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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rob: So Rich, we learned quite a bit in the field about using a quadcopter, about using the GoPro. And, I think I can break it down to three maybe four different things. Rich: Well, but, but before we get into those, I want to tell you the biggest one we learned. Rob: Yeah, yeah. Rich: Was that the option, to push the button and have the unit automatically return to the point of launch. Rob: That's usually a good one to have. Rich: Is not a standard feature. I saw it in a YouTube video and I thought mine had it. We launched it. It was going, kind of like, oh, it's okay, we push this button and it comes back. Rob: Didn't come back. Rich: Didn't come back.
Rob: 4,000 feet later and a half a mile down, down across town we finally recovered the quadcopter. So just keep that in mind Rich: Yeah. Rob: But the important thing, I think the biggest thing I learned is that, you know, initially when you're flying this you're going to crash. Rich: Yeah. Rob: You are going to crash no matter what you do. So, when you're learning to fly the quadcopter, practice in an area where you're not going to do a lot of damage. A nice wide open field. Hopefully there's not people around, houses, buildings, roads, cars, that kind of thing. Rich: No matter how tempted you are. Do not, I repeat, do not try to fly this thing indoors.
Now, when you fly it, Rob mentioned crashes. Rob: Yeah. Rich: Crashes are totally normal. We definitely gunked up our blades the first time through. So we've upgraded to some carbon fiber blades. Rob: Well, in this particular copter from DJI, I would say there's a couple of things that are really important to have as backup accessories because you're going to break them, you're going to lose them, you're going to bust them. The first would be the actual blades themselves. As you crash, it digs into the dirt. You're going to crack these blades. And the standard plastic ones are relatively fragile. It only takes a couple times hitting the ground before they're busted. Yeah, and you can see, they're all dirty, they're chipped, they're banged up.
That kind of stuff. We invested in some carbon fiber ones that have serve two purposes. They're more rigid. Rich: Yeah. Rob: So they're going to actually make the copter a little bit more nimble. And they, believe it or not, they're actually even though carbon fiber is a relatively fragile material, they're better than this plastic stuff. Rich: Yeah this is really flexible, this is really rigid. And of course we actually have a full set of spares. Now, one of the other things that sort of interrupted our flying. You'll notice that one of these is red and the other ones are white. What happened there Rob? Rob: Well, I was flying the copter and all of a sudden, I guess I hadn't screwed one of the the blade caps on tight enough and mid-flight from about 100, 150 feet in the air.
Rich: Ohh. Rob: We just lost control. Rich: Yeah. Rob: So again, you're going to want to go and get an extra set of caps here. So when you're in a situation like that and they're relatively cheap. Rich: Yeah. Rob: And they make them in different colors, different weights, that kind of stuff, to be able to tweak. Now, the other thing I think that's really important to have that we didn't realize quite enough when we were out in the field is exactly how much juice, or how much power, the copter sucks up. And you'll notice that now Rich, you've invested in quite a few extra batteries Rich: We, we, we have four batteries. I've got six compartments and one that can go in here.
Rob: So, I mean, having extra batteries is key here because we found that, you know, in a best case scenario, these batteries are lasting maybe 15, 20 minutes at most before you need to, to swap them out. Now the other thing I will say, Rich, is that, you know, these things are not all that cheap. And, you know, they're in the several hundred dollars and if you get the really expensive ones there, they can be in the thousands and thousands of dollars and you've invested here in a nice hard-shell pelican case. Rich: Oh, yeah you found this. Now I, I obviously do not have enough of pelican cases in my studio. Rob: Rich: But, you know, there is something to be said. It, it's easy to fly with. It, it makes you look awfully official.
I mean it, these guys did it right. Look, like they even have components here to hold the blades, so they don't free spin. Rob: Yeah. Rich: This is just one of your typical hard cases. It's not an actual Pelican brand, it's that style. Rob: Yeah, sure. Rich: But everything was pre-cut with a grade insert, keeping everything in place, and it locks in. And really easy to travel, keeps it secure. And it looks like lip balm but this is probably the most important thing that I, I. Rob: Yeah. Rich: Was doing online reviews and looking deeper. What do we got here? Rob: Well here's the thing. Is that when we looked at that footage and we evaluated it was cool, right? We're flying around.
We're doing 360s. We're zooming in and out. But one thing that really bothered me. Well, there's two things that really bothered me. The first one, was that the footage was actually kind of shaky, right? We had a little bit of vibration going on in the shot. And that's just going to happen, right? Rich: Yeah. Rob: Because we have this quadcopter, there's a lot of vibration going through. And what you have here is almost like jelly pads. Rich: Yeah. And they're just these things, you peel them off. Rob: Yup. Rich: There we go, takes a little bit, you know, it's like silly putty, Rob: Rich: There we go and, and this just goes in the GoPro case and it's an adhesive jelly.
It's not going to transfer, you know? It's not sticky. Rob: No, it's not. And what it basically does is you put it in the case. You can put it, you know, on the front, the bottom. You know, put it around the case. And it's not thick enough where it's going to make it difficult to get the camera in. And it absorbs some of that vibration. Now, that's one good thing. Now, other ways of doing this, Rich. Rich: Yeah. Rob: Is that different manufacturers and this particular copter we have doesn't have one yet. But there's also gimbals that you can put on some of these copters. Rich: Right. Rob: So they're going to be more isolated from the actual copter, itself.
Rich: So, so the lessons learned here to summarize, were, have spare parts. Rob: Yep. Rich: Have a good carrying case, and have lots of batteries. And so, I, I think what I discovered is that pretty much, just like the DSLR, it's deceptively easy to get into. Like, oh it's just a few hundred dollars. And then all the accessories, modifiers, carrying cases later, it's like, yeah, that was an investment. But I gotta admit, the footage is really cool. Rob: And it's really cool, I mean, the thing I would say just to summarize too. Is that you know, these are, the quad copters are something that increasingly you're going to be able to find for rental at various camera shops, at grip houses, that kind of stuff.
You might want to see if you can rent one before you actually go and invest, in the money in getting the whole kit, because you might only have a need for one particular shoot to use a copter or something like that. And then finally, practice, practice, practice. I said you're going to crash. You're definitely going to crash. Just do, you know, just practice and go slow. And I think once you do that, you're just like us. You'll find it to be a whole bunch of fun and add some dynamic shots to your projects. Rich: And, I'm just going to set this over here right be me. And make sure that Rob doesn't take it when he leaves today. because otherwise he's going to spend the afternoon flying.
Alright, well, thank you so much for joining us. Be sure you check out some of the other GoPro coverage we've had. Where we take a look at time-lapse, as well as just getting your menus set up. And, how you can put these into play on your next shoot.
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