It’s not a good idea (or legal) to film in town centers, where there are a lot of people, but for a long time I have been looking into other ways to get decent shots of my home town without breaking any rules. It all comes down to finding launch sites that are in exactly the right place – right on the edge of town, and I have been looking for those a lot recently. As you’ll see, I found 2 suitable sites, where I could launch in green fields with good tree protection, and more than 50 m away from any building, and 150 m away from any building with people in.
Hospital Recreation Field
Not alot of room to play here, but we do meet the minimum requirements for distance from buildings at launch, and if we go pretty much straight up and down in a single line we are doing considerate flying, not overflying any building or structure, and generally keeping out of the way, and nice and high so that we are not intruding on people in their gardens, some of which back on to the field. I take off from the middle of the field, which only had 1 person in it at launch. By the time I landed, there were some small dogs off leads running about, and I talked to the owners, but they weren’t the sort of dogs I needed to worry about and showed no interest in the multirotor, steering well clear as I came in to land. GPS cover wasn’t so good here, but the 16 satellites I had at launch remained locked for the duration.
On the other side of town is Avenue Park, my second flight field of the day. This was a lot busier, with several groups of people doing sport type things in the afternoon sun, but I did have a good area of the field to myself, Special Assistant Rich, my spotter of the day with me, and once everyone noticed the UAV, they were all very keen to interact with it, and do things for the camera as it came past, so knowing that everyone was aware of its presence I commenced a quick circuit at around 10m or so, so everyone could wave or whatever, but then we headed for our own space, and went nice and high to get the second of our town pans. Second time up today, and second time we had flawless performance from the Typhoon H in the continuing wind, though it had died down a bit an hour after the first flight. It really is VERY stable and GPS / video signal was constant for both flights. We had 20 satellites locked into the H, and 18 on the ST-16, so better than before, and equally rock solid.
TPS Fields / Pathway
There is one shot in this video (the last sunset one) not taken at either of the above places. I did one launch from the pathway at the back of Tesco late at night when there were very few people around. The path was clear at both take-off and landing, so no worries there, and although I can’t launch from it, there is a huge empty field at the back of the school we can hover over for extra safety in case anyone comes along the pa
th. As a result I can only fly here when the school is closed, but it was, so I did !
Perplexing Panorama Problems
People will still be saying I do too many of them, but I honestly think that the slow ascending 2-stage spinning rise is pretty much the perfect way to show the town unfolding beneath you. No travelling pans or tracking shots in this one for the reasons above, but I do like that gradual upward spin, and it doesn’t make me too dizzy. I have got to get smoother at adjusting the tilt angle mid pan – some of that isn’t as smooth as it could be. It’s also quite difficult judging the perfect speed for them, but hopefully I will get better at this…
But today I ran into a new problem with footage. One of my PCs really struggles with 1080P 60FPS, so I thought I’d try 50 FPS (which just about works) on that computer. But that, combined with bright lighting conditions and lowish exposure did leave us with pans that weren’t quite as smooth as they could be. I outputted at all sorts of bitrates, but couldn’t eliminate it entirely, or get it as smooth as the ungraded footage. It might be that a Neutral Density filter would sort that out and allow me to use an exposure value that is roughly double the frame rate, which should result in the sort of ultra smooth pans we saw in the last PF Lake video. Or I can just go back to 60 FPS ! I’ll do that initially.