The Phantom in the desert

35 35 views
7y Apr 16, 2014

Filmed in the Arizona Desert outside Phoenix and in the Nevada desert around Las Vegas with the DJI Phantom Vision 2 +

I have taken my time before posting footage. I first flew a Phantom at the beginning of Feb but haven't had much opportunity to practise my flying skills as I live in London under the Heathrow flight path!

There is a lot to learn and as you can see in this edit the best shots, well I think so, are the really controlled slow shots where I held my composition around the cacti. I still am nowhere near good yet. I need the controls to be second nature. The effective reversing of them when facing different ways stills screws with my head the same way switching between Canon and Nikon glass does with it's opposing focus direction!

A full review of this and my Phantom 2 with Zenmuse 2 axis gimbal for the GoPro is coming very soon in the meantime this is an edit together of footage shot using the just released DJI Phantom Vision 2+. There is no GoPro footage in this edit. My blog post will also cover in depth the safety aspects as well as the legal stuff you must know!

The video review will go much more in depth, compare images etc.... but here are a few words to tie in with this edit to tide you over for now:

The 3 axis gimbal of the new Vision 2+ is excellent. It works beautifully and I assume will perform in a very similar way to the the new 3 axis ZenMuse gimbal for the GoPro Hero 3.

The camera is the same camera as the standard Vision 2 which doesn't have the gimbal. It's OK. The stills are very good. The video isn't so good, especially when you compare it to the GoPro 3. In fact the GoPro Hero 3+ 2.7K mode is so bloody good that it makes it a shame to shoot with anything else.

That being said the integrated system that the Vision 2 and Vision 2+ uses is fantastic and the best way to learn.Having a very good quality "first person view" of what the camera sees on your iphone or android PLUS all the telemetry info which you need makes the system a dream to use. Learning to fly without FPV Is tough as is getting your composition right.

The wifi range or the system too is also excellent thanks to the strong repeater built into the controller. In fact it's much better than my current FPV system which I have on my Phantom 2 for my GoPro. That system has many different components from different components that works over an analogue transmitting and receiving system. It's temperamental and far from neat! The Vision 2 set up is SO neat.

The 3 axis gimbal does wonders but is fragile. The Phantom 2 is pretty robust. I have crashed a fair few times in my learning curve of flying. I have never done this before, never flied RC helicopters or anything similar. It takes practice, lots of it. The Phantom itself seems to take a fair few crashes with ease. The gimbal though is quite fragile and an impact can cause it to malfunction. In fact if you are learning I would almost recommend the non plus Vision 2 Phantom. You won't get smooth video but the stills are great and it's very robust compared to the gimbal. That is what i bought first to learn with. Made total sense now and I still recommend it even though you will be itching to Upgrade to a gimbal quite quickly. Learn to walk first! :)

I shot this in the 1080P 25p. It shoots up to 30p in 1080p. 60p is available in 720p. Avoid the in camera sharpening. I shot this in the "soft" setting. It is that indeed. Really quite soft. I have had to do a lot of work on the footage to try to bring it to life. I still haven't quite succeeded. The standard and high setting are very harsh and unnatural video like. Avoid them! I have done so much sharpening on this footage. Some works better than others.

Warp stabilise in Premiere was used on just 3 shots due to high wind. Most of the time it simply wasn't needed. The 3 axis gimbal does wonders. Wind is bloody scary. Even with GPS mode on (which I turn off for intricate moves to avoid the corrections it keeps doing) it can move away from you quite fast if the wind catches it plus also be very careful of battery life. If it gets too low it won't be able to climb and that can be a problem! Bring it back at 30% to be extra cautious. Battery life is around 25 minutes.

I ran this through after effects to remove most of the barrel distortion.

The bit rate of the the recorded MP4 is also a huge problem. It's around 12 MB/s in the 1080p mode. That's half of AVCHD way short of the GoPro Hero 3+ in 2.7K mode which is around 43 MB/s.

If DJI could put a better camera in, it doesn't have to be as high quality as the top end mode of the Hero 3+ (although that would be nice!), something that could give me a highly detailed 1080p image with a higher bitrate then I would be much happier.

This edit graded with Colorista II and FilmConvert. 10% off codes below:
code: bloom10 at gopb.co/redgiant
code: bloom at gopb.co/filmconvert

Music is by The Echelon Effect "Safety" from The Music Bed gopb.co/musicbed

About Philip Bloom

Philip Bloom is a world-renowned filmmaker who, for the past 10 years of his 30-year career has specialized in creating incredible cinematic images no matter what the camera. Some of his most iconic work was created with Canon DSLRs.


Markdown is supported.