Alabama Hills Demo Reel

This video is a test flight. It is really the first time I have flown it “outside my backyard”, so to speak. I had about 5 test flights prior to this, just testing battery life and getting used to the S1000 flight characteristics. While this trip still falls into that category, it was the first two flights where I paid any attention at all to the video and stills that I took.

Here are the details of my rig, which was configured and built by Aerial Media Pros*:

Dji Spreading Wings S1000 octocopter
A2 flight controller, single pilot configuration
Zenmuse Z-15 gimbal, configured for Canon 5D MIII
Canon 5D MIII
Futaba 14SG radio, with spring installed on left stick for self-centering
32 Channel 5.8 GHz video transmitter with clover leaf antenna
7” Black Pearl diversity receiver/monitor with patch and clover leaf antennas
2 6S 10,000 mAhr LiPo batteries in parallel
Hyperion dual charger, Chargery 60 amp power supply for dual charger
Pelican travel case, custom fitted for the S1000

The single pilot configuration means that flight and camera are controlled by the (single) pilot with one radio. You have control (with levers on the left and right sides of the controller) of pan and tilt. Roll is stabilized, but you can’t control it.

Here is a short summary of the clips that comprise this video:

Clip Start Stop Description
1 0:00 0:08 Initial take off.
2 0:08 0:51 Test segment to show S1000 movement with video.
3 0:51 1:26 Another test, S1000 is rotating continuously through this entire clip.
4 1:26 2:26 Hands off the sticks for 1 minute, showing stability.
5 2:26 2:43 Slow left pan.
6,7,8 2:43 3:30 Start of second flight; travel out to about 1500 feet.
9 3:30 3:52 Portion of travel back.
10 3:52 4:32 Rotation study 1.
11 4:42 5:22 Rotation study 2.

To elaborate a little more on the individual clips:
Clip 1 is just the initial take off, not much more needs to be said. Clips 2 and 3 are tests of the gimbal stability – it is in “free” mode, and will stay pointing in one direction, regardless of copter movement. In both of these clips, I am rotating the copter with yaw fairly vigorously. You can see for yourself how stable the video is.
Clip 4 is one full minute with hands/fingers off the controls to show how stable the video is. Clip 5 is just a slow pan.
In clips 6,7 and 8, I am moving the copter away (“forward”) from my position. At the end of clip 8, the copter is about 1,500 feet away (“in front) of me. I still had good video signal, and could probably have gone further. Being cautious though, I turned the copter around and headed back to my position.
Clip 9 is a portion of the travel back. At the beginning, it shows how far the copter is away from me. You have to look at the 90-degree bend in the road, and notice a “turn-out” parking area. The little dot on the turn out is my car, and at first, I am too small to even see. Towards the end of the clip, you can make out the car, me and my wife, Carol, who is spotting with binoculars.
Clips 10 and 11 are “rotation studies”. I picked an object, which is a fairly unique rock formation, and rotated part way around it, trying to keep the object in center frame, more or less. Keep in mind that this was my first attempt at doing this with the S1000. I think the results are pretty good, considering it was a first attempt.

*What is listed here differs in two items, compared to what Aerial Media Pros actually ships. First, the Futaba controller comes with the left stick configured in factory default mode, which is for fixed wing applications. The stick does not have the self-centering spring installed. I purchased and installed this myself. For a multi-rotor copter, the self-centering spring is very important, especially when you are flying FPV with goggles. Without the self-centering spring, the only way to know if you are in a level mode is to look at the stick. With the self-centering spring, hands-off the controller gives you a true hovering mode with 0 vertical velocity. The second thing is that Aerial Media Pros bundles the Boscam 7” monitor/receiver which is, in my view, significantly inferior to the Black Pearl, which I saw demonstrated and subsequently bought and now use.

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