Niviuk Doberman & DJI Inspire
2015-03-23 Not my normal filming session!
This was a first -- camera work with a drone. You can see the
video that resulted here. Mike, Tim & I hatched the plan when Mike
said he had access to the high-end DJI Inspire quadcopter and we wanted
to see what was possible. We scratched the surface.
I'd seen some incredible shots of Shane Denherder on skis and was
curious what kind of capability the drone had. Boy was I impressed!
Conditions were perfect--there was not even the first ripple of
bumpiness so Tim and I both played. We even got to do no-wind launches,
My primary mission was trying out the Doberman 18 which I have access
to for a couple weeks both for fun and a review. That meant a bunch of
takeoffs and landings as I would changed various settings to get
comfortable. It has the PK system (it calls it something else) which
must be hooked up on the ground. It makes speedbar application ALSO let
the trimmers up--handy for having a big speed range while keeping your
hands in the brakes. It was quite effective although I will need to make
another adjustment because the wing's speed line is 2 inches too long.
That's a lot of travel to give up and renders my speed tests pretty much
In the video, you'll see the wing come up crooked, requiring me to
get under it. That's entirely due to laziness.
When I'm doing multiple flights like this, after landing I frequently
let the wing fall behind me, keep walking forward and pull brakes just
before it hits the ground. If the nylon gods are with me, it lays out,
reasonably nicely for the next launch. With no wind its rarely perfect.
After making my adjustments, I launch from that layout, and yes, it
would usually require some left or right movement to get things happily
moving down field.
The Doberman is a modern competition wing that will fill other niches
such as filming. I like being able to come up on someone quickly,
throttle off, reduce speedbar, ease in brake, then add throttle as I
match speeds to my subject. Oooh that feels good! It's very satisfying
having that all come together especially since I certainly don't get it
right every time. Just keep some left/right margin in case of a
misjudgement. I didn't do any filming on this flight since it was about
wing speeds, handling, and flying around the drone.
The full review will be in an upcoming edition of XC magazine.
Paramotoring with the DJI Inspire
First: make sure the Inspire pilot knows what he's doing. James
Aldred clearly does as evidenced from the above-mentioned footage of
Shane. My pilot, Mike Terfehr sure does, he's a competition level R/C
helicopter and airplane pilot.
The Inspire is not a toy -- it's bigger, heavier, and has
neck-cutting props that are best left to just slicing air. It is aimed
squarely at the video professionals. As you can see in the video, it's
fast, and had no problem keeping up with me. Quite the opposite, a
couple times I couldn't catch it when i wanted to. And it's smooth. The
4K camera is highly stabilized. There were a couple times while watching
the footage later that I had to look to see that it was, in fact flying,
and not stuck on a frame. I'll bet this is a big hit for video guys.
Legalities are "up in the air" a bit but, if you keep it in line of
sight you're legal to play. The only only uncertainties are taking pay.
There are a bunch of different modes that can be employed in the
right place. If you have another transmitter you can have a camera
operator point the camera while the drone pilot flies. That would the
ultimate but, unfortunately, we didn't have that. Plus, Tim, the natural
choice there, apparently needed his air fix.
Mike could see what the camera sees by having his phone clipped to
the transmitter. It uses sends the camera signal through either
Bluetooth or wireless.
This was spur of the moment, with a bit more planning and radio
communications it would be much better. Gives us something to look
Sadly, I cannot think of justification for purchasing one of these
things since my next project doesn't really call for it. have no way to
justify purchasing. But it's not so much about need it's about want,
lets face it, and it may happen anyway. But I'll wait until the "need"
arises so as to get the latest version. You'd definitely want to get the
extra transmitter and a couple of battery packs.