Forgot to shut off my weekday alarm on my iPhone, so I ended up getting up early this morning, despite staying up to watch the ball drop.
Anyhow it turned out to be a pretty nice morning, fog burned off and I decided to get the quadcopter up for its first flight of 2013. Here’s a shot of the sun coming up by Mount Pilchuck.
I headed out early Friday morning to Stampede pass to for a little aerial video project. The weather was perfect, light wind and absolutely clear visibility.
I used my XP2 Quadcopter to get the shots needed. There was a very specific shot that was requested and after a quick trial flight to test conditions I was able to get the shots needed.
Normally I fly at sea level, I was curious what the altitude would do to performance. (the shoot location was 4,000′) I’m not sure it really had much of an effect, it seemed to fly as strong as it does at 500′. It was a fairly tight location to shoot with some wind coming over the ridge, but I was able to get what was needed in just three short flights.
If you are interested in the quadcopter I used for this project go to XProHeli to see their quadcopters for sale.
Couple aerial shots from the new Monroe Adventure Park. I’ll be shooting some aerial video and photos during the “Prison Break” event this weekend. Hope to get some good footage of these guys going at it on the obstacle course and rock climbing events!
I picked up a Trex 600 stretched to 700 w/ a Photoship One camera gimble a couple weeks ago. It was built for a film company that was doing some aerial projects, came with both radios (one for helicopter, one for gimble) FPV transmitter, receiver and monitor. They had a hard time finding reliable pilots to fly it, and have moved on to renting full size helicopters for their aerial work now.
Anyhow I’m still getting things dialed in and adjusted. I’m planning on replacing the landing gear and doing a few other tweaks before I get it up in the air.
I did some ground testing this morning just to check for vibration and verify radio operation:
I’ve been looking for a quadcopter or helicopter to shoot decent HD video for a while. I had some success using an HD Camera on an AR Drone, but the quality leaves a lot to be desired and the lifting performance is simply not there. I thought about a Trex 700, Gual x7, and the X650 from Xaircraft as well as several other options available on the internet. Then I stumbled on the XP2 from Xproheli. These guys are right here in the US (Bend, OR), and they are film makers who have obviously spent hundreds of hours trying to come up with a solution to shooting stable HD video from the air. Before I bought my XP2 I called Xproheli’s owner, Hans Skjersaa, to learn more about the device and what to expect. Hans is pretty pumped about this quad and it comes across quickly. He is willing to walk you through any questions or concerns. I immediately felt more comfortable buying the XP2 knowing I could get support from local guys rather than trying to email someone in China.
So I went for it and bought the RTF XP2 from them. It arrived on my porch the next afternoon, totally complete with radio, 4 batteries and charger (you supply the camera). Hans told me to give him a call before I tried to fly it for the first time, he walked me through what to expect and offered some good tips. After a couple rainy days I had it up flying- the power of this thing blew me away- it has tons of reserve power, carrying a Gopro is not an issue at all for the XP2. You can put this thing several hundred feet in the air in a matter of seconds. Unlike the AR Drone and some helicopters, this quad has no “stable” or auto leveling feature- if you do a control input it stays in that orientation until you counter that input. So, if you bank to the right, it will stay in that bank until you roll out of it yourself. At first this is a little hard to learn, but the results are the video will be very smooth. I’m thinking I’ll be installing a FPV video system next to allow for better control at altitude or distance.
I’ve got dozens of trouble free flights on it so far (about 2.5 hours of actual flight time) and I really love the way this thing flies. It’s durable- being made of aluminum it’s very light, and unlike so many of the other quads out there, if you land hard or have an accident you can bend the aluminum back into alignment rather than have broken carbon fiber or plastic pieces to deal with.
I hope these guys keep pushing the design to allow for larger cameras, and maybe add features like GPS, altitude hold and other options to make it even more versatile.
Here is a video review I made showing the XP2 in the air, as well as some video and photos I’ve taken with it:
Yeah it’s expensive, but these guys have worked hard to come up with a great quadcopter that is unlike anything else out there and I think it produces video that rivals pro-grade RC helicopters that cost thousands more.
If you are interested in one go to www.xproheli.com and see what they have, you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s a quick video of a test flight of the XP2 Quadcopter from XProheli I shot this afternoon. I’m planning on doing a full review of this unit in the next few days. It’s a very well built quad built from the ground up with aerial video in mind.