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Aerial photography with the DJI Phantom

A peaceful Saturday quadcopter  flight over Darwin, Northern Territory DJI Phantom & GoPro HD Hero 3 | Auki Henry It has been 7 mon...

A peaceful Saturday quadcopter  flight over Darwin, Northern Territory
DJI Phantom & GoPro HD Hero 3 | Auki Henry
It has been 7 months now since I first received the package containing my 'ready to fly' quadcopter.  DJI's fantastic little consumer product named the 'Phantom'.

As a motorsports video producer I am constantly on the lookout for new angles to bring the action to the screen, it takes a lot of effort to keep the feel of videos up to date and hip for a media hungry audience with a plethora of great videos to choose from, all vying for that standout performance that makes people click that share button.

Enter the Phantom and its aerial perspectives, something that was once the domain of those that could afford large commercial booms, expensive cable setups or helicopter hire has now been brought into the realm of small production and indie film makers. As a cameraman with no previous radio controlled experience this product is the perfect fit for my niche; a reliable machine that almost flys itself and lets me attain the footage I want with minimum fuss fills my brief exactly.  The bonus being that it is relatively inexpensive, even with the addition of the must-have gimbal assembly to enable smooth cinematic camera shots.

So easy was it to take good aerial footage that I didn't really give any serious thought to using it as a photography platform, that was until I had a problem with my gimbal.  The Phantom filming without a gimbal is akin to shooting a video while running, without a steadycam, the results obviously aren't the best.

Luckily I tend to find a silver lining to most situations (and be damned if I am going to let any of my camera gear sit around gathering dust for too long!).  Off came the faulty gimbal with electronics, and whilst I organised warranty back on went the old trusty GoPro mounts. The FPV kit and remote LCD display let me compose a shot similar to the displays of most consumer point and shoots without having to be anywhere near the Phantom, in fact for this Aerial shot of Darwin City I could not even see the small Phantom from the ground and had to rely totally on the picture displayed on the LCD to get my bearings whilst guiding it into position.

Aerial photography has now given me a new way to spend my weekends, and has already got me thinking about the next aerial platform to upgrade to in 2014.  It seems to be the never ending expense cycle of any enthusiastic photographer unfortunately, but boy is it fun!

Cruise ship "Celebrity Millennium" Docked in Darwin November 2013 © Auki Henry

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The Official Auki Henry: Aerial photography with the DJI Phantom
Aerial photography with the DJI Phantom
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