I fly Drones

Posted: February 14, 2018 in Drones


Back in September, my parents gave me a Phantom 3 drone for my birthday. Which is insane. First, drones are expensive. Any drone made by DJI might as well be a gold-plated flying robot – that’s how costly they are. And second, why would you put something that flies hundreds of feet in the air in my hands? I crashed into a hill on day two. Lord forgive me for what all came out of my mouth over the next five minutes.

Anyway, Amazon replaced it, and I was back in the air within a week. After that rather embarrassing lesson, I made a concerted effort to get as educated as possible. I learned all about how not to crash, all the FAA regulations, and how to take really cool photos and videos with it (I’m still working hard on that one).

Eventually, my second Phantom malfunctioned and landed in a tree about a hundred feet in the air. That was back in December only a couple days shy of Christmas. Fast-forward to today – two months later – and it’s still there. At least I can say it wasn’t my fault this time. After looking online, I saw that older Phantoms were notorious for uncontrollable fly-aways. Yikes.

I bought two more drones though, so I’m good, albeit broke. I got a DJI Spark, which is a small quad about the size of a smartphone. It can do some pretty fancy tricks with hand gestures, and when it comes to whizzing about capturing sky-high videos, it flies with the best of them. I also picked up a DJI Mavic Pro. I wanted something more stable in the wind than the Spark. It’s significantly larger and heavier, so it has a way of really grabbing the air. Not to mention, the Mavic’s camera can record in 4K (compared to the Spark’s lackluster 1080P) and take long-exposure night-shots. Needless to say, it’s a neat toy.

I’d like to share with you my drone footage. I fly quite often, and the hobby has become a pretty big deal for me. Don’t judge too harshly, though. You’ll see pretty fast how bad I suck at video editing (I’m especially talking to you, JFBC media guys).

Here is my collection of drone videos to-date. I’ll post them in the order they were created:

Landing the Phantom 3

I took this video with the original Phantom 3 – you know, the one I wrecked like a day later. There was no video editing involved with this one. It’s purely a recording of a flight with no music accompanying it. Note the beautiful, sexy expression on my face at the end.

Flight over Rockwood 

This was taken with the second Phantom 3, the one that’s still parked in my neighbor’s tree. Phantoms, man. It’s a straight flight away from the cabin at my dad’s farm. I brought it about three quarters of a mile out before returning home.


I kind of wish I hadn’t done this one, but I was still a new drone pilot at the time. In hindsight, while legal-ish, it was sort of stupid taking the Spark over people’s houses and cars and whatever else. I flew it over my parent’s neighborhood for a little less than a mile before bringing it back. The video is called Chopsticks because I was trying to see if I could make it all the way to the restaurant where I used to work. I almost made it. If you know where to look, you can see Chopsticks at the furthest point of the flight. Also, on the way back, the Atlanta skyline makes a grand appearance on the horizon. That’s the best part, if you ask me.

The Trout Pond at Hillcrest

Also filmed with the Spark, I spent 3 entire batteries and almost 45 minutes recording in the back field of Hillcrest Farm in Virginia. Luckily for you, I edited that down to a little over 3 minutes. One of the key features of the video is the Spark’s Active Track ability. It can automatically track and follow objects (or people), which is how it followed my truck while I drove. At the end of the video, I nearly ran off the road because I kept glancing over at the drone’s RC controller.

Christmas, 2017

At the time I made this video, the only drone I had was the Spark. Sadly, the Phantom had already killed itself by playing a good ol’ game of Tarzan, and I hadn’t bought the Mavic Pro yet. This video details several flights that happened over a span of about a week at Hillcrest. You’ll notice a huge editing mistake in the second scene. I made the footage play at 2x, which means that since the Spark normally records at 30 FPS, you’ll experience a nauseating jump to 60 FPS. My goal was to make it feel like the camera was skimming the ground at extraordinary speeds, but instead it turned into…you’ll see. Try not to throw up. After that scene, the rest of the video plays at a comfortable 30 FPS.

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