adobe Spark for now (Examples here if interested)

And currently, is like a cyclic process, found editing some difficulties that come from lack of skills in flying or filming, so now I focus on that

It is a process, and for a hobby, it should be enjoyable ;) Eventually your overall skills improve and the final results come better (I didn't dare to upload my first videos to youtube, they were that ugly)

So good luck, and have fun :)
 
Joined
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#5
Just fly illegally. Nobody will catch you, and if they do, you play dumb. The laws are ******** anyways.

As for people, there's always the possibility that local culture (Midwest vs Appalachia) is different, but so far, people have reacted positively to my drone. Basically, every time somebody has come up to me, it's been because they're interested in it and want to know more about it (usually wondering about buying one). There's only three encounters I've had that were negative. Two of them were with bureaucrats at my university who butted in and demanded I stop flying (as per the ban). The other one was a foreigner who was interested in the drone, but I had to take my controller back because he started picking at the controls.

Of course there might be some day when somebody confronts you, but I think that it's generally not an issue.

I don't do hardly any video because my drone has lots of gimbal issues and the like and it just leaves me pissed off most of the time, but you're probably overthinking it. To most people, the fine details of photography are completely lost once you start shooting with a high-quality camera. I don't do any post-processing, and my photos probably suck compared to what they could be, but I still have high-quality pictures. The main thing people respond to is composition and interesting subject matter. That's all I worry about (and lighting, so it's not too bright or dark).
 
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Thwyllo

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Hautes Pyrenees, SW France
#6
Apart from where to fly, the basic issue here seems to me to be that you have spent a lot of money, and I mean a lot, on a flying camera, before knowing how to do the basic things that photography requires.

The trouble is that buying a point and shoot camera to learn those basics doesn't always help, because they are often set up, like camera phones to optimise the shot for you, so there's little or nothing to do in editing. DJIs basic "auto" settings don't seem to be that good, so it's results often need a bit more tweaking.

My advice would be start with stills and play around with some of the basic photo editing features. The simplest and most effective things to do in Photoshop Pro form just a five step process. Find the settings for lighting or whatever they are called in that app (I don't use it specifically) - you're looking for sliders to adjust Highlights, Mid Tones and Shadows (or words to that effect). All you do is pull highlights down, often until it looks too dark, then pull Mid Tones up until wider detail reappears, then pull Shadows up to finally bring out the remaining detail. The result is subjective but play around with those settings until you get a result you like, and it should have a lot more dynamic range and saturation.

The only other two steps then are to apply a bit of colour saturation and a bit of sharpening, don't go too mad with either. Those are the easiest and most productive things to apply. Once you've mastered that (you can get clever with effects and other settings later) you can move on to video, where the principles are much the same.

The other easy tip (sorry this is getting so long!) is to go into manual settings and reduce the EV setting a bit. It's a lot easier to get detail out of an underexposed photo than an overexposed one. Manual settings might get you into a whole new world of pain but you'll crack it trust me! Don't give up.
 

gnirtS

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#7
How do you guys do it?

Let's start with finding interesting places to fly. I can't seem to do it. I want to, but I don't have the eye for it or I can't fly where I want to, or I think I can't fly where I want to. Are there any tools for finding good locations? I want to stay legal where I fly but it seems impossible to do so with anything of interest around here. Is it wrong for me to hope the local airport closes down so I can get some shots of the historic city?
There are plenty of places to fly and plenty of angles. Just dont get too fixated on flying at a very specific place. Look for different angles further away or somewhere else.

Maybe it's the paranoia from what's stated above, but I bring my Mavic Air plenty of times and chicken out of flying. Usually because there are people around. Maybe I just have visions of perfect shots and nobody should be in them. Or I don't want people giving me grief about flying or some other ignorant spiel. Do I just need to be more bold?
I think you have the right attitude. People do dislike drones, they are scared of drones and mostly, drones can be annoying with their noise and presence so if there are a lot of people around i wont fly. Its not worth it. Come back early morning or another time.
I'll tend to go sit in a quiet corner of a field away from everyone to fly. Once flying dont hang around low, stay 150ft+ above them and don't hover for too long and they dont have an issue.

I dont like photos with people in generally so the only real way to do that is to fly when there are no/few people around.

And then we get to content. I see some great videos on here and other sites. I try to follow the tips such as D-Cinelike, ND filters, etc. but I can't seem to grade or correct them to look good. I had a good view of a sunset down at the lighthouse the other day. I thought I'd try to AEB shots and do some HDR. The Air mislabeled the exposure bias in the EXIF data, making it more difficult to import them. I've been using PaintShop Pro since I can't really justify a Photoshop subscription. Maybe the shots I took just aren't that good and can't be combined into something nice. I'm not sure anymore.
A few things, the MP/Air camera really isn't very good so you need to use work arounds. A big failure is the AEB. As well as mislabelling the exif data the biggest issue is it only takes shots at 2/3 of a stop separation which means for some scenes, even the 5 shot hasnt got enough range.
To get better results i'd suggest manually bracketing your shots. Just take the number of photos you think you need and with the exposure differences you think you need. You'll get far better results.
The same goes for panoramas. Obviously ALWAYS shoot in RAW and never use ND filters for stills.
Video colour grading is fiddly and again not helped by the camera quality.

As for photoshop. It's $10 a month for PS and LR together which really isnt that expensive. I'd say that isnt too expensive. There are some free attempts around (such as GiMP) but these are generally awful.
 

PaperCrane

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#8
There are plenty of places to fly and plenty of angles. Just dont get too fixated on flying at a very specific place. Look for different angles further away or somewhere else.
The point re different angles is a good one. In some ways, similar to photography generally. Quite often I look at photos that other people have taken at the same places I've been to and my thought is 'why don't my pictures look that good?' The answer is usually that they're better than me, or they found an angle that I didn't see. Same with drone photos / video. Even with my extremely meagre level of flying experience I can see that stuff is improving from watching what other people have done, trying similar angles & shots next time I'm out. Trial & error, practice and many batteries. It takes much longer to find the shot you want than to actually get it.

I dont like photos with people in generally so the only real way to do that is to fly when there are no/few people around.
True, but you can get away with quite a lot with some careful choice of angles again. Getting the shot from lower down / higher up, coming in from another side & you can try to hide people / cars / ugly buildings / scaffolding etc behind a tree or something else that you do want in the picture. There's some good examples of how to do this on the ubiquitous YouTube. [/QUOTE]


As for photoshop. It's $10 a month for PS and LR together which really isnt that expensive. I'd say that isnt too expensive. There are some free attempts around (such as GiMP) but these are generally awful.
Very true. I've tried using various free apps. It's just a false economy really when you gt used to what PS can do.
 

macoman

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#9
I am going to answer where you can fly because you add too much stuff in it. Find a public park outside of your City. Maybe a forest or a lake park. If your City is a no fly zone, you will have to go out in order to fly, unless you have a big back yard in you house. You can fly in the back of your house for practice purpose.
 

gnirtS

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#10
Generally you'll get the best light early morning or late evening and for the morning fewer people. Not always possible but if theres a specific place you want to shoot its worth trying to go at that time as you'll get the best results.
Yes, hiding obstructions is a fairly important part of all photography as well (nothing more annoying than zooming right into say bird photos and seeing the tracker you thought you'd hidden sticking out from a leaf etc).
Its quite hard on a tablet (and near impossible on a small phone) screen to see details like that at the time drone flying, especially if you have sun on the display though.

Other things, remember you're dealing with a 2015 cell phone camera. Its limited so dont push it and operate within its limits. Avoid scenes with huge amounts of contrast - sometimes even bracketing cant help there. I'd go for manual exposure to keep the ISO low at all times due to the noise and so on.

Its quite common i'll walk or drive an hour to somewhere with the intention of flying the drone and when i arrive i decide there are too many people, it'll annoy them so i don't fly and go somewhere else. Ive had hundreds of people come up to me drone flying and to date only 1 has been an arsehole about it. But that might be because i do my best to avoid flying it within sight or earshot of other people and risk upsetting them.
 
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gnirtS

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#13
I can't see what professional vs non professional has to do with being a decent person or an ******* though.
 

Mjwarch

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#14
Apart from where to fly, the basic issue here seems to me to be that you have spent a lot of money, and I mean a lot, on a flying camera, before knowing how to do the basic things that photography requires.

The trouble is that buying a point and shoot camera to learn those basics doesn't always help, because they are often set up, like camera phones to optimise the shot for you, so there's little or nothing to do in editing. DJIs basic "auto" settings don't seem to be that good, so it's results often need a bit more tweaking.

My advice would be start with stills and play around with some of the basic photo editing features. The simplest and most effective things to do in Photoshop Pro form just a five step process. Find the settings for lighting or whatever they are called in that app (I don't use it specifically) - you're looking for sliders to adjust Highlights, Mid Tones and Shadows (or words to that effect). All you do is pull highlights down, often until it looks too dark, then pull Mid Tones up until wider detail reappears, then pull Shadows up to finally bring out the remaining detail. The result is subjective but play around with those settings until you get a result you like, and it should have a lot more dynamic range and saturation.

The only other two steps then are to apply a bit of colour saturation and a bit of sharpening, don't go too mad with either. Those are the easiest and most productive things to apply. Once you've mastered that (you can get clever with effects and other settings later) you can move on to video, where the principles are much the same.

The other easy tip (sorry this is getting so long!) is to go into manual settings and reduce the EV setting a bit. It's a lot easier to get detail out of an underexposed photo than an overexposed one. Manual settings might get you into a whole new world of pain but you'll crack it trust me! Don't give up.
Telling people to fly illegally is totally irresponsible!
 
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DesignFlaw06

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#16
I traveled across the state this weekend. The frustration boiled over on Friday when trying to find someplace new that I might be able to fly along the way. Turned out to be a moot point as I had no time to fly anyway.

I'm bored of the one nearby location I can fly, but that can't be an excuse not to fly there. I need practice in several aspects. If I can master that one location, maybe the other locations won't be filled with so much anxiety and disappointment. Maybe I can ask for help with footage or images I did take. If I can see what someone else can do with it, that may help me figure out if it is my color grading/correction or actual camera settings.
 

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