Tuesday, May 19, 2020

testing out the toys: drone edition

For basically the first time since the coronavirus swept the nation, I had a pretty fun weekend that was only partly due to horsey activities. I mean, there were still plenty of horses, and obviously horses play an oversize role in the activities I generally consider "fun."

But ya know. There are other things in life too, like drones haha. And, um, friends to socialize with in socially distant but still in-real-life ways. Heck yes!

this poor thing is already clogged with sand after an eventful weekend haha
I didn't have any Charlie time allotted to me on Saturday, so instead I went with a friend to watch his ride in a local gymnastics clinic at Twister's barn. That was super fun from a horsey perspective -- and I definitely want to get Charlie over there at some point.

Mostly tho, it was cool to just be in that sort of setting again -- with people omg!

check out this ridiculously cute pony!! thanks for being a good sport, Blondie <3
Sunday tho. Omg, Sunday. I did actually have Charlie time (1 whole hour, ugh.... tho this coming week that's bumped up to 2 hours yay!!). Wherein I actually put a proper bridle on him and took him into the dressage court for a proper "ride."

Which.... Ya know, the visit time limit meant the ride itself was maybe like 25 minutes total. That's ok tho -- it was just enough. Turns out Charlie can still walk trot and canter on a contact and with a reasonable balance. Yessssss. We'll build from there eventually <3

the drone actually has an in-app game complete with explosions etc. i guess it would be a good way to learn how to fly it, but i mostly ignore it honestly
AFTER that, tho, was the real exciting adventure of the weekend: I took my new drone out for a play date at Isabel's old farm!! Omg and there were PEOPLE there too!!

My buddy Rachael even volunteered to be a test subject for the drone footage -- along with a student's amazingly adorable pony that she's been exercising during the quarantine.

flight!!!
And guys. Wow, this drone is fucking hard to fly.

It's suuuuuper sensitive to wind. Plus, it rotates 360* (obviously) so you can aim the camera in any direction. But the directional toggles on the remote controller are always oriented to the "front" of the drone -- meaning the forward / backward and left / right controls are reversed if the drone is facing you vs when the drone is facing away from you.

That obviously makes sense but I kept sorta getting a little disoriented -- esp when the wind would carry the thing away and I'd start panicking haha.

omg there's video guys

It also doesn't just "hover." Partly bc of the wind, but also maybe some sand has gotten into the rotors so there's uneven power distribution. This means I'm constantly making adjustments with the remote control, which then disturb the stability of the footage. In other words -- it gets bumpy in the video lol.

The last little bit of frustration was that it's not exactly clear when it's recording and when it isn't. For some reason I just assumed that it stopped recording every time it crashed. So I'd get it flying again, and hit "record" again -- but that would stop the video that had already been rolling.

Because of this, I only captured like HALF the footage from the test runs. And naturally, none of the good stuff -- like when I almost flew directly into that saintly little golden pony TWICE, omg so sorry!

also tested out my new camcorder. produces a pretty nice image!!
It's FUN tho. Esp now that I have a couple extra batteries on hand, so I can change out as needed. Each battery gets 6-8min flight time; I used up two during this test over the course of like 30min and still had a third in reserve.

By the end I definitely got a better feel for it too -- altho the best "footage" didn't get recorded sadly. Whenever possible, the drone stays more stable if you can rotate it to keep the pony in frame, vs needing to actually make it move forward or back, or side to side. In less breezy situations it might have been even easier since maybe it would have hovered better.

I haven't really tested out limits for how high or far away from me it can go, bc that's when it really seems at greatest risk for being taken over by the wind. Not sure if that's partly bc my signal gets weaker, or what.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to test those functions out in a wide open field at some point -- where there aren't a lot of trees or whatever for it to get stuck haha.

sheep is unrelated. but cute <3
So. Overall a very successful practice session for testing out its capabilities haha. I'm nowhere near good enough at flying it yet to actually be able to like.... reliably film a specific location or activity -- like if a horse was galloping on a specific track through a jumping combination, for instance. But hopefully with practice I'll get better.

Mostly tho, it's just entertaining haha. Probably not super likely at this point that I'd be able to just hand it over to someone else to get footage of me and Charlie going around. We'll see, tho. If any of my friends wanna give it a whirl, they're certainly welcome!!




16 comments:

  1. Lol! I mean... I have a big ol empty field. 😉 Can't guarantee all your footage wouldn't be of me nearly dying though... 😅

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    1. Lol if you’re dying it’s probably not gonna be in relation to the drone —- even when I almost hit the pony he really didn’t seem to noticed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  2. I recently saw some drone footage a friend posted of her xc run and it was pretty neat. A tad far away and shaky, but a nice change in perspective from the helmet first person view or the side spectator view.

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    1. Yea that’s kinda my hope - it’s probably not standalone footage but will hopefully be interesting b roll if I can get it a little smoother and more focused on the subject!

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  3. So fun! I actually had a sales video sent to me (before I found Pammon) that was filmed entirely by drone. Very impressed the horse wasn't all bothered by the thing!

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    1. oh wow -- haha that's actually pretty cool! and also a nice testament for the horse's disposition too lol

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  4. LOL I had to laugh at the crashing...sounds tricky to get the hang of flying that little guy. Fun item to learn something new with tho!

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    1. omg the crashing.... so much crashing. and that's only half of it too, considering i screwed up the recording settings so badly LOL. hopefully i'll figure it out tho!

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  5. YAY I am so glad they are bumping you up to 2 hours - I notice I keep talking both Trainers ears off and I'm starting to think its because I'm lacking in the human interaction department or at least the novel human interaction department (my husband is PLAYED OUT!) lol

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    1. oh my god i'm so relieved to get 2 hours now.... tho naturally my horse responded by carefully removing one of his shoes, the goon haha. and yea i'm so starved for chat too - i think everyone is. i'm definitely welcoming the change in levels of interactions!

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  6. Love that little golden pony!! A fun new way to capture some extra riding video, too bad it cant just follow you while youre on the horse!

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    1. that pony is the sweetest <3 and actually -- there are drones that have that follow feature, plus higher resolution cameras, and.... ya know, overall greater stability haha. they just cost buttloads of money LOL. this one is definitely on the cheapest end of the spectrum, but i guess i figured it would be fun to play with -- and if i end up really liking it while being limited by its capabilities, i could consider upgrading down the road? we'll see i guess!

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  7. Oh my, we have so much wind all the time that it would be stuck in trees. But I'm in love with Blondie! Does she come in my size? I honestly want her.

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    1. omg that little pony is the actual friggin cutest!! he's a little beast too - last i saw him, he and his kiddo were BOMBING around a little jumper course and having the absolute most fun ever haha. we could probably all use a pony like that, tbh!!

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  8. Oof. These things look impossible to drive. Like a video game it seems...and I suck at video games. My brain doesn't work that way. I think you did a really commendable job!

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    1. yea.... i don't really have the video game skills either, which probably explains why every time the thing sorta starts drifting away i panic and mash ALL THE BUTTONS lol and then it crashes.... we'll see if i can't refine my technique tho.... fingers crossed!

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