4k Video Editing

While 4k video is awesome to look at, it was taxing my 7 year old PC.  I use Sony Vegas to edit and the preview window would lag to the point that it was impossible to see what was going on.  Then I learned about PROXY editing.  Basically, Vegas generates a low resolution version to edit with and then renders the final product with your original 4k video.  This was a game changer.  I could now flawlessly edit video again and still have a 4k result.  The next step?  I will see if the less beefy Surface Pro 4 i5 w/o a dedicated video card and only 4GB of ram can handle Sony Vegas.  I don’t mind if it takes forever to render since that’s a set it and forget it scenario.  I’m just concerned about being able to edit on the go.

More and more each day

With each flight I gain a little confidence.  I’ve tested the max ‘safe’ range up and away.  I try not to turn off the safety features but it is far enough away that I’m technically not safe because I do not have line of sight.  I have no issues flying around obstacles and didn’t have any issues taking off next to some large power lines.  I also realized that there may be the occasional helicopter near Herman Park because of the Life Flight helicopters going to the medical center.


Rain Rain Go Away

The past week or so it has been raining on and off.  I haven’t been that spontaneous with my flight times so the rain has really prevented me from planning a flight.  Instead, I’ve been enjoying YouTube videos of other people’s experiences with the drone.  A lot of this journey started by just watching Casey Neistat fly his multitude of drones, but other YouTubers have been fun to watch as well.  For example, I’m not subscribed to John Hicks.  His channel is almost entirely BMX in the streets of LA related, which normally, I would never watch.  However, he owns a DJI Mavic and one of his videos involved him getting it stuck in a tree, so it ended up on my suggested video page.  I watched it and I really enjoy his antics and attitude, so now, I’m a subscriber.  His BMX videos are actually pretty fun to watch.  It is cool to roam the streets of LA from a biker’s perspective.


As you may have noticed from flight #2, I have the sharpness settings on the video pretty soft.  I didn’t add any sharpness in post processing because…well, I’m still learning.  Here are flights 3 and 4.  I think 4 I pushed it a little too much and I’m not really sure what is causing the weird lines on the buildings.

A Global Economy

As mentioned, I recently got the DJI Mavic Pro.  Since I made a pretty big investment into it, I wanted to be able to protect it while taking advantage of its greatest selling point, portability.  There were tons of different camera cases and foam cutouts people have been using, but then I found a case specifically made for the drone and the remote.  Since they come in two pieces, it increased the possibilities of how I could transport everything.  If you ever had a ballistic case from Oakley, this is basically the same thing.  It is hard but not fully solid.  It is custom molded and I bought it straight from China where they’re likely starting to manufacture these for users to be sold at retail outlets.  I used the aliexpress website to purchase it and both pieces shipped to Texas was $20, which is not a bad deal for two custom fit cases.

The case comes with the remote case inside the Mavic case in a padded envelope straight from GuangDong.  Since it is custom molded, the top has slots for the remote joysticks, and there is a cutout just for the gimbal.  I’m travelling with the extra battery without a case since it seems pretty sturdy and has no moving parts.  I’ll probably use some type of sleeve for it just around the house or an old sock maybe since I’ve used a sock to store camera gear before.

The case is hard, but not fully foam padded.  It is definitely not for throwing around, but it appears to be enough to hold it in my backpack as I take it places.  Since I travel with a very small backpack, I like that it is in two parts so I can place it where I want.  It gives me some flexibility.

So far, I am very happy with this purchase.  It was cheap and seems to be the perfect solution for me.


Let’s Talk Storage

IMG_20170223_134226.jpgI typically don’t like super large storage because I’m afraid a card will go bad and I’ll lose everything that I have.  This actually has never happened to me, but since smaller storage is usually cheaper anyway, I still typically buy smaller storage over larger storage.  Unless I’m on a mountain snowboarding, changing out an SD card is that that big of a deal.

However, up until I received the Mavic, I haven’t really shot anything larger than 1080.  I think now that I’m starting to shoot with 4k on the Mavic, I may move to 4k on the GoPro as well.  The Mavic actually ships with a Lexar 16GB card, which is nice.  I already have two 32GB versions of the same card.  I’ve created 3 files so far on the Mavic and they are:

  1. 3 minutes 45 seconds at 1.56 GB
  2. 9 minutes 6 seconds at 3.80 GB
  3. 1 minute 59 seconds at 851 MB

The last two I think the Mavic just split into two files.  I’m not sure if there is a file size cap or not that is causing it, but it was one single video from my second flight.  As you can see, the 16GB card would probably be enough to get an entire battery’s worth of flight video at the current resolution I’m shooting (3840×2160 at 24fps).  I’ll probably just start using the U3 SanDisk now anyway, but I don’t think running out of storage will be an issue.  I even use two of these 32GB cards in dashcams for my wife and myself.

Early Morning Flight

For my second flight I went to the edge of a park and took off from the very empty parking lot.  Since it was before sunrise, I felt safe flying about and getting views of both the medical center and downtown at the same time.  I’m still learning how to color grade and edit this type of footage.  I hope to improve before using this on a trip.

DJI Mavic First Flight

After registering the Mavic with the FFA, charging up the batteries, and going ahead and getting DJI Refresh Care (insurance), I headed out to a local park and just did a simple Beginner Mode flight.  The beginner mode restricted the speed, height, and max distance, to make me feel better about flying something brand new.  It was incredibly easy to fly.  You tell it to go up and it goes up.  You don’t do anything, it just hovers in the air and does nothing.  I need to improve my video editing, get use to the push to focus, and really just get more comfortable with the machine being so far away from me physically.  I’m looking forward to many more flights and getting to take this on a trip.

I Could Not Resist

I went ahead and purchased the DJI Mavic Pro.  It has been the hottest thing on YouTube and now that it is February, DJI has caught up with demand and is shipping orders within a week.  I’m very excited to have a quad that has GPS and can hold altitude without having to micro manage.  I’m definitely no expert at flying, but I’m glad I at least got to log some hours with the Hubsan.  I’m hoping to take this out today and do a maiden flight.  I’m nervous to have a thousand dollar machine in my control.  However, with front obstacle avoidance, GPS and altitude hold, I don’t foresee having any issues with the actual flying portion.