Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Quadcopter aka DRONE flight

The last time I collaborated with Peter we went to a rodeo.  This time I assisted as he made a short flight in a Quadcopter to survey a house from 0’ to 200’ above the street.

There are many un-resolved issues around the topic of remotely controlled flying vehicles (drones, quads, R/C vehicles, nanobots, other classes), and I will not be addressing privacy and legal concerns here.  I will post briefly on one way to capture the bird’s eye view that is so characteristic of this camera position. 

Anybody seriously interested in exploring quadcopters has to understand two things about picture taking:
1  Soliciting commercial aerial photography using any type of drone could be seen as a crime in some                    situations.
2  The useful/beautiful/inexpensive/cool results of a survey flight are dangerously close to surveillance. 

The equipment we used was made by DJI and looked like the picture at right.  The camera was a HERO 3+ which can record stills and video.  Most of the pictures you see here are from the HERO in still mode, and they all were corrected for color and clarity.

HERO 3+     http://gopro.com/cameras

This shot is typical of the wide angle lens distortions that occur when the HERO is close to the subject.  Below is an example of an image corrected for perspective (the vertical lines are much closer to true vertical).  Perspective correction caused other distortions, particularly at the margins. I usually try some perspective control and crop the bad parts.  

Perspective control was applied to vertical lines and the relatively flat horizon.

No Perspective control.

If you plan a survey like this one remember to hide the trash cans.

Coming down to earth and power off.

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