I recently acquired the DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter for shooting aerial video and stills.
It’s an awesome platform to shoot from. As you can see the camera is built in and sends a full HD signal down to the remote so you can monitor the shot from an iPad. It can shoot 12MP stills and 4k video! It is also bigger and heavier than the Phantom model I was using before and that means more stability in the air. The camera is gimbal stabilized too so the footage is rock solid. The range is also very impressive! In the video below, the last shot is of a train and I was over 3000 feet away at the furthest point. This video is all made with shots from the first day I flew it and is more of a test video than anything.
What’s it like to fly through the air at 80 miles an hour off a 120m tower on a pair of skis? It’s something I always wanted to know! The ski jumps in Lake Placid have always dominated the landscape since they were built for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. I’ve been up to the top a few times covering corporate events up there, but was never fortunate enough to see it being used. The smaller 90m is used year around, but the 120m takes a lot of effort to get up and running and just one 45 degree day can melt the ramp surface. With the warming temperatures of the last decade or so of winter, it hasn’t been open…..until this year!
A friend of mine is a ski jumper and mentioned I should come get some shots of it in use. Luckily the technology of video has come so far so fast that there are now some new tools to show this sport in a way that wasnt possible just a couple years ago.
I just received my new DJI Inspire 1 aerial drone and its the perfect flying platform to get super stable shots! Couple that with the incredible GoPro action cameras and we were in business! I hope you enjoy the video, its the closest many of us will ever want to get to going off a massive ski hump like this!
I shot and edited this video for adworkshop in Lake Placid. It’s a fun video showcasing the Summer Passport from whiteface.com. It was all shot in one day. Kudos to Kari Hoffman for putting together the tight schedule and lining up the “actors”. The song is very catchy and it’s licensed from audiojungle.net. I’ve been using them for a while now because you can license music for @$17 a song. Very reasonable and it’s quite good! I had heard this song on there and was waiting for the right project to use it on, I was excited to hear Kari say she thought it would work perfectly for this video.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to jump off an Olympic size ski jump. Luckily, Kari’s husband Taylor is a ski jumper, so he and his buds took the gopro helmet strap up and did a few runs with it! Pretty cool stuff so make sure you make it to the 1:45 mark!
This video is a good example of using the right camera for the right job. Most was shot with my Canon C100, however, the GoPro 3 was used on the POV car shots, stuck to the outside of the Gondola and on the ski jumpers and luge/bobsled riders. I also used my Sony EX1 for the overcranked shots of the ski jumpers going slo-mo into the water. Each camera has it’s strengths, and you need them all to get the job done sometimes!
Here is some footage from the DJI Phantom quadcopter. If you check the earlier post, I crashed it on my second flight! Now I’m getting better flying it, and also learning how to get the smoothest video from it. Still a little way to go before I’m REALLY happy with it but it’s getting there. For those who are interested in the technical details here is what I’m doing:
1) Balance Props! Basically you put prop on a rod, and see what side is heaviest, then you sand that side down or add tape to the other one. Continue until they are perfectly balanced and can stay in a horizontal position on the rod.
2) I’m using a GoPro Hero 3 Black-1080 60p medium view with Protune mode on. (This uses a higher bit rate for less blocky footage).
3) In FCPX, import footage to a 30p timeline and slow clip to 50%.
4) Use FCPX stabilization feature (I forgot to on the one clip at 1:05-for an idea of what a non-stabilized shot looks like).
5) Fly in as straight a line as possible in ATTI mode.
I’m only looking for short smooth shots to use in my video productions. Not in capturing complete flights.
Still some warble, mostly in the sunny clips, I think it’s the GoPro3 making an adjustment to battle the brighter light. Either cranking up shutter speed internally or lowering ISO? Not sure but on a bright day some kind of ND would help.
It’s getting there!
I made this video as a recruitment tool for the SUNY Plattsburgh Men’s Cardinal Soccer team. It’s my third year doing one for them and was struggling to find a “new” way to do it. While researching I found the speech “I am a champion” and with that it just came together. I shot this at just two of their games during the Cardinal Classic weekend. Luckily they scored alot of goals! It’s really tough to make a highlight video without scores. Having shot alot of sports highlights over the years, I’ve learned to move around the field alot and get different angles. It’s also hard to make a dynamic video when all the shots are from the same angle and framing. Finally I shot some of this at 60 fps, called “overcranking” so when it’s played back at the regular speed of 30 fps, it will have very smooth slo-motion!
Crank this one up!
This is a commercial I shot and edited for adworkshop. The client was Canton Potsdam Hospital. It was a fun one to work on. I was going to be shooting it and doing the editing. There was some special effects for this one, beyond what we normally do, so I did some test shots in my yard with my son to figure out how to do it. We wanted a jogger to be jogging in slow motion while everyone else was running full speed. At first we thought having him run against a green screen would work, then we could composite him in and then slow down the footage, but then the realities of painting a treadmill chroma key green and how realistic it would look began to sink in! Plus the shot he was to go against would have to moving at his slo mo speed, meaning a dolly or truck shot. To avoid this he needed to be coming directly at the camera.
After some test shots, I figured out that if the camera is stationary, then you can shoot multiple passes and then just mask out certain things (the guy jogging) and it would all look seamless. With the camera locked off on the ground level shot, we had the guy jog towards us, I shot this in overcrank mode (60 FPS instead of the usual 30FPS), so the slo mo would look better/smoother after when played back at 30FPS. Then once he ran by, we positioned the other runners to run on each side of where he was, when it came time to edit, I masked out a box around him and put it over the background runners shot! Since the camera didn’t move, it looked seamless! For the next shot to freeze him, I took a freeze frame, cut out around him (And his shadow!) and put that over the same composition of others running by, again, don’t move the camera and it’ll work! What really sells it is the foreground runners, which I shot over a chromakey on location. Just frame up the chroma key in bright sun, then have some runners run through the shot! The blur is perfect, and all you need to do is composite them on top of the other two layers!
Check it out below!