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Building Multicopter Video Drones

Book Description

Build and fly multicopter drones to gather breathtaking video footage

In Detail

Multicopters have revolutionized the television and film industry. For the cost of just a few hours of traditional helicopter rental, videographers and cinematographers can own a multicopter drone that shoots stunning aerial shots that helicopter pilots can only dream of. This book is a practical guide that aims to help you learn how to build, fly, and program your own drone.

The book starts by explaining the physics of multicopter flight and then walks you through all of the decision processes when choosing a platform. From turnkey systems to custom-built multicopters, you will not only comprehend the working of the components, but also gauge why the choices you make are crucial and how they affect your flight. As you go through the book, you will gain a firm grip on the principles, choices, and safety issues involved in a multicopter flight.

Finally, it will teach you the maneuvers to capture great camera movements and explain the intricacies of stabilizing them in post-production. In short, you will be well on your way to becoming a professional multicopter videographer.

What You Will Learn

  • Discover the physics of multicopter flight
  • Browse through the plethora of turnkey systems to choose a fabricated platform that suits your needs
  • Get acquainted with safety precautions to minimize your legal and financial liability
  • Calculate the specifications of the components you're purchasing to maximize flight time and performance
  • Program and calibrate the guidance system of your drone
  • Familiarize yourself with the key maneuvers for cinematic multicopter videography
  • Understand post-production editing and preparation techniques to improve your multicopter footage
  • Downloading the example code for this book. You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at http://www.PacktPub.com. If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.PacktPub.com/support and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.

    Table of Contents

    1. Building Multicopter Video Drones
      1. Table of Contents
      2. Building Multicopter Video Drones
      3. Credits
      4. About the Author
      5. About the Reviewers
      6. www.PacktPub.com
        1. Support files, eBooks, discount offers, and more
          1. Why subscribe?
          2. Free access for Packt account holders
      7. Preface
        1. What this book covers
        2. What you need for this book
        3. Who this book is for
        4. Conventions
        5. Reader feedback
        6. Customer support
          1. Downloading the color images
          2. Errata
          3. Piracy
          4. Questions
      8. 1. What is a Multicopter?
        1. How do multicopters fly?
        2. A multicopter's yaw control
        3. The principles of multicopter lift
        4. How a multicopter moves
        5. What's in a multicopter?
          1. The airframe
          2. Motors and propellers
          3. The electronic speed control
          4. The guidance system (the brain)
          5. Camera gimbals and transmitters
          6. Radio systems
        6. Summary
      9. 2. Buying a Turnkey System
        1. Why choose a turnkey system?
        2. If someone is selling it, it probably works … right?
        3. Where to look for reviews and advice you can trust
          1. Online communities – the new consumer reports
            1. RCgroups.com – the largest of the communities
            2. YouTube.com – your source for user reviews, warnings, and tests
            3. Other sites that can be used
        4. What to expect for your budget…
          1. Setting realistic expectations
        5. Brands you can trust
          1. For GoPro shooting
          2. Bigger cameras
        6. Summary
      10. 3. Choosing Your Components
        1. What kind of drone should I build?
          1. How many rotors should it have?
          2. Redundancy versus stability
          3. The calculations you'll need
        2. Choosing your airframe
          1. Carbon fiber versus aluminum
          2. Choosing your propellers
          3. Selecting your motor
          4. Selecting the ESCs
          5. Powering your multicopter – the battery
          6. Tweaking your specifications for better results
        3. Delving into camera gimbals
        4. The multicopter brain – the guidance system
          1. Multicopter guidance system sensor types
            1. Global Positioning System
            2. The compass
            3. Measuring your altitude
            4. Keep your attitude in check
          2. The CPU of your brain
          3. The final choice for guidance
            1. X-Aircraft
            2. ArduPilot (APM:chopper)
            3. DJI
        5. The human interface
        6. The final component list and cost
        7. Summary
      11. 4. Assembling Your Drone
        1. Building the airframe
        2. Connecting components
          1. Connecting a brushless motor
          2. What's a CAN bus?
          3. Placing the sensors
        3. Programming your guidance system and remote
          1. Update!
          2. Exploring the WooKong software
            1. Setting your motor configuration
            2. Mounting
            3. RC calibration
            4. Motor settings
            5. Setting up your batteries
        4. Summary
      12. 5. Flying Your Multicopter
        1. Get a simulator!
          1. Thinking in three dimensions
        2. Safety
          1. Where to fly
          2. When to fly
          3. How you should fly
        3. The preflight checklist
        4. Your multicopter's maiden flight
          1. Battery calibration
          2. Arming and flying your multicopter
            1. What is ground effect?
          3. Watch out for prop wash
          4. Take it slow
        5. Summary
      13. 6. First Person View (FPV) Gear
        1. Components of an FPV system
          1. The Camera
            1. CCD versus CMOS
          2. Onscreen display (OSD)
          3. The transmitter and receiver
          4. Video monitors
        2. Some general guidelines
          1. Rules for flying
            1. Priority 1 – safety for the public
            2. Priority 2 – follow the law
            3. Priority 3 – safety for your aircraft and camera
            4. Priority 4 – get the shot
        3. Summary
      14. 7. Camera Flying Techniques
        1. Executing camera moves
          1. Crane shots
          2. Dolly shots
          3. Fly-through shots
          4. Orbit-by shots
          5. The 360 orbit
        2. Indoor flying considerations
        3. Experiencing an autonomous flight
        4. Summary
      15. 8. Post Processing
        1. Cutting your clips into segments
        2. Using Adobe's Warp Stabilizer
        3. Summary
      16. Index