Part II: The Closest Thing to Flying: Mastering FPV Drones
In the second part of this feature on FPV Drone Flight, renowned pilot Fabio Tischler shares his top tips on maintaining a safe drone flight (both for your drone and subjects!) and finding your creative flair. He also runs us through his backup process when on location to make sure those million dollar shots make it back to the studio.
SCOUT YOUR SURROUNDINGS FOR A SAFE FLIGHT
In a simulator, you have no real restrictions on flight distance, hypothetically you could take a flight all the way to the moon! Whilst this is not the case in the real world, FPV drones can still maintain incredible distances, in fact, the DJI FPV can fly up to a 10km distance and 500m high before image transmission is impaired.
Beyond flight distance and height restrictions, it is just as important to be aware of your surroundings as this may also result in you losing your visuals. “Let’s say in front of me is a big skyscraper, if I fly behind that I would lose visuals almost immediately as there is too much matter between the drone and the goggles,” explains Fabio. “The remote control is very strong so you would probably still have control of the drone, but you can’t see where you are, which means you could be flying up or sideways – you have no idea right?”
This means you really have to be aware of the environment before flying, or you may risk breaking your drone for good.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET CREATIVE
Most of us associate drone shots with those slow, cinematic sweeps over beautiful landscapes, or aerial shots showcasing hundreds of people at an event. However, with the acrobatics that FPV affords, Fabio says you can establish creative shots that push new boundaries.
One thing that has become Fabio’s creative signature, is the use of a subject as the focal point in his drone content. “Having subjects in my shots is something that has creeped up on me almost and has now become my ‘thing’”, he says. “With a subject you can get more creative and make people think “wow, what witchcraft is going on here?” With FPV you can get a lot closer than a regular drone and really just go nuts with the shots.”
In saying this, Fabio says he does still enjoy capturing landscapes and follows the same thought process – shots that can’t be mistaken for being taken with a regular drone or camera. “Getting creative with landscape requires more consideration with surroundings, distance and potential connectivity issues,” he says. “However I still like to focus on a subject, I might start a shot from far and get really low and close to the rocks, for instance, so you have that perspective change that keeps content entertaining.”
SAFETY COMES FIRST, FOR SUBJECT AND PILOT
For up-close creative shots with a subject, Fabio emphasizes the importance of safety and opts for a custom drone under 200 grams. “It’s too risky and dangerous to fly a big drone in proximity of people. Instead I’ll use a custom drone, it’s tiny, just as big as my hand. I’ve also stripped down my GoPro to 30 grams, so it’s just the screen and camera, with no battery,” he says. “If I were to hit you, it’s so light that nothing would happen.”
Another important tip is to build trust with the people you’re shooting, to make them feel at ease in front of the drone.
Last but not least, your own safety as the drone pilot is an important consideration when fully immersed with goggles covering your vision.
DON’T LOSE THOSE MAGIC SHOTS: BACK IT UP
© Fabio Tischler
As any creative professional can attest, losing those hard earned shots can be devastating. This is especially true for FPV footage – often once in a lifetime shots where exact conditions and drone movements can’t be recreated. This makes having a solid on location, and studio back up workflow critical.
As a creative that always works on location, speed is everything for Fabio’s workflow. Fabio.
“With super fast transfer speeds up to 2000 MB/s1, I can edit and work remotely with my laptop just as efficiently as if I were working at home.”
Fabio also requires a solution that is super light for portability, whilst being able to handle a little rough and tumble.
When arriving home, Fabio will then copy all of his files on a RAID solution with 32TB of Cloud based storage. “My files are insanely big and triple in size during post production, so I really need a workflow that can keep up with these capacities. With my RAID solution, I have peace of mind that my shots are safely stored, and can technically access these files when I’m overseas, which is a bonus,” he says.
1 1 MB/s = 1 million bytes per second. Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending upon host device, usage conditions, drive capacity, and other factors.
2 On a carpeted concrete floor.
FPV Drone Pilot
Fabio Tischler is an Australian-based German content creator and FPV pilot with an impressive portfolio of work, including collaborations with renowned brands such as GoPro, Red Bull, Toyota, and many others.
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