[intro from Nic]

I met Jonathon Griggs recently at Raising the Bar (It’s a Friday after work drinks / networking event for architects and designers in Melbourne – well worth checking out. More info here).

So Jonathon is a professional photographer freshly back from the UK and he’s got a cool toy he’s been using for architectural photography. It’s a phantom drone which are about $1500 AU and look like a lot of fun. I probably don’t need to write anything else :-) If you’re into drones i’m sure you’re still reading. Enjoy.

[End of intro]

Jonathon Griggs is a photographer and filmmaker from House of Blah, Melbourne.



Thinking of getting a Drone?


You may have heard about these things flying about through fireworks and into volcanoes. You may also have heard about one that crashed into a marathon runner, or the groom at a wedding. Whether or not you have seen, or flown one, most likely you would know more or less what they are – essentially a remote controlled, multi-propped copter fitted with a video camera that can fly around and see some cool stuff.

Example Video

Here is a video I made recently using a DJI Phantom Vision + of ACCA in South Melbourne

About the Phantom

The Phantom is a brilliant entry level solution that produces HD video very similar to that of a GoPro. The beauty of this particular model though is its stabilising gimbal. This is an electronic device that holds the camera perfectly level as the quadcopter pitches and rolls while maneuvering. Another selling point is its connectivity to GPS satellites that tell it where it is and where it should be so that even in strong wind the drone will auto-correct itself to hold its position. GPS also enables its return-to-home feature. If you lose contact with the drone it will automatically return to its home point that is recorded before take-off.
As user-friendly as these machines have become to make them fool-proof to operate you will inevitably at some point feel the heartbreak that comes with seeing your beloved flying machine clip a tree and fall in super slow motion as it spins out of control to the ground and destroys its delicate props buzzing on the concrete. Oh the horror. Only after experiencing this trauma a few dozen times and replacing the props at least a few more times will you be desensitised enough to fearlessly fly through obstacles safely and without drama.

Do you need a license?

If you are considering flying commercially it’s a good idea to check the laws relating to operating a UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. You will need an Operators Certificate that can be obtained through CASA. This is essentially a private pilot’s license which seems a bit overkill if you ask me. I imagine that this will eventually loosen up and we will all be free to fly at will as long as some very basic safety rules are followed. Happy flying!