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Planning precision waypoint flights.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Joe R, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. Joe R

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    #1 Joe R, Jul 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
    Leszek Kedziora likes this.
  2. sturgisphoto

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    You could do this with AutoPilot and you wouldn't have to be Albert Einstein either.
     
  3. Joe R

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    #3 Joe R, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  4. sturgisphoto

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    Joe,

    You could plan this mission in advance using AutoPilot with Google maps. That includes camera angles. But the way I would do it is fly the mission manually setting your waypoints and camera angles as you go. Then land, change batteries and engage the flight plan you've just created. The flying and camera movements will be smooth as silk, much better than anything you could do manually, even with two operators, at least that's been my experience. Using AutoPilot and waypoints a few weeks ago I over flew a golf course and got a 4 minute single take that would have been impossible flying manually.

    Bob
     
  5. Joe R

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    #5 Joe R, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  6. sturgisphoto

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    Joe,

    In my response above I was trying to be helpful and answer the questions you asked me. I never suggested there was anything wrong with the way you plan flights.

    Here are the questions you posted:
    I'm curious, does Autopilot account for or calculate the camera tilt angle as well? The reason I ask is because that's what this formula is all about, camera tilt angle, not the flight path.
    Put another way, can Autopilot be configured to tilt the camera to the desired angle in the flight planning stage and give you the camera tilt angle via the software?

    Here was my response:
    You could plan this mission in advance using AutoPilot with Google maps. That includes camera angles. But the way I would do it is fly the mission manually setting your waypoints and camera angles as you go. Then land, change batteries and engage the flight plan you've just created. The flying and camera movements will be smooth as silk, much better than anything you could do manually, even with two operators, at least that's been my experience. Using AutoPilot and waypoints a few weeks ago I over flew a golf course and got a 4 minute single take that would have been impossible flying manually.

    Nobody is saying you're doing anything wrong.

    Bob
     
  7. Joe R

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    #7 Joe R, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  8. licensed pilot

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    Joe, spend a little time here and you'll quickly learn there's always someone ready to pounce on anything you post u believe may be helpful. Not saying that's what sturgisphoto did. It is what it is.
    Gotta have a thick skin here. You sound like an old fart like me. Soloed in 1969...
    rrr - Copy.gif
     
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  9. Chris Franklin

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    That's funny
     
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  10. Dave Armbrust

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    Joe,

    What you posted is good information, and I always think it is strange that so many are afraid to use trig when a little math can make things so much easier.

    On the other hand I did not feel that Bob was critical of your post, he was just giving another option. Your intent was to be helpful to others, so was Bob's.

    I really do not feel you got a good answer regarding camera angle, and if you will allow me I will give you a little overview of how autopilot works with this scenario. Unfortunately it is not a simple yes or no answer as you suggest.

    With autopilot in this simple case you would use what is called zip line. You would use waypoint 1 and waypoint 2 as the two ends of your zip line. You can use the app to draw the zip line between the two point or you could fly to the two waypoint and record their location. The third point you would use would be the grave stone which would be called the focus point. When you execute the zip line it would quickly move to waypoint 1 and then smoothly move to way point 2 increasing the altitude as it did so. It would at the same time keep the focus point centered in the frame, therefore not needing to calculate the camera angle but smoothly and automatically changing the camera angle if needed to keep the focus point center.

    Since you already know where you want to start and end you could just use the app to draw the zip line and even test it with a garbage can or some other object in your own front yard and verify the results are what you want. Once you are pleased with the effect you can then save and transfer the flight plan to the graveyard and execute it there.

    As an alternative you could even start at your waypoint 3 ascend to waypoint 2 and let autopilot change the camera angle to keep the focus point centered in the frame as it ascended straight up.

    Autopilot is using a lot of automation to do something very similar to what you are doing using math. Not better, not worst, just another way of doing it.

    I do follow your math and see how it all works on paper. The problem I would personally have is doing this smoothly. As I am flying away from the focus point I would need to fly backward and upward at the same time. Looks like I would have to climb about 7' for each foot I moved backward. I find that I would use to little or too much of one or the other input and would then need to make an adjustment to correct my error. This would result in my movement not being that smooth and or my focus point would not stay centered as I had planned. (You probably have more experience doing this than I do and you probably could do it a lot smoother than I could.)

    With autopilot it would do the calculations as to camera angle, rate of climb and rate of backward movement and smoothly transition from waypoint 1 to waypoint 2 and even at my lower skill levels I would have excellent results.

    Again not better, but perhaps anther option for someone like me that does not currently have your flying skills.

    I do want to thank you for your post and appreciate the time you spend on it drawing it for us. I think many will find it helpful to visualize how to do something like this. I have been some what surprised that flying backward as you have planned often results in the best effect.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you will continue to do so.
     
    #10 Dave Armbrust, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  11. Chris Franklin

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    Just purchased AutoFlight (auto polit). Can't wait to plan and ex ute my flight mission. From what I can see, it's a power piece of software....
     
  12. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Sorry - This IS NOT anything to do with magnetic field or solar activity/KP Index but simply GPS accuracy being affected by dilution of precision in both the horizontal and vertical planes (HDOP/VDOP).
    Depending on what time of day you do your flight and your location will mean the satellites are positioned differently both overhead and on the horizon. If you have a cluster of sats overhead your positional precision will be bad, if they are spread out low on the horizon the HDOP/VDOP will be low and accuracy far better.
    You could go out on the second day and your positional experience could be far better than the first day you did the experiment! It all depends on the spread/position of the satellite arrays relative to your position.
     
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  13. Joe R

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    I know all about that but to totally discount solar activity and magnetic disruptions is a mistake.

    Space Weather Effects on GPS and WAAS - Institute for Scientific Research - Boston College

    https://www.ral.ucar.edu/sites/defa...-in-aviation-weather/docs/dohertyfpaw2015.pdf

    Good satellite days and bad satellite days - GPS Tracklog
     
    #13 Joe R, Jul 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  14. Joe R

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    I sincerely thank you very much for your comment, Dave and your help with putting Bob's comments and his intentions in perspective, but my point is this:
    I would rather not spend so much time planning a flight with a computer when I can calculate it, plan it, fly it and film it in mere minutes without touching a computer.
    I do realize Bob was trying to be helpful but there are already tons of posts on the advantages of using AutoPilot, I've read many of them way before this post and decided that I did not need AutoPilot because of what and how I film things, I just couldn't find any reason to use it.

    I don't film long distances or even several waypoints at a time. I only film short clips of specific subjects that all are close by (often with close obstacles).
    My post was how to get precision flights using waypoints and doing it with a little math for camera angle and in only one flight.

    Both of Bob's responses were trying to help me by trying to convince me to use AutoPilot instead of using math. I made light of the Albert Einstein comment but that was really uncalled for considering the following: I understand his intention and I do believe his intention was not meant to upset me.
    On the other hand, Bob didn't seem to get that I didn't want to use AutoPilot. He was not seeing what "MY" intentions were.
    My intentions were solely to maybe help just one person that doesn't want to take the time to plan a flight on a computer and to stress how to be very Accurate or Precise with waypoints.

    Example for the use of calculations: Maybe it's a situation where the usable light will be gone in 30 minutes, after that, the scene is gone forever, having the knowledge to calculate it, plan it and film it in 12 to 15 minutes may give that person the chance to get the shot without taking the risk of losing that chance.
    Even AutoPilot users could benefit from knowing how to do it like that. Let's say that the time it takes to do two flights would have caused you to lose that scene, it would need to be done in one flight.

    Again, there are tons of posts on AutoPilot but there are no other posts about simply doing a little math and filming the subject without touching a computer and doing it in minutes.
    I thought I'd introduce something that hasn't been covered to death already.

    For the record, I studied AutoPilot as well as Litchi and I studied them in depth, I watched several videos as well as read dozens of threads on them (I didn't pay close attention to camera tilt angles because I was more concerned about whether or not the app was a good fit for me), I decided that it was simply more that I needed for my purposes.

    Please, let me try to put this in perspective.
    Let's say that I need a piece of plywood cut with a beveled side along the longest side, I don't know exactly what the bevel degree needs to be yet but I decide to do a little math to determine what degree that bevel needs to be which takes 1 minutes or less. Then I decide that all I need to do is use an average skill saw to cut it. But wait, it needs to be perfectly straight so cutting it freehand may not be good enough.
    So, I decide to clamp an aluminum straightedge to the sheet of plywood, set the predetermined bevel degree on the saw (which had been determined by the math formula), then keep the skill saw pressed against the straightedge as I cut it to insure that the cut is perfectly straight.
    In summation, I made the calculations, set it up, make the cut and it's done and all in 15 minutes or less.
    BTW, I can and have been able to follow a straight pencil line freehand with a skill saw and others think that I did it using a straightedge (believe it or not, that's up to you).
    Now, rather than doing it the way I just described, should I have instead went out and bought a CNC (computerized) panel saw, programmed it to make that cut and end up with exactly the same thing? Would you think that using a CNC panel saw would be a bit of an overkill for a simple project that could easily be done with a calculator, a skill saw and a straightedge and in far less time?
    I have CNC machines in my machine shop and I'm here to tell you that programming a CNC takes a more time than it takes to use a calculator, saw and straightedge.

    If the piece I needed were much more complex (with several compound cuts), sure, I would have used a CNC machine.
    But, where filming is concerned, the bottom line is, I've never needed anything more than the DJI Go App, a laser measuring tool and a calculator so why should I use something that is overkill for my purposes.

    This thread has turned into something way off Base.
    I feel like it's a situation where I'm using a handsaw to cut a board while everyone else in the "Modern Age" is using power tools. It's like I'm being told that I'm using ancient tools and that I should keep up with the times by using AutoPilot.


    Not everyone uses their Inspires for the same exact type of filming projects.
    If I needed an app like AutoPilot or Litchi, I would have no problem using them.

    A while back I transitioned from the old standard instruments in an airplane to the now standard EFIS (AKA, Glass Panel or in some cases, Glass Cockpit) The one I started out with was the Dynon EFIS with a Garmin GPS, they still have the basic nav instruments including VOR/DME, comm radios, turn coordinator, DG, etc. etc.etc. Then the term iPad pilot was coined and now it's very common for an iPad to be in the cockpit along with something like a Foreflight pilot app and a Stratus 1 or 2 which is a piece of hardware that supplies barometric pressure, altitude info, etc.
    I have one and that app pretty much replaces paper charts, A/FD books, approach plates, airport diagrams, taxiways, E6Bs, you name it, it's got it.
    I didn't have any trouble deciding that it was something that I should have. When I thought about it, if my airplane lost power to the electronic instruments, I've got a backup right there. I even carry a handheld aviation transceiver/VOR as my backup comm radio (just in case).
    My point is, if it's something that could realistically benefit me, I'll get it and use and........I didn't have any trouble learning it, understanding it and becoming proficient at using it.

    In your response you seem to think that I suggested using the camera angle only but fly it backward while climbing manually.
    The calculation is "Only" for the camera angle".

    Bottom line, DJI Go will allow for backwards waypoint flights.

    You suggest testing the flight plan at home using a garbage can, then transfer that flight plan to the graveyard, that's two flights and being away from the scene.
    Please understand that I see opportunities that I want to film and I want to film it right then, not later. As long as it's safe and it passes my preflight, I'm going to fly it right then.
    I recently took a trip to west Texas, There were some awesome sunrises and sunsets and I was ready to film them as long as I could quickly find a place to film them from and as long as the Inspire passed the preflight. A couple of times I wanted to use those wild looking trees to my advantage which were not only obstacles, but also needed a good waypoint mission to do part of it, the rest was by the seat of my pants flying, I made a couple of measurements, calculated it, recorded the waypoints, flew those waypoints, then flipped the switch to Atti and finished my sunset scene (all in one flight, two flights would have took too long and the sun would have been too low on the horizon.

    I've watched videos on setting up an AutoPilot mission and I swear, I could plan an IFR flight plan from NC to Maine in about the same time.

    What's upsetting me is the fact that "My Intentions" were and are being ignored and even being made fun of. Why is that?

    Is it that the math is over some people's heads?
    Is that why the Albert Einstein "Joke" so damn funny??

    Ok, I took a break and I've thought about all of this carefully.
    YOU GUYS WIN. AUTOPILOT IS THE BEST THING OUT THERE AND EVERYBODY SHOULD BE USING IT.
    I'M USING THE WRONG THING AND I'M DOING IT THE WRONG WAY.
    I DON'T NEED A CALCULATOR, ALL I NEED IS AUTOPILOT, PROBLEM SOLVED.
    HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?

    WHOEVER INVENTED AUTOPILOT SHOULD BE AWARDED THE NOBEL PRIZE BE SIGNED ON WITH NASA

    THE DJI GO APP SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE APP STORES BECAUSE ANYBODY WHO USES OBVIOUSLY HASN'T HEARD ABOUT AUTOPILOT


    Editor, Could you PLEASE delete my stupid Albert Einstein post. It's so lame it's doesn't deserve to be on Inspire Pilots or even the internet. Please??????

    I mean really, what was I thinking? Math? Who in the world would want to use math when AUTOPILOT is here?
     
  15. Joe R

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    You shouldn't have to have thick skin. Whatever happened to respect?

    I soloed in 87, 2500 hours by 92, quit counting at 2500 hours.
    Born in 59, that makes me 56.
     
  16. Joe R

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    I've got an idea, why not call this forum "AutoPilot Pilots" ?
     
  17. IrishSights

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    @Joe R, no one is disrespecting you. There is just more than one way to skin a cat. That's all fine and healthy. Everyone has different demands on their Inspire, while your input is interesting, however others have differing perspectives, you need to not disrespect those others who see it different from you. Any of the comments made does not take away from the value of your opening post.

    While I found your opening post (edit: which seems to gone now in a tantrum type effort- ah well) very interesting, your following input degenerated into pure defensive drivel. Threads develop, opening posters do not 'own' the thread in the sense of controlling it's development. I lost respect for you after that.

    I use semi-autonomous flights nearly all the time and need the these sophisticated SDK apps to be profitable. Autopilot, Map Pilot, occasionally Vertical Studio as well as the good old GO app.

    Thank you for your OP however, I did appreciate it.
     
    #17 IrishSights, Jul 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
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  18. Dave Armbrust

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    Joe,

    I am truly sorry that you took the intended constructive comments so badly.

    If you would have explained how you could use math to calculate your distance to the nearest airport based an your current GPS position to determine if you were outside of the 5 mile limit, you may have got a comment "there is an app for that".

    It would have not been in disrespect, just others being helpful as well.
     
  19. unyks

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    I made once the mistake and posted a opposite opinion to an article from Joe. His response was very angry. I then apologized as good as i could and he took it again in the worst possible way and the response was even more furious. I was really shocked.

    His postings are well founded and sometimes with to much information to follow (for a little brain like the one i have). He is for sure a clever guy but i can't understand why his fuse is so short and the reactions are so extreme.

    It's just sad.

    Chris
     
  20. licensed pilot

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    Best feature of the forum is the IGNORE button. Since I started to use it my blood pressure is way down. Probably many others can say the same re: my postings :D
    Capture.JPG