Drone Course

Planning how to film

The flying location including a sun positioning tool

We’ve identified some exciting places that we can go off and fly in.

We’ve done some due diligence on those areas to make sure that there aren’t any no fly zones in the area that will be far enough away from other air traffic to remain safe.

The distances are going to be acceptable and there aren’t any obvious sources of interference who would be causing us problems.

Now what we need to consider in more detail is how might we fly within the actual location.

Where will we fly within the location and how can we be sure that we’re going to be able to be successful.

So we’re going to look through those things in a little bit more detail.

Including me going into a couple of tools that I typically use to help me when I’m thinking through these things.

So first of all where will we fly with in the location.

This consists of a couple of points.

We’ve got to consider what are our targets that we’re going to have in the location.

What things do we want to get to to be a fly around and film and as well as that.

What are our flight paths to get to those targets and the flight patterns that we’ll use to fly along this flight paths.

So considering the targets first of all taking this example in the background here if we could see this information on Google Maps and we would consider there might be an interesting feature there that we could actually decide to fly around.

And when we just be Google Maps It might also be some photographs at with scene of the areas that are often available on Google as well.

So you decide it’s an interesting feature to fly around over there.

There’s there’s a hut over there that we might decide to get towards.

And there’s this little water feature over here.

So those could be our targets that we’ve decided to go to.

We’re going to have to also consider how many battery packs are we going to have with us so therefore how many flights will we make.

Each of these targets plan to do multiple passes too.

So the first one will be kind of a scouting pass and then the second one will be where you fly in carefully to make sure that you’ve got the footage you’re being particularly careful to avoid any flight erratics.

The other thing that you’ve got to think through as well is travel time versus capture time.

So for a part of the footage you’re collecting you’ll simply be travelling to get to the point where you want to start filming.

And often this is can be at least 50 percent of your flight depending on how far the distances that you’re actually planning on going.

And it doesn’t just include getting from where you’ve launched from to the actual target.

That will be all the flying around in between.

Were you planning on trying to get any good shots.

So factor that into your decisions around the targets and the nump and the way it went to fly with all of your battery packs as well.

Once we decided on the targets we need to think through the flight paths.

So literally how do we get from A to B and then of course consider all of the things that we’d be learning about for the flight patterns.

What are the obvious flight patterns that we could be using in the area to ensure that we get maximum quality footage for the stuff that will be flying around.

Another thing to consider all the time is the background to the shot that you’re trying to take.

This is just as important as the foreground and that’s to make sure that you get the things in the picture that you want as well as making sure that you avoid the stuff you dont want such as pylons and roads and things that don’t look so good.

Here’s a great example in the background here.

This is fantastic bridge to fly along here and look at the path.

But of course the background is just as exciting if not more so.

And the other really important thing to consider is where is the light.

Where will the sun be at the time that you’re planning on doing your flying.

This will make a massive difference to the flight path that you could be using and also the time of day you decide to go there.

And for those of you that are photographers you may well already be familiar with this tall photographer’s ephemeris.

I’m going to dive into this right now and show you how I use it to work out what the light’s going to be when I’m flying.

So this is available online.

It is a desktop app a web app that runs in the browser.

It’s also an app that you can actually put on your phone as well.

I highly recommend it.

And it’s got a map of the world.

You and search for somewhere that you’re interested in flying around.

And I am interested in going to antigua I’d been there once before and it was very very spectacular.

And I would love to go and fly there.

I have no idea yet whether you’re allowed to fly there or not.

For me to actually start checking out the area this is the kind of thing I would do go into the map and then up here you type in.

The name of the place where you actually want to go and consider.

And then I would zoom out a little bit now here and there is going to show where the sun is going to be at a particular time.

So they’re going to drag the pin down over here which is a place I’ve kind of got my eye on as might making a very interesting flying location.

And once it’s here you will see you can move the pin to say where your target is going to be.

And then the orange line is where Sunset is going to be.

So the sun will be over here shining in towards that red pin and sunrise is on the more yellow line.

So you’ve got a very interesting coastline along here.

You may be at a stand roundabout here.

Your launch spot and then fly down this coastline.

If we were to try to do this at sunrise there’s also a kind of a hill feature here that hill would be probably blocking the sun until a certain time of the day.

What you can do with this is as well as seeing when the sunrise and sunset going to be as you can progress time on during the day set the date up here for the time that you expect to fly.

Then this would be the time that you expect to actually be there on the ground.

And this moves that orange line there which is essentially where the sun’s going to be during the middle of the day so we can see that at sunrise that’s where it is.

And once we get to that spot there the sun will be shining down there.

Look around that hill and it will be at a light up all of that spot for us.

And that would be at about eight 25.

So this tall tells us 825 25 if he to do a sunrise filming shot that’s the time to actually get there.

Sunsets going to be beautiful too.

It’s going to light up the whole of this cliff line as you fly along it bringing out loads of interesting details.

So this is how I would use a photographer’s ephemera to help further explore the site to determine where the light’s going to be at different times.

Give me a good indication from a light point of view when I should be flying there.

So we’ve made our decisions on what we’re actually going to be flying towards And we’ve evaluated the area further to decide if it’s going to have enough quality targets for us to go and see the other very important thing to consider is how will we fly there successfully.

And this is two things.

The timing which we’ve talked about a little bit already and as well as the timing where is our launch spot is is about the most important thing to try to decide about before you arrive there.

It is you can spend ages and ages looking around for a decent launch spot.

So with regard to the timing it’s important already to determine where the light’s canopy we’ve just discussed that is also particularly important to determine.

Are there likely to be people in the area at the time that you want to be avoiding people at all costs.

So is it the kind of time where everyone might be going out for a walk or schoolkids have just kicked out of school or something like that.

So I think that very carefully with regards to the launch spot you got to find a spot that is of course going to be accessible.

It’s going to be a really key one.

This particular launch spot in the background was far from accessible.

We did a three hour hike up some very steep cliffs with ropes and stuff to actually get there to then go off and fly from it.

A lot of fun.

We considered it a bit more carefully beforehand.

We may not have chosen this particular spot as well as that.

You’re in one spot you should be looking for.

Will it give you some privacy from other people that are walking by and this is for safety reasons the launching and landing is going to happen there.

There are other people walking by.

That’s not exactly ideal.

Additionally the other people may be coming along and trying to talk to you where you’re actually trying to control the machine in the air.

And again that’s Mydol most important thing is to establish where you’re going to have a line of sight from your launch spot to the targets that you’re flying to and also to cover the flight paths that you’re planning on target flying and the flight pattern that you’re planning on flying.

You need a clear line of sight of course to make sure that you’ve got a good strong control link between yourself and the drone and then potentially a video link as well.

You’re flying using a video link.

We have looked there for.

Where will you fly.

The targets that you’re going to aim to fly towards a flight path are you’re going to use to get there a pattern that you’re going to use to fly along those flight paths.

What’s the background.

What’s the light.

What’s the time.

Have I got a good launch spot.

You’ve got to consider all of those things.

The other tool that you’re going to be used to help make those decisions is Google Earth as well as Google Earth.

You can start in Google Maps which is a little bit quicker to use and then drill down into Google Earth.

I’m now going to give you a quick demo as to how I would use it to explore a brand new flying location that I’ve never actually been to before.

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