Drones With HD Cameras Seeing Increased Solar Industry Use

A lot of people think of drones as toys. But while drones with HD cameras are becoming more accessible to the general public, they’re also seeing increased use in the energy industry. Particularly in solar farms, where the use of drones with high-definition and infrared cameras have drastically cut down on both manpower and cost when it comes to making sure solar panels are properly maintained.

Drones With HD Cameras Seeing Increased Solar Industry Use

Just Look At Shizuoka

Shizuoka, Japan has several solar power plants in it, and these plants need to operate at maximum efficiency in order to provide for the citizens. One way the plants do that, according to Japan Today, is to use drones to check on irregularities in panels.

The way the process works is that a drone is equipped with an infrared camera, and it takes aerial pictures of panels to find hot spots and other problem areas. This whole process can be accomplished quickly and efficiently with a drone, which means human technicians don’t have to go from panel to panel, doing everything by hand. With drones providing nearly instantaneous feedback, problems can be located, assessed, and then fixed in a fraction of the time they would have before. More importantly, all of this can be done with minimal personnel involved, which represents an even bigger savings for solar plants.

When all is said and done, drones are one more tool in building the energy of the future. For more news and updates about the latest uses for drone technology, simply contact us today!

Yuneec Hot Summer Sale Promotion (Extended)

Kick off the Summer with a bang!

NEW PROMOTIONAL PRICING FROM 5/14/2017-7/15/2017

RDM Drones is excited to announce a great lineup of opportunities to save this summer! Customers can purchase any of these models at unbeatable prices starting May 14th. These drones will literally fly off the shelves so make sure order early for this exciting promotion.

Yuneec Hot Summer Sale Promotion

 

 

$400 INSTANT REBATE ON TYPHOON H with RealSense!

$300 INSTANT REBATE ON TYPHOON H PRO AND COLOR BOX!

$100 INSTANT REBATE ON ALL Q500 4K MODELS!

$50 INSTANT REBATE ON THE YUNEEC BREEZE!

 

How To Take Photographs Using A Drone

Before you take photographs with a drone, it is important to know how to fly the device. For a beginner, taking pictures is unmanageable, and windy days are especially difficult for pilots at any level of experience.

How To Take Photographs Using A Drone

When taking pictures with a drone, it is important to choose your subject carefully. Some photographs taken with drone devices resemble images taken at the ground level. An image’s uniqueness is an important factor when deciding to take a photograph with a drone. Videography is different in this respect because of the drone’s gliding movements in the sky.

Depending on your drone, you might have to buy expensive equipment to take quality photographs or record video. Drones also come with transmitters–to control the altitude and rotation of the aircraft–and monitors that provide a live feed. Gimbals provide stability to a camera, and they allow the pilot to move the camera according to a situation’s need.

To improve still image quality, it is important to fly a drone slowly or to hover. Because of the lack of a sturdy tripod, drones suffer from a lack of light. So, before sunrise, it might be necessary to set the ISO very high. DSLR or mirror-less cameras work better when set to automatic mode. That way they can focus on subjects in front of them during flight.

When drones have a low battery, their default option is to land, even if they are flying over a body of water. It is easy to get caught up in taking pictures, but a pilot should train himself to pay attention to the battery power meter. A good strategy to save battery power is to launch a drone from the place where you want to take pictures. This will avoid wasting time and battery searching for the perfect location. Doing most of the work from the ground will save you a lot of problems in the air. It is important to note that heavy cameras will deplete your drone’s battery power quicker. Weather condition affects battery performance. Cold temperature flights will consume more of your battery power, and in heavy winds, drones must work hard to hold their position in the sky.

Laws with respect to drones are constantly changing. It is important to use common sense and avoid areas where a crash can cause major damages. Drone technology can provide great angles and perspectives for your photography, but it is worth remembering that great pictures result from interesting subjects and good stories.

If you would like to learn more about this drone photography or taking aerial photos, please contact us.

Benefits of Lens Filters For Aerial Landscape Photography

Photographing landscapes from the sky is an exciting venture! An aerial shot can capture a view in a way it might never have been seen before. But landscape photography can come with its challenges. Here are some ways that you can turn those challenges into opportunities for breath-taking shots with lens filters for your drone:

Benefits of Lens Filters For Aerial Landscape Photography

Why a Lens Filter

You might be wondering why you simply cannot use an after-shot software program to add a filter effect instead of purchasing a lens filter. But the fact is that many photographers would argue that a computer program simply cannot replicate what a lens filter can do in real time. Lens filters also act as the protection to your camera lens; an added bonus to making your equipment last longer.

Landscape Shots

Capturing nature can be tricky. Landscapes exist outside of a studio or an area with controlled light and movements. This is where a lens filter becomes essential. Whether your perfect shot is a rushing river, dazzling night sky as the sun sets, or a mountain scene, having a lens filter can make all the difference.

UV Filters

The simplest filter you can obtain is a clear UV filter. They improve your clarity, reduce haze, and protect your lens from the elements.

Polarized Filter

This filter is go-to for most photographers. Pictures that might otherwise be dull due to a low color contrast can be transformed into brilliant shots by this lens’ capabilities. Reflection and glare decrease as contrast and saturation increase. When shooting landscapes with an expanse of sky, this lens can make the sky bluer and the colors of the surrounding land stand out.

Neutral Density (ND) Filter

An ND filter is extremely useful during the daytime. Light hits the filter and is reduced in its intensity. This, in turn, gives a longer exposure time, allowing the camera to decrease shutter speed. A perfect time to use this technique is when you’re shooting something that is moving, such as a waterfall.

Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filter

This filter is all about balance. It is used in landscapes where a heavy contrast exists. The perfect example would be a sunset where the sky is brighter than the darkened horizon. Either a Hard-Edge GND filter or a Soft-Edge GND filter would work well in this situation. The former is used when the foreground has a straight edge on the horizon; the latter is used when the foreground isn’t flat and needs a softer transition into the skyline.

Color/Warming/Cooling Filters

These filters affect the white balance in a shot. They are used for either color correction or color subtraction. Colored filters are also stackable for different effects.

Landscape photographers have some of the best photo subjects in the world: the beauty around us! But as we have discussed, sometimes the conditions of nature need filtering in order to properly capture them. Lens filters for your aerial drone, such as the Freewill Filter 6-PACK for YUNEEC, can make a world of difference for your photography. Contact us for more information on lens options and what would work best with your drone!

6 Tips for Shooting a Cinematic Drone Video

Flying a drone is fun by itself. However, many enjoy the options of filming while they fly. It is not complicated to do. However, there are considerations when shooting footage with a drone. Whether it involves conditions and time of day, how to fly the drone or post processing of footage, planning increases the footage quality. Following six tips for cinematic drone video will increase the quality and enjoyment.

6 Tips for Shooting a Cinematic Drone Video

1) Shoot at Optimal Times of the Day

Many films during the late morning or afternoon hours. However, the sunrise and sunset lead to the better film. During the early mornings and later afternoons, shadows define the terrain and provide better shots. The fact many don’t use these times, make footage stand out as well.

2) Watch the Wind

Most drones fly well in windy conditions. Many handles winds upwards of 25-35 miles per hour. While flying for fun is possible, high winds cause distortions when filming. It is better to fly on days where the wind is below 20 miles per hour. If possible, a windless day is best. Also be aware that sharp gusts affect footage as well. Days with sharp bursts of wind aren’t ideal for filming with a drone.

3) Go Slow

This seems like common sense. However, people underestimate how fast they are flying. Fast accelerations and deceleration can ruin a good film. Practicing these moves before filming will save footage later on. While it takes the time to practice, it is worth the effort when this simple problem is no longer an issue.

4) Use Strafing

The term strafing means sideways movement. A lot of landscape shots get done with the drone flying forwards and backward. Using a strafing technique shows the view from a different perspective. Perfecting this technique allows filming of unique features of the land that forward and backward moving shots miss.

5) Shutter Speed Settings

When filming with a drone, it is better to have a low shutter speed. Many settings start at 500th of a second. This is fine for starting out and learning. Yet, this setting is not the best for making cinematic videos. A lower shutter speed, 100th to 250th or lower works better. Using this shutter speed provides a higher quality and more enjoyable footage.

6) Distortion Corrections in Post Processing

Before sharing footage, it is best to process and correct distortions. Issues tend to come up when using GoPro cameras. A good idea is shooting 4K while outputting 1080p. This helps preserve the images’ quality. Add the footage to a 1080 composition. Then add the effects Optics Compensation. A good idea is to check the Reverse Lens Distortion Box. Set the field of view between 70 and 80 when using a GoPro camera. When needing a wider shot, just check Optimize Pixels. Black bars need to be added to the top and bottom when using this option.

These are just a sample of tips to increase the quality while shooting footage with a drone. Remember, it takes time and practice to produce great film consistently. Contact us today for more information and tips about filming amazing footage with a drone.

Cinematic Views – DJI Drones and Video in Motion

Unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs) are increasing in popularity and drones are finding all types of uses.  Recreationally and functionally, drones are useful for a number of reasons, and the ability to capture aerial photography and videography is at the top of the list.  DJI Drones are an industry leader in UAV production, and drones that specialize in aerial photography and videography.  DJI also specializes in drone parts and accessories.

Cinematic Views - DJI Drones and Video in Motion

Drones allow access to a wide array of views and film shots.  The cinematic elements that drones add to film projects are mesmerizing and are very cost-effective.  Drones replace expensive cranes and other bulky equipment and offer film projects a more fluid and expansive range of camera motion.  DJI Drones are fast and produce the best quality video while remaining agile in its movements.  The Inspire series from DJI offers the first filmmaking drones to have an HD video transmission system.  They are also equipped with a 4k camera and a 360-degree rotating gimbal.  This innovation in videography comes with an app control system that makes movements easy to control.  DJI also produces many other models of drones for consumer and professional use.

If you are considering a UAV for a film project, or want to experiment with aerial videography, DJI Drones are an excellent choice.  These drones offer speed, maneuverability, and high-quality video that will add depth to your films.  To learn more contact us

“Free” Inspire Work Stand

This just in from a customer who likes to do his own repairs and keeps several Inspire 1 aircraft.

Anyone who works on crashed Inspire 1s, or indeed just wants to replace a landing leg or motor knows that it is not the most convenient thing to do on a workbench. It would be much better if the aircraft body was supported and did not rely on the landing gear to do so while procedures are being done.

It’s natural that one who is frugal enough to do his own repairs is also very inventive where any special or normally expensive jigs or fixtures may be wanted.  To this end, we present the FREE Inspire  Work Stand. All you have to do is drink coffee or know someone that does.

“Free” Inspire Work Stand

The stand is made from a regular metal coffee can. It’s about 6” tall, 6.25” diameter, and the top opening is about 5.125” wide. The Inspire’s body sits on this round ring‐type area. The plastic lid of the coffee can was saved and cut out so that it prevents scratching the bottom of the Inspire.

“Free” Inspire Work Stand

So, lest this look like some discarded can and get pitched out by the janitorial staff, it can be covered with white paper and labeled, so that no one can make that mistake.

In this case, the paper that was already printed on one side was re‐used. Two 8.5×11 sheets were used for the cover and part of another sheet was used to print the labels on.  The two first sheets were cut to 5.5×11 so as to fit the side of the can properly. The hardest part was just lining them up and using some tape to hold them to the can.

“Free” Inspire Work Stand

So there is the result, a free fixture for working on the Inspire. It may be wise to put a couple pounds of something heavy in the can (sand, concrete, plaster of Paris, potting compound, gravel, etc. avoiding metal that could mess with the compass.) so it’s not prone to tip, but it’s never tipped yet. There is always room to improve it and some ingenious person probably will.

Revel in the free stuff!

“Free” Inspire Work Stand

Prevent Problems While Capturing Aerial Footage

The rise in the technology of the unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, makes aerial videography readily available. People can now film great aerial shots for posting on the web. Many think that it is simple. Fly the drone while filming. However, some find out that without preparation, there are problems. These tips help avoid a lot of issues and increases video quality. Here are our tips in order to prevent problems while capturing aerial footage

Tips to Prevent Problems While Capturing Aerial Footage

Learn The FAA Regulations

If flying the drone is just for recreation, there are some rules to follow. Some basic ones include flying during daylight, fly under 400 feet, don’t fly in national parks, and don’t fly directly over people. If flying commercially, there is certification involved. One needs to get a 333 Exemption or wait until the FAA enacts Part 107. More information is here. Knowing the regulations beforehand prevents problems later.

Learn to Fly First

This sounds like common sense. However, many want to get out and start flying and filming right away. This is fun, yet causes problems. Take the time to master the controls of the drone. Learn the basics, and practice before starting to film. This seems like a waste but actually allows better filming later on.

Choose the Right Drone

There are many to choose from. A good choice is a quadcopter. This isn’t required for filming aerial shots. Though the pricing is usually reasonable. The added stability of four arms with propellers can improve filming.

Choose the Right Camera

Many drones come with cameras installed. Some need bought separately and attached. When buying separately, make sure the camera doesn’t add too much extra weight. This throws off controls which make it harder to film. A lighter camera also means a longer battery.

Know the Settings and Modes

Many drones have different settings. When adjusting, sometimes the autopilot mode can kick in. Some drones have expert settings. This makes tricks easier by making the controls more sensitive. If filming, know the settings, and how they switch back and forth. This prevents sudden changes which can ruin shots.

 Use a Gimbal and Prop Balancer

A gimbal is a pivoted support. This allows rotation of an object around an axis. Signals from the gimbal go to brushless motors and adjust a drone’s pitch and roll. A prop balancer shows if propellers or balanced. Many times they aren’t. Add clear tape to the lighter side for balance.

Plan a Shot, Line of Sight, Fly Through, First Person View 

Plan ahead of time before filming. Know the terrain if possible. Make note of tree or electrical wires for safety. Consider the flight and keep a direct line of sight. It is easier flying towards and away in a straight line. Remember to leave enough time before and after a flight path to record the best shots. The fly through allows for editing later. A first person view allows the pilot to see the recording while flying. This can make for great shots, but needs a second person to keep an eye on the drone.

Practice Aerial Photography Pan

A good beginner technique is the Bird’s Eye. This is aiming the camera straight down. The drone hovers, spins while rising or landing. The Side-Slide is when the camera points in one way, while the drone moves sideways. It sounds simple, but the altitude stays the same. A more advanced move is the Fly-Through. This is what it sounds like, flying the drone through a gap. This move requires a First Person View. This is an advanced move that takes control and practice.

These tips and strategies will prevent a large number of problems while flying and filming with a drone. It will improve the experience and the footage. If there are any questions or problems, contact us. We are happy to solve the issues.

Five Tips For Improving Your Drone Footage

If you are looking for tips to improve your drone footage, you’ll want to keep in mind these five things.

Five Tips For Improving Your Drone Footage

Scout the area beforehand: 

A helpful strategy is to use google maps or a similar service to check out the location you plan to shoot at. This way you can make note of specific things you’d like to include in your footage, as well as plan your movements beforehand to prevent aimless flying and wasting battery life.

Create a pre-flight checklist:

When it comes to grocery shopping and flying drones, the best way to ensure you don’t forget something is to make a list in advance. Some of the things you should include in your list are spare batteries, spare props, sd card, etc. You’ll also want to make sure the camera is on and the settings are adjusted to where you need them.

Start wide and work in: 

Hovering directly over your subject can feel static and boring. A useful effect is to start wide and work your way towards the subject of your shot. This adds a sense of movement and is much more pleasing to the eye.

Golden hour is the best hour:

A common photography tip that applies to video as well is to capture your footage right after sunrise or right before sunset. The lighting during these times makes for more interesting footage and is visually satisfying.

Practice, practice, practice:

As with most things in life, the best way to get better at something is to just do it. With experience, you’ll learn your own tips and tricks that produce beautiful video and stunning pictures.

For more information on all things drone-related, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

Comparison of the Zenmuse X5 vs Yuneec Typhoon ActionCam

The right camera for your drone can make an insane quality difference in your recordings – not to mention your overall experience. While there’s no shortage of options in the drone camera market, we wanted to take a moment to examine two of the most popular stand-alone cameras. Here’s a comparison of the Zenmuse X5 and the Yuneec Typhoon ActionCam.

First Things First: What’s Your Budget?

Your budget is a major determining factor in which drone camera you decide to get. Both of the cameras we’re going to look at today are great accessories for your set up, but the Zenmuse X5 is significantly more expensive than the Typhoon.

To figure out an appropriate budget, start by considering your usage scenarios. How crisp do you need the video to be? Will it be used for professional presentations, e.g., to showcase real estate? In a professional context, how soon will the device “pay for itself” after you begin using it?

Once you’ve got your budget sorted out, you’ll have an easier time deciding between these two high-end drone cameras.

Comparison of Zenmuse X5 VS Yuneec Typhoon ActionCam

The Zenmuse X5

The Zenmuse X5 is the Cadillac of drone cameras. A Micro Four Thirds camera built exclusively for aerial photography and cinematography, this camera features a 3-axis gimbal and intuitive functionality. The Zenmuse X5 is available with or without a lens – convenient in the event that you already have a lens since the X5 is compatible with a wide range of third-party lenses.

The Yuneec Typhoon ActionCam

Comparison of Zenmuse X5 VS Yuneec Typhoon ActionCamThe Yuneec Typhoon ActionCam is a remarkably well-engineered piece of technology that offers drone users an unparalleled price vs. performance ratio. This drone camera can capture beautiful 4K footage with image stabilization, a long-lasting LiPo battery with up to 90 minutes of consecutive recording time, and 14mm lens. Additional features like slow motion capture, automatic white balancing, and live viewing via your smartphone are just the icing on the cake.

Final Thoughts

Your selection is likely to be determined by two things: your budget and your usage scenario.

If you have the change to spare and you want nothing but the best, snag yourself a Zenmuse X5 with the included lens – but make no mistake about it, the Typhoon ActionCam is an excellent drone camera for an excellent price. To learn more about these cameras or anything drone-related, please feel free to reach out to us at RDM Drones.


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