Camera Drones- Anyone here into them?

Discussion in 'Computers and Gadgets' started by Don Landis, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. I have been wanting to get a good quality but low cost camera drone for a couple years now. Mostly to get video of places I have been to on the ground but the added capability of aerial is intriguing. Today there are plenty of people into this to get encouragement.

    A few years ago the technology was bad and the cost high. Today, the technology meets my needs and the price is way down to what I can spend.

    However, it appears with increasing popularity, the law has come down on the hobby with a vengeance. Drone fliers are being arrested for often silly reasons. Yeah, I'm sure some are irresponsible but the good users are being punished along with the bad.

    So, I have reservations. I don't want to buy a camera that flies if the only place I can fly it without getting arrested is in my garage. Places I would want to use it are off a cruise ship deck, in National Parks, and on public lands. Also practice and develop skill in my own back yard. I have no interest in spying on my neighbors, flying low over private property, or chasing cars down the street. But I don't want to get arrested for possibly disturbing the flight path of a flock of birds because some environmentalist thinks I harassed wildlife flying my drone.

    So that is my conundrum- should I invest in a drone or not?

    This is the one that meets all my needs and has excellent reviews:
  2. I have a DJI Phantom 4 which shoots 4K. I think I have only used it about 10 times. I paid around 2K for it with 3 batteries and other accessories.

    It is fun to fly. :)

    Sent from my iPhone using the SatelliteGuys app!
  3. Scott, the Phantom 4 has had several upgrades and now is selling for half what you paid. I always liked the performance of the Phantom 4 but never the size. It just doesn't travel well. The Mavic Pro is like the next generation and dji did address the demand for equal or better performance but in a fold down design that packs conveniently in a normal camera bag.
  4. You should be OK to fly it in most places. You have to fly during the day, keep your drone within your visual line of sight, and not go over 400 feet or fly faster than 100 MPH.

    Also, you can't fly over people "who are not part of your group" (thats the way its worded). I assume it means without their consent to be overflown.

    ...I have a greenbelt on 2 sides of my house which would be perfect while I learn to fly. I have been considering getting a drone for a couple of years. It looks like competition in the industry has brought prices down. The Phantom 4 Pro and Pro+ look good. I don't need the compactness of the Mavic Pro.

    Maybe I'll start a new business doing real estate photography?
  5. It's one of the projects i want to build with my 3D printer when I get through the backlog of work I'm doing now.
  6. Waiting for the Mavic Pro to arrive today. My daughter learned over the weekend that I had purchased one and has already scheduled me to do some aerials of her latest real estate listings at the beach. She wanted me to do it this week but I told her to give me a week or so to learn to fly it. :D (assuming I don't crash and burn the first time I do my solo flight)
  7. Don't get caught doing that Don. I had a friend who did that and was fined by the FAA. (I don't know how they found out) But he did not have a Commercial Pilots license and did some commercial real estate work... and they got him.

    I looked at taking that test because people ask me all the time to do commercial work, and the test is bogus... how the hell would I know what is the proper way to weigh load a commercial airliner?
  8. Do the cameras imbed a watermark?
    TheKrell likes this.
  9. I am guessing yes. Probably the serial number and id of your drone, which you are supposed to register with the FAA. (I registered mine and was asked once by the police for proof.)
  10. I've been reading up on the law and know the amateur restriction, both from myths and actual reading the regs. I am wondering, though if the law restricts end use or whether you do work for hire. I know in some cases as long as I'm not paid, commercial work for hire does not apply but in the case of the FAA, not sure. The wording was quite vague. There are agencies who buy amateur drone video and they resell it.

    Locally there are over a dozen video production companies using drones for their video assignments and none of them are commercial pilots. I know these guys. They are very good but not exactly "legal"

    But according to the experts, in August 2016, the FAA clarified the rules a bit and now allow you to get licensed as a "professional drone photographer" under Part 107 of the rules. You have to take a simple written test on knowledge of maps and rules and regulations, some compare to a driver's learner's permit in complexity. So a few hours of study and you can pass the test. Probably easier than a concealed weapons license. But they charge $150 for the exam and license. So, likely, Scott, your understanding may be dated now.

    Personally, I am not really excited about going back into the video production business from my fun in retirement. I don't need the money and don't need the recognition in this area. 22 years of it and I just like playing with what I want to, when I want to, and not having to meet deadlines.

    BTW- those who have been caught violating illegal air space, have been fined $250 which seems to be quite common fine. These have been all from complaints of private land owners who had their privacy invaded or other well known air space violations, like flying over a military base or airport. It isn't that there is an enforcement division in the FAA that is out looking to fine drone pilots for $250 a pop. :)

    I might have said before my biggest disappointment is no drones in National Parks and some State Parks. That greatly limited my amateur use, such as the Grand Canyon and a few other parks.
    Foxbat likes this.
  11. Boy, are there a lot of myths and scams out there on these drones. FAA calls drones, UAS or Unmanned Aircraft System

    I spent lots of time this morning trying to understand about this "Register your Drone" requirement.

    The whole "Register your Drone" is a big myth. Unless you are registering to fly it for commercial purposes, you don't register your drone. You register as a drone pilot.

    Commercial drone pilot is if you fly for hire or sell your photography from a drone for compensation.

    So what you have to do is register as a drone pilot if you fly a drone that is over 250 grams and less than 55 pounds. This costs $5. There is no information on your drone you need to send to the FAA. Just personal information. Then you put your Drone pilot's number on your drone and carry your certificate with you and produce it if asked by law enforcement. That's it for the hobbyist license. For commercial use, it is more involved, studying and testing. I downloaded the 87 page study guide and everything there is good to know, such as how to read an FAA restricted airspace map, weather, radio control technical, safety, and FAA regulations. I plan to study that guide but haven't decided whether to get the commercial license or not. It doesn't seem to be a big deal to learn to pass the test from glancing through it this morning. But first things first. I have to build skill in flying and the video shooting with it before that next step.

    There is no watermark per se. The meta data may do that but as I said, registering the drone with the FAA is a myth unless you are a commercial licensed UAS pilot. As a hobbyist, you could own a dozen drones and none of them would be registered with the FAA so even if they did have meta data, there would be no way for the FAA to trace that radio control signal back to an owner or even a licensed hobbyist. But they could trace the RC signal back to the remote controller transmitter.
    I have software here that can list all the metadata in a video file, strip out the meta data, and add new data back in. :)