Join Eric Harris for an in-depth discussion in this video Flight tips and shooting for panorama, part of Drone Photography: Aerial Panoramas.
- Hey, I'm here in South Lake City, downtown. I found a parking garage that's pretty wide open. No other cars up here. Nobody around. It's a great spot, because I won't have people coming up and asking me questions. I won't be really putting anybody in danger, because there's no one else in the area. I think it's a good spot. It gets panoramas of downtown Salt Lake. Just got my copter all set up. I've gone through my preflight checklist at this point. I'm checking all my flight parameters, I'm connected to eight satellites right now and I've got about a 94% battery life, so battery and satellites look good.
At this point, I'm ready to take off. (helicopter working) As I get up there, I can kinda get a feel for what the view looks like and kinda start to set up my pictures I'm gonna wanna do. I'm gonna get a little higher up here. I've already got my camera.
It's panned up pretty high already, it can't go a whole lot higher, but around here should be good. One thing I can't stress enough is that you should always maintain line of sight with your helicopter. It's tempting when you have an image on your phone that just stared that the whole time, but I think just having a good idea of where your copter is, actually having a vision on it is really important. (helicopter working) Alright, this looks like it's gonna work. I'm gonna go and switch to photo mode.
When you're shooting a panorama like this, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that you should be hands off when you're taking photos. This means both hands off the sticks, so you can minimize the motion as you take the photos. A lot of people will try to slowly rotate their copter in one direction and take the photos as they're turning. But that can cause unwanted blur in your photos. You wanna minimize the camera movement as much as possible. I recommend taking hands off, taking your photo, then turning, stopping and taking the next photo. My next tip is to always overshoot.
Take way more photos than you think you need. I've personally never gone back to my computer and been upset because I've too many photos. But I've definitely gone back and wished that I'd taken more. With panoramas in particular it's important, because your camera isn't rotating on a perfectly leveled plane. The small adjustments when you're flying and the windy conditions can both throw your image off, and shooting extra can help ensure you got the shots that you need. It's a lot easier to delete extra photos than it is to go back and reshoot the whole thing. I usually take three to five photos from each position and sometimes, to be safe, I'll just shoot the whole panorama twice.
On that same note, try not to rotate too much in between photos. If you end up with gaps in between your photos, it's gonna be really difficult, if not impossible, to stich them together. The last thing that I wanna say is don't forget about your accelerometer. Being able to control your pitch is a huge advantage when you're trying to frame your photos properly and shooting at different pictures can have pretty interesting effects on your final product. Let's go check out the images that I shot and start to stich them together.
Note: Please remember to follow all safety precautions and respect the no-fly zones in your region when operating a DJI Phantom or any other quadcopter.