Long intro, thanks, some pontification and a few maybe easy questions.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Mike Zintel, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Mike Zintel

    Mike Zintel Member

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    Mike Zintel from WA State USA here. I'm new to RC. I've got about 6 months on an XProHeli (NAZA-M/DX-8), GoPro / GF3, FatShark. Lots of fun, some pulling of the hair out, lots of learning but no photo/video worth posting yet.

    My angle, I hope, will be drones + fireworks + video. I'm licensed to work on pro fireworks crews and do so at every opportunity.

    I've been a lurker on these forums since deciding a heavier camera was necessary for video. With lots of help from you, I’ve picked a GH3, CS8, 2axis + Radian, MX20, GPS and waypoint flying. I currently have the bird built, spend intimate evenings by the computer with the helpful and charming wizard, Andy Johnson-Laird, and am paying down my MKTool tax.

    I've long been fascinated by the impact of upward capability / downward cost of technology in unlocking talent and changing marketplaces. It will be interesting to see the impact that rotors have on photography.

    I started diving when the pressure gauge was a cool new thing. And I've been dragging still and video cameras in all manner of commercial and homemade cases under the water since then. For most of that time, thanks to Nikon and Ikelite, near pro quality stills were within grasp of a dedicate amateur with a modest budget. But the video possible with affordable gear was junk. I've tried wave after wave of video tech and never kept anything.

    I was a bit late to notice, but an underwater photo breakthrough happened around the Nikon D2 era (Canon folk point out, correctly I suspect, that Canon was 2 years ahead in digital at that time, but not being a Canon folk, I do not know that). Around 2005 I started seeing a fast growing number of technically stunning underwater photographs. The low light sensitivity and dynamic range of DSLRs was exactly what was needed underwater. It helped with color, depth of field and dynamic range.

    Underwater flipped me to digital. I'm currently shooting a D4, and the only obstacle to best in breed results is my own skill. The RED guys of course still have an edge, but not a big one and not for long.

    Technology finally closed the gap between amateur and professional in video too, at least in terms of tools. And the internet unlocked the channel. The result has been a vast increase in the number and quality of truly stunning underwater images/video. And, likely, downward pressure on profit. Or perhaps, the channel increased demand too.

    It's interesting to contemplate what technology did to music. The first wave of MP3s and stealing was particularly nasty. The traditional music industry – hardly a sympathetic bunch – responded with a technology war (DRM) on their customers, followed by rent seeking / preservation of the old model via regulation.

    Then they just sued their customers and tried to bankrupt them.

    Thankfully Steve Jobs found the sweet spot of customer value, killed DRM and at the same time prevented prices from falling to zero.

    But the next wave was even more problematic for the traditional music industry. Technology unleashed a truly massive wave of talent with a virtually unlimited (if somewhat unprofitable) channel, in the form of house/trance. Prices are low, and seem likely to remain low. The best DJs probably do OK, but it seems that music has joined still photography as an industry with too much talent chasing too little money. But great for the music lover.

    The music industry has adapted, successfully, by using capital, talent and technology to do spectacular live shows. Here, they are leveraging the tide of tech, not pissing into it. I got to do pyro on a KISS show last year and it was absolutely stunning.

    Folks have noticed and written about the curious convergence of tech that makes rotors possible: batteries, motors, sensors, digital over radio, software and materials science. But there's another interesting thing happening. Innovation here is not coming from traditional large companies like the one I work at. Small companies, like MK, are able to use the internet to find a sufficiently large global customer base, and the community becomes self-supporting and indeed a source of new innovation.

    Traditional large software companies are adapting to a familiar phenomenon in the form of open source software (OSS). Open source has given an impressive amount of modern software talent a friction free channel and even a marketplace in the form of other developers picking winners and losers. Open source tools and practice have also taught us that globally distributed development of complex software, without strong central planning is indeed possible. I don’t believe that companies like Freefly and MK would be successful without the community using the forums and YouTube videos to provide support, innovation and feedback – at least until the industry reaches a critical mass.

    Rotors are likely to have a significant impact on the quality and marketplaces of aerial images and video. At the “retail” photography level, there seems to be rush toward real estate videos. These are novel, but the same forces that make rotors affordable and possible may soon produce a supply glut. It remains to be seen if the needed combination of flying talent and photo talent keeps this under control.

    One has to assume that at the high end rotors are replacing crazy expensive helicopters, mechanical gyros, cranes and booms. This will obviously lower the cost for the folks already doing this, but should dramatically increase the supply of talent. It will be interesting to see if a much larger pool of talented filmmakers breakthrough as a result. The problem with trying to get paid in YouTube world remains, unless one is shooting for corporations.

    It will be interesting to watch DJI (and Blade) and MK. DJI has the China high volume / cost reduction machine and with China’s, er, flexible approach to R&D and intellectual property on their side. DJI is introducing a lot of people on the supply and demand side to rotors (me included). But somehow a world with only DJI would seem to have lost something wonderful. Hopefully demand and innovation at the high end will remain, but it’s tough to be on the wrong side of the technology volume / cost curve.

    And of course regulation is worry when everyone and their dog are flying cheap rotors.

    Thanks, again, for this community.

    Here are my questions:

    Is Coming Home Altitude relative to ground level at takeoff? Or absolute, as in above sea level.

    Has anyone gotten a Special Flight Operation Certificate (SFOC) in Canada (got the link from these forums – thanks again). Most of the application seems straightforward, and because I will be at commercial fireworks shows, we will already have perimeter security, but what is the correct answer to this:

    (h) the emergency contingency plan to deal with any disaster resulting from the operation

    Any disaster? Er, call 911? Administer first aid? Transport people to the hospital? Scream, pray, run? I dunno. What would make someone trying to decide to deny / grant such an application feel like enough planning was in place?
    Fireworks shooting tips most appreciated.


    Thanks.


    Meet Mike.

    A biography for nerds.
     
  2. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Mike:
    You raise many questions to which I don't know the answers. But then so does the Universe (gravity, space-time, etc.)

    The One That I Do: Come Home altitude is relative to ground level at take-off. There's an argument that it should therefore be called Come Home height not altitude, but, as the pressure transducer only knows about relative airpressure and there are no terrain maps built into the MK electronics, all it can do is measure deltas from when it took off. Don't even get me started on QNH and QFE.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum. Best to post your other questions in a forum of your choosing but leave this one for introductions otherwise I'll get confused. And want I don't happen that to.

    Andy.
     
  3. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Welcome, Mike.
    Here’s a guy who’s done some cool stuff with fireworks in Taiwan. He has a more recent video, but I can’t seem to find it.
     
  4. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    For the SFOC any 'plan' type question means they want to know what you are going to do if an situation arises as the result of your flight operation. I would guess that the fireworks company has a complete ops manual and it has a section on safety/emergencies. That's what they want to see in your SFOC application. The guys from Canada should be able to give you some tips.
     
  5. Mike Zintel

    Mike Zintel Member

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    Thanks. I've got two other questions. I think, from reading these forums, that the GH3 will not provide a video feed for FPV. Assuming that it true (and it's been my experience so far), is there a classy way to mount a small FPV camera on the gimbal. I found the MoVI Accessory Mount, and ordered one - if that's the best answer.

    Also, has anyone figured out how to license music for videos?

    Mike.
     
  6. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Try http://triplescoopmusic.com/. Or Google royalty free music. If you want something that is from a artist then google the artist and contact their publishing company. Oh and get out the check book. Low cost is royalty free or the companies like Triple Scoop.
     
  7. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    The GH3 definitely will provide live FPV feed using an HDMI convertor. There are a few out there. I use it with the smartOSD and get a nice on-screen display of the copter's data, too. There was an HDMI convertor available from Freefly for a while which has been discontinued, but there are other options.
     
  8. Mike Zintel

    Mike Zintel Member

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    Thanks again. Mike.
     

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