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Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Blog, Video

Sand Pits @ Sunset – Episode 2

High Times

Spin Panoramas in glorious Technicolour.  Watched Part 1 yet ? This is the bit after that.

This episode sponsored by the Cat’s Protection League.

Yes yes, don't go in, I know... I will not set one foot on your property. But I've seen everything.

Yes yes, don’t go in, I know…
I will not set one foot on your property. But I’ll still see everything :)

 

Yes, I am still using my unique location-based freedom from responsibility (see part 1), to do some high flyings over treacherous waters. We start high, and get to the lower stuff at the end. Conditions were good – there wasn’t that much wind to be any sort of threat to control, but it was there enough to have an unhelpfully profound effect on filming, during descents especially – prop wash + wind can’t ever be good. We’ll see how de-shake copes with all the long fades…

Would be interesting to fly from these fields too...

Would be interesting to fly from these fields too…

Even if it’s duff video – I really don’t care – that sand pit isn’t going anywhere, and I’ll do it better next time with more wind-defying equipment as time goes on – for now – I got some great flying fun, and some amazing screen-grabs, and I’m happy with that. For anyone wondering why I bother editing and uploading less-than-ideal flights – it’s because I want a personal record of it – nothing more – I do far too many flights to be able to remember them all without prompting.

Flight Log

Excepting the lakes, all the danger today is in the take-off area – in order to remain legal I was flying from a narrow public footpath that runs along the side of the sand pit. That is surrounded by trees pretty much all the way down, so careful ascents and landings are essential. I am not worried about privacy, as anyone can get a clear look into the pit if they just walk down that path a little bit more, which in my book, makes this fair game for an aerial flyover, with no permissions required.

If it goes down in the lake, I’m not going in there to get it. If I go down on the sand, I will go and get it, and take full responsibility for the trespass I’ll then have to do to recover it. Hopefully it won’t come to that, and indeed it didn’t. My 160-point pre-flight technical check is what gives me the confidence to make these sort of flights.

Power Fail

Today I find out what happens if you let your batteries drain to 2.5 volts per cel (10 v total). Normally I won’t let them go under 3.7 (14.8 total), but it occurred to me that I had never actually seen what happens if a flight has to go on longer than that. So on the last flight of the day I noticed I was surrounded by soft cushions of densely packed ferns, so thought I’d find out.

If I'd landed it now, instead of buggering about with curiosity, it wouldn't have crashed.

If I’d landed it now, instead of buggering about with curiosity, it wouldn’t have crashed.

At the end of the planned flight I brought her back in, and then hovered over the ferns to see what would happen. I didn’t have to wait long. One sharp drop, which I saved with a big throttle boost, then a slight recovery, and a plunge to ground, though from only 2 ft up. I did make a mistake, in that I chose the wrong moment to try and bring it back to the path, which meant there was lateral movement on it when it did its final drop, which resulted in a partial flip at the end, once more burying a prop in the ground.

Of course I was entirely ready for this sort of thing, so killed motors immediately, and everything was fine – no damage. Landing gear didn’t like it though – thank goodness for cable ties :)

Making the Grade

I like nice colours, and if the sky isn’t doing what I want it to, I will help it afterwards. Things often look less vivid on film than they do when you’re actually there. Especially if you are shooting in Pro-Tune mode on the GoPro.

Some grading, yesterday.

Some digital grading, yesterday.

Today’s video corrects for that, but goes further, and is unashamedly graded to a bold, contrasty, slightly over-saturated palette, for no more reason than because I like it that way. All shots have levels applied to alter the black point, and improve contrast, and I’m running individual clip-based secondary colour correction to grade, and further tilt things in the direction I want to see them go.

Shake-down

Ultimately, smoothness is more important to me than detail, which is why I use Google’s sometimes magnificent De-shake tool to minimize the effects of wind turbulence on my footage, while I continually quest to find ways of making it increasingly unnecessary.

All the pictures

That’s a lie. I have over 50. I’m going to share just my favourites – I know you’re all busy.

 

This sort of view is EXACTLY why I do this.

This sort of view is EXACTLY why I do this.

 

There's me - Nice & legally on the public footpath.

There’s me – Nice & legally on the public footpath.

Would be interesting to fly from these fields too...

Would be interesting to fly from these fields too…

Variegated ground textures. Very Pleasing.

Variegated ground textures. Very pleasing.

Just EPIC.

Just EPIC. That’s 400 ft up, that is…

Always have a token B&W one, so you can pretend what you do might be 'art'.

Always have a token B&W one, so you can pretend what you do might be ‘art’.

(I’ve had enough and I’m) Going Home

Not really.  But I have run out of battery packs so I’m going home.

And I like my new car mount thing, and SA-M likes car vids, so let’s get some Foo Fighters on the stereo, and have ourselves a little GoPro2 low-light test on the way back.

See ya next time…

JW