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July 19, 2013 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Quadcopter + GoPro + Los Angeles (SLYT) via Reddit.
posted by zabuni (53 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I watched this yesterday. I love it. Any idea what copter he used?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:41 PM on July 19, 2013


AnecdoteFilter: we budgeted around two grand a couple months ago for a RC/DSLR helicopter guy to come in and shoot a certain rural area.

The shots they provided were over the top good. We joked about a fifty grand shot in a four grand show. So we put these fantastic, soft, buttery, lazy pan shots over the local geographic area into the show, and the client complains that it looks like a model.

Well shit, hopefully we get to use some of it as b-roll somewhere down the line.
posted by Sphinx at 7:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


cjorgensen, from OP: he used a DJI Phantom!

Great video! My friends from SF always send me those time-lapses of the Golden Gate Bridge or something similar... I'm happy that I can send them this in return :)
posted by raihan_ at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2013


My bad. I didn't click "More Info."
posted by cjorgensen at 7:48 PM on July 19, 2013


So, wait, you could buy the rig for this — the copter and the camera — new for about a grand? Wow.

How realistic would it be to do some stabilization in post? And I noticed a few other distortions here and there — could those be fixed in post?

Because those are some great shots that would be crane shots or aerial shots, even from a consumer sports camcorder.

This really is the future.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I lived in LA for years and I never saw the city quite so empty and boring as this. Apparently the city's population has declined until there are only 100 people left at an MTV taping.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:01 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the first couple of seconds I thought the music was early-70s Lennon.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


How realistic would it be to do some stabilization in post? And I noticed a few other distortions here and there — could those be fixed in post?

He did a lot of post in Premier CS6.

You can also buy a stabilization month/gimble for another $700.

It looks like the camera is about $400. The copter about $650. $75 for the remote. $700 for the optional gimble (and you have to solder it to the circuit board). $25 per battery. $250 for the case.

If anyone is interested, my birthday is next month.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Reminds me greatly of the "God's Little Eye" from Gibson's "All Tomorrow's Parties".
posted by Sintram at 8:19 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently the Los Angeles east of the 101 disappeared?
posted by fishmasta at 9:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


What is the deal with the Capital Records building? I get it; it's shaped like one of those really early cylinder records, sheesh.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:44 PM on July 19, 2013


I assumed that pool-parties that were that... party-like? would be 80% Hollywood imagination and gloss in movies, but that party looks very much like it. Maybe it's more of an LA thing. Heh, I suppose even just pools are more of an LA thing. :)
posted by anonymisc at 9:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is really fantastic. Is this really only ~ $1,000?

The shot that really got to me was when the rig flew up to the pool party on the roof. I found it very disconcerting that nearly everyone appeared to not really care about a camera drone flying close enough that some people tried to hit it with beach balls. Some mugged for the camera. Some never even looked at it, appearing to never notice it was there. Which means that it's quiet enough to hover over what in fairness was probably a pretty loud party without being immediately obvious.

The implications for the movie industry are staggering in and of themselves. Add in the implications for everyone else and welcome to the future. We're living it.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, if Hollywood wasn't lying about the pool parties... maybe there is hope that there really are underground raves full of vampires, deep in Russia. Where's my passport...?
posted by anonymisc at 9:48 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I assumed that pool-parties that were that... party-like? would be 80% Hollywood imagination and gloss in movies, but that party looks very much like it. Maybe it's more of an LA thing. Heh, even just pools are more of an LA thing. :)

I think that's the roof of the Standard/Mondrian in Hollywood. It's very much a scene, $10 Coronas and all.
posted by Optamystic at 9:49 PM on July 19, 2013


ob1quixote: “Is this really only ~ $1,000? ”
So I looked it up with the most naive search possible and the answer is yes, you can get a Phantom and GoPro for around a grand. DJI is also releasing a version of the Phantom called the Vision that will have a 1080p camera controllable with an iDevice built in at around that same price point.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:15 PM on July 19, 2013


I found it very disconcerting that nearly everyone appeared to not really care about a camera drone flying close enough that some people tried to hit it with beach balls. Some mugged for the camera. Some never even looked at it, appearing to never notice it was there. Which means that it's quiet enough to hover over what in fairness was probably a pretty loud party without being immediately obvious.

I understand where you're coming from, but you need to remember this is a rooftop party in LA at some club. The reason people were acting that way is more likely because each and every one of them presumed it was something to do with the party itself. Those kinds of events are crawling with cameras, and most of the people who attend them are all too happy to be photographed.

The ethics of $RANDOM_DUDE flying over it with a video drone, potentially without permission, are an entirely separate matter.
posted by trackofalljades at 10:20 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


+ .2% of Los Angeles.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:21 PM on July 19, 2013


How hard would it be to take out a drone with a non-lethal anti-drone weapon. Private weddings, rooftop parties, now open season.
posted by stbalbach at 10:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sacramento is working right now on a law to criminalize the use of these devices for papparazzi purposes....
Where I were governor I would have instead proposed the legalization of HO class Anti-aircraft guns for the famous.
posted by BentPenguin at 10:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ethics of $RANDOM_DUDE flying over it with a video drone, potentially without permission, are an entirely separate matter.

Yeah, I thought the FAA rules were basically "not over populated areas" which has been liberally interpreted to include, say, public parks, but there was certainly a living room or two shot in this one that made the hair on the back of my neck stick up. Isn't there a sort of "don't be that guy that gets the hobby shut down" ethic?
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on July 19, 2013


How realistic would it be to do some stabilization in post?

Very easy. Drop the stabilizing effect on the clip, let it do its magic.

I saw what I thought were stabilizer artifacts when the pool party first appears. More than just the perspective shift as the copter flies up, the geometry actually appears to warp, which happens if you use the Warp Stabilizer in Premiere set to Subspace Warp as the stabilization method. Could have just been compression artifacts though, but that shot popped out to me as looking a little warp-trippy.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:05 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The drummer for Tame Impala is fantastic. Such a lackadaisical, behind-the-beat, out Ringo-Starring Ringo Starr attitude. I fucking love that sound. Listening to the whole album is a slog, but there are a few songs like this one, and Mind Mischief that are epic.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:51 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The project I have been wanting to do, if I end up with enough money to waste on such things this year is, to mount a high FOV stereoscopic camera on a small quadcopter, and live streaming to an Oculus Rift.

It is flying telepresense robot time, because it is the future now.
posted by St. Sorryass at 12:24 AM on July 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


The grassy area is near the Silver Lake Reservoir, so they did get east of the 101.

Hackaday just posted about using Oculus Rift for first person video (fpv) from a drone:
http://hackaday.com/2013/07/16/fpv-drones-with-an-oculus-rift/

DIY drone & RC communities usually do have a (sometimes over zealous) protect-the-hobby ethic, but they can't actually do much when, at this point, you can easily buy drone equipment and fly it without assistance or training.
posted by jjwiseman at 1:45 AM on July 20, 2013


If you shoot with a GoPro Hero 3 Black in 4K, you'll have a lot of room to cut for stabilization should you end up outputting 1080p.

It is indeed impressive. What will be more so is a way to get real-time video data back to the operator, like they have for drones.
posted by gen at 1:58 AM on July 20, 2013


I'm surprised that the paparazzi haven't jumped on this. Maybe I shouldn't give them ideas.
posted by sidereal at 2:34 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


[searched this page for 'paparazzi', failed, sorry]

Laws governing the use of these gizmos will be interesting. I imagine they'll be a combination of photography-in-public laws (I can take pictures from any public sidewalk), private property laws (I can't fly my bird into your house through an open window) and airspace restrictions (can't fly it over the White House). Is it an aircraft or a person?

I also imagine the laws will be poorly written by non-technophiles looking for votes...
posted by sidereal at 2:44 AM on July 20, 2013


Yeah, I saw this flyover of Niagara Falls the other day, using the same setup. I was wondering what the range was for the controller, and if there was the ability to have a live feed, just because it looked as though they could see what was being filmed. I don't know how possible that is with a GoPro or this setup, but I'm not very up on this stuff.
posted by Red Loop at 3:37 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's the W Hotel with the rooftop pool. My friend has DJ'd at that pool party.
posted by empath at 4:11 AM on July 20, 2013


Minigame inside GTA V?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:18 AM on July 20, 2013


Some of the comments on the Reddit link are quite interesting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:29 AM on July 20, 2013


I went on a small quadcopter video binge after seeing this, and I found these guys:

Team BlackSheep


Also, previous post with some other quadcopter videos.
posted by ymgve at 5:26 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I see warp stabilization artifacts at :37 :48 1:28 and 2:46. It could be heat wave though, I suppose.

I think this tech will become really viable for filmmakers once the Blackmagic micro starts shipping. This is cool and all, but I don't want my movie to look like a snowboard video and the GoPro, while getting better, really locks you into that look especially if there are man made structures in the foreground at all. The fisheye is great for action sports but kind of cheesy elsewhere.

I wonder if the platform can handle the weight of a 2nd generation BMCC.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:47 AM on July 20, 2013


Red Loop: I was wondering what the range was for the controller, and if there was the ability to have a live feed, just because it looked as though they could see what was being filmed. I don't know how possible

Real-Time video from a quadcopter has been a thing for a while. Google "Quadcopter FPV". For instance, check out this earlier flyover of Niagara falls. The pilot nearly loses it when he accidentally knocks over the high-gain antenna that was relaying the video feed.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


How hard would it be to take out a drone with a non-lethal anti-drone weapon. Private weddings, rooftop parties, now open season.

If we drop the "non-lethal" bit, $550 gets you a budget Remington 700 and a crap scope that can put five out of five bullets in a 3-4" circle at 200 meters, and $200 gets you enough practice ammo to at least hit anything Phantom-sized consistently at the ranges seen in this video...

I'm curious as to how the law would shake out regarding destruction of private camera drones trespassing over someone's property...
posted by Ryvar at 8:00 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's another, really gorgeous one from Niagara Falls, put here just because I couldn't think of where else to drop it. Apparently that video was shot for this contest, so there will probably be a lot more of these around.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:44 AM on July 20, 2013


Where I were governor I would have instead proposed the legalization of HO class Anti-aircraft guns for the famous.
posted by BentPenguin


Finally, something Gov. Schwarzenegger could have handled correctly.

I'd be totally down with having the right to blast these from the sky, actually.
posted by spitbull at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we drop the "non-lethal" bit, $550 gets you a budget Remington 700 and a crap scope that can put five out of five bullets in a 3-4" circle at 200 meters, and $200 gets you enough practice ammo to at least hit anything Phantom-sized consistently at the ranges seen in this video...

I'm curious as to how the law would shake out regarding destruction of private camera drones trespassing over someone's property...


The problem is that firing a rifle at the kind of elevated angle needed to shoot down a drone means that you have no idea where your misses are going.
posted by atrazine at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Birdshot, atrazine, birdshot. The air resistance across those little bb's will slow them down to the point as to only be a menace to the drone and not be like a mini artillery shell like a 30-06 could potentially be from firing at an upward angle. That being said, bring it on drones, nothing like a moving target to improve my gun-fu.
posted by NoRelation at 10:57 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Quadcopter and Go Pro Hero 3 Filming Cyclocross

This would be ideal for various kinds of races that are very difficult to film!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:16 AM on July 20, 2013


There is obviously something about drones that makes people find the idea of shooting them down very compelling. I'm sure LAPD will understand if you tell them you had a really good reason for firing your shotgun in city limits.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eh, get used to them. How is one of these any different than what we've had for the last 20 years? Telephoto lenses could get shots from a ways away. You have google glasses (which no one will adopt) and pretty much everyone has a smart phone these days. Every single day someone is arrested for dining something legal with their phone. Why should there need to be new laws regarding theses at all? Our current ones cover these just fine. Photography is not a crime. Putting a camera on a drone shouldn't change this.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:14 PM on July 20, 2013


This would be ideal for various kinds of races that are very difficult to film!

The race would have to be very short and slow because quadcopters have short flight duration and low speeds.

Or you could just get a helicopter that is capable of keeping up with the racer's speed. For example, here's a quadcopter video of racing at the Nurburgring. Lots of slow pans that show no real action, don't even think of trying to track a car. Now watch helicopter video at the Nurburgring, chasing a very fast Porsche 918. At several points of this video, the helicopter is moving as fast as the car, even through high speed sections of the road. And a helicopter is heavy enough to lift a cameraman and enough fuel to fly for hours.

Or you could get a blimp. I've been playing Real Racing 3 on my iPhone, it's really annoying when I'm racing at Laguna Seca, the Fuji Blimp is always flying overhead. Sometimes it hovers right over the track and I get distracted and run right off the road.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:02 PM on July 20, 2013


I imagine some sort of directional antenna jamming the controller should be effective to take one out. The product page says that it returns to base if it loses signal, so no harm is done. Maybe add a laser on top to dazzle the camera attached.

Or get one of this choppers that squirts water, load it with glue, and have some aerial battles.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 8:24 PM on July 20, 2013


Wow, he did that without even using a gimbal. Nice work.
posted by smoothvirus at 8:49 PM on July 20, 2013


BTW here is a link to my FPV quadcopter build, it's a bit more capable than the Phantom is, all up cost minus transmitter would be about $1000. I just ordered a brushless gimbal from China and picked up a GoPro this evening.
posted by smoothvirus at 8:52 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


RC systems these days are digital wideband spread spectrum, because it's resistant to jamming. Which just means you might need a stronger signal than you expected in order to effectively jam (and you may be jamming you or your neighbor's wifi while you're at it).

While DJI systems don't have much autonomy, the open source boards like ardupilot can run entire missions completely autonomously, so jamming may not be as effective--unless you're jamming GPS, which might get you more attention than you want.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:02 PM on July 20, 2013


I don't think there's any question these are going to revolutionize a lot of things -- here's a hexacopter view of the SpaceX Grasshopper VTVL rocket test last month, for example. And there's the amazing quadcopter footage of the Gezi Park protests, which became such a tactical threat to the police that they shot it down. If there hasn't already been, there will soon be concert films, music videos, and other entertainment with economical aerial filming. If you're any kind of news or event producer you have to be mulling this over in your head, even if not organizationally.

Anyway, I'm sure all that's been said before. This may not replace other kinds of filming but it will augment them, get shots that would be impossible otherwise, and there are certainly applications for sporting events that aren't worth the expense of a helicopter.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 PM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


and I'm off to write my updated version of China Town, with Gittes as a hard-boiled remote controlled aircraft enthusiast.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:26 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


How hard would it be to take out a drone with a non-lethal anti-drone weapon. Private weddings, rooftop parties, now open season.

A decent pressure washer might do the trick.
posted by Scoo at 7:29 AM on July 21, 2013


FAA warns public not to shoot at unmanned aircraft.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2013


es_de_bah: "and I'm off to write my updated version of China Town, with Gittes as a hard-boiled remote controlled aircraft enthusiast."

Chinatown? It should be based off of The Conversation
posted by Sphinx at 12:33 PM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


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