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      Guides — DJI

      Prepare for Your Drone Adventure with this Checklist

      Prepare for Your Drone Adventure with this Checklist

      By Wouter du Toit
      I recently got to shoot a bit in Elands Bay on the West Coast for the weekend. It's small town with a vast amount of space with potato farms, rooibos tea farms and a beautiful valley that feeds water for the farming of the land.

      I stayed at Vensterklip for a couple of days. The place is very equipped, although I was out shooting with my DJI Phantom most of the time. Every morning I started packing, with the same checklist in mind of what I needed to take along.


      On the Saturday I forgot the cable to connect the remote with my iPad because I use the same cable to charge my iPhone and had to drive all the way back to fetch it.

      This made me realise there’s a checklist to be made when you go out to fly around and get some aerial shots and videos. So I put together a checklist that I think you will find useful when going out. This way you’ll always have all the gear packed, ready for your flying time.

      I now have it with me on every adventure. 
       

      Drone Accessories you Must Have

      Drone Accessories you Must Have

      By Wouter du Toit

      If you are planning on getting your Phantom 3 drone, or just bought one, here are the items that will make your flying experience so much more enjoyable.

      An iOS or Android device

      This can be your smartphone, iPad, iPad mini or any android device that you can install the DJI Go app on. This will be the monitor that’ll show you what your camera is ‘seeing’ so you can get the video or photograph you want.

      DJI Phantom hood

      A Hood that blocks out the sun

      The screens on Tablets and Smartphones are very reflective. This makes it very difficult to see what’s on your screen, in other words, what it is you’re wanting to shoot. When flying a drone you’ll be outside most of the time, and standing in open areas with no trees to stand under. So, get yourself a Hood for your phone or Tablet

      DJI Phantom battery

      An extra battery

      When you start getting the grip of control and possibilities that now lie ahead with your drone, you’ll soon want to shoot longer than the 25 minutes you get out of a fully charged DJI Phantom battery. It’s the best to be able to shoot and being able to replace it right there and then. So, the more batteries you have, the better off you are.

      Hard cases or Backpack

      Your drone is going to be in transit for most of it’s life. It’s a highly engineered piece of equipment that needs the correct protection when not in use. Here you have three options.

      The DJI ABS Phantom Box
      It’s strong, durable and lockable and you can insert the Phantom 3 with it’s propellers on. This is convenient and saves a little bit of time when the moment is there and you need to get going. The only thing is that it’s not a backpack, so you can’t put it on your back and head out trekking to easily.



      DJI Phantom Aluminium Box
      It’s similar to the ABS Phantom Box, but made with Aluminium.



      The DJI Hardshell Backpack
      It’s made from composite and is very impact resistant and can surely take a hit. Everything straps in well and it’s a strong large zipper that will surely last. The difference to the Box is that you need to remove the propellers each time you package it although it’s really easy to do. It goes anywhere and everywhere you go, it’s a backpack.

       

      Propeller Guards

      Although the Phantom Phantom 3 range has GPS and all the added technologies that make it such a please to fly, there is always a chance of it hitting a tree, wall or person. These Propeller Guards are a must if you’re just starting out.


      With these accessories you’ll have the best start in flying your Phantom 3 drone.

      How to do Long Exposure Drone Shots At Night

      How to do Long Exposure Drone Shots At Night

      Written by Wouter Du Toit

      I’ve recently gone out to shoot some shot’s at night and wanted to see if I can get my Phantom to keep as still as possible while shooting cars passing by. I’ve always liked these shots, it gives it an energy of light streaks, but also of people getting around, in motion.



      What I’ve learnt on my first night out is that you basically need three things to do get reasonably good shots that you’ll most certainly enjoy.

      FIRST UP, YOU NEED A WIND-STILL NIGHT.

      It’s not going to work if you’ve got the drone battling it out to maintain it’s gps coordinates. It will give you a drag on the moving lights and you’ll get an out of focus shot. So make sure it’s literally dead-still outside.

      SECONDLY, YOU NEED TO DEACTIVATE THE FRONT RED LIGHTS OF THE DRONE.

      The red light can add extra colour to the shot, and is mostly unwanted. Here are the steps to do this:

      1. You do this by turning on the remote and the drone, going into the DJI Go App until you’re in camera mode.



      2. When you can see what your camera sees, you’ll find a button at the top-right of your screen. It has a three-line list menu button.


      3. When the menu shows up, on the left you can choose the ‘drone’ menu, top-left



      4. You’ll now have a menu containing Advanced Settings. Go into that and turn off ‘Turn on arm’s LED light. The red light should be off now.

      AND THIRDLY, YOU NEED TO SETUP THE CAMERA FROM AUTOMATIC TO MANUAL, AND INCREASE THE EXPOSURE TIME SO YOU CAN GET THE LIGHT STREAKS.

      Here are the steps to do this:
      1. On the right of your screen you choose the Camera Settings button.

      2. And you toggle the camera from Auto to Manual.

      3. You can then set shutter speed. The numbers are seconds. So you can keep your shutter open for up to 8 seconds. You can also set a higher ISO, but this opens up to the risk of noise in your shot.



      Although you can go up to 8 seconds which is more than enough time, I suggest 4 or 5 seconds does the job pretty well and you have less chance of a breeze causing a shake leaving you with a blur. I left the ISO on 100.

      Finally, if you don’t have a license and you want to take these type of shots in SA it’s important to know that you’re not allowed to fly within 50m of people, cars or streets. Getting the license is the correct way to do it. If you would like to get your drone licence contact sales@actiongear.co.za

      Understand the new CAA Regulations, with Mike Carey

      Understand the new CAA Regulations, with Mike Carey

      By Mike Carey

      With drones only increasing in popularity, the need for rules and regulations has arrived to ensure the safety of both the public and drone pilots. Some would think that the current news and media coverage of the need of these regulations, and how they would negatively affect drone pilots, would hamper the purchase and popularity of drones in South Africa. The opposite had shown to be true as drones and media produced with them has become even more popular locally.

      The new drone regulations that will be effective from 1 July 2015 have actually been seen as a big win for hobby drone users. If pilots are open with their intended use of these drones, and they are used for private enjoyment, it seems that pilots may still get to use their new ‘toys’ without excessive red tape.


      The new drone regulations actually allow hobby RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) a lot more freedom than hobby model aircraft. Here is a simple breakdown of what you need to know.


      Under the new Regulations Hobby Drone Pilots:

      • Do not need an RPL (Remote Pilots Licence).
      • Do not need to register their RPAS aircraft.
      • Do not need an aviation medical.
      • Can fly RPAS up to 7kg weight.
      • Can fly at night (previous not allowed for any rc aircraft).
      • Can fly up to the height of the highest object in 300m of the drone (up to a max of 400 feet).
      • Can fly up to 500m away from the pilot, while maintaining direct line of sight (RVLOS).
      • Need to keep more than 50m from people.
      • Need to keep more than 50m from roads.
      • Need to keep more than 50m from buildings.
      • Need to keep more than 10km from an aerodrome (airport or airstrip).
      • May not fly in No Fly Zones.


      If you currently fly your drone for commercial use and generate income through the use of flying your drone for film or any other trade, then it is advised that pilots go ahead and comply with the regulations that the CAA are imposing on drones and their pilots. Getting the right credentials for the use of your drone would definitely be advised.


      Some Drone Operators Already Have Achieved the Following:

      • Restricted Radio Licence (also known as Restricted Certificate of Radiotelephony - Aeronautical). Online theory exam at CAA as well as a practical exam with a certified examiner.
      • Aviation Medical Certificate (class 4 or 2, or self assessment depending on your operation).
      • English Language Proficiency Certificate.
      • RPL pilot training (practical and theory training for RPAS as per regs).
      • Prepared documents to be ready to submit as soon as it is possible to do so (see below).
      • RPAS Flight Manual.
      • RPAS Maintenance program (manufacturer).
      • RPAS technical description.
      • Operations Manual (operator).
      • SMS (as per regs).
      • QMS (as per regs).
      • Field Operations Manual.
      • Criminal record checks of all staff.

      After the draft regulations are adopted, drone operators will be able to progress further.

      Not Yet Possible to Achieve:

      • RPL - Remote Pilot Licence. Will be a single online exam at CAA.
      • RPA registration (will be a registration number starting with ZT...)
      • ROC (RPAS Operating Certificate).
      • RLA (RPA Letter of Approval).
      • Permission for Aerial Work from Air Services Council.




      We are still waiting to find out exactly who will undertake the process of allowing the public to get their RPL (Remote Pilot Licence), and that we will not be restricted by these licence requirements until such a time that they have formally implemented these processes. Until these are put in place, I would state that your drone is a hobby, used for personal enjoyment and that no income will come from the flight in question.

      I hope this information has helped in the understanding of the new rules and regulations, we are still going to need to wait until the processes are in place and until they can confirm that the RPL and all the other necessary questions everyone wants to know are laid out in black and white. I believe we will only be receiving the answers to these questions around the end of June. We will keep you posted. Subscribe to our newsletter and ensure that you are kept up-to-date.

      Fly safely and understand that the general public is aware of the rules being imposed so stay cautious and be considerate of those around you.

      Happy flying.

      If you have any further questions you are welcome to mail us at, info@actiongear.co.za