River-Flying Practice Near Halcottsville, New York
This video was actually taken in two sessions separated by my getting my car stuck in the mud in what I thought was the firm shoulder of the road. (It wasn't.)
This is just footage of two river-flying practice sessions. I'm working on developing some semblance of skill shooting scenic drone videos. Fortunately, I live in a scenic area; so at least that part is taken care of.
The body of water in this video is the East Branch Delaware River. The headwaters are about 15 miles or so north of where this video was shot. The East and West Branches of the Delaware converge downstream at the Village of Hancock, New York, about 40 miles west-southwest as the crow flies (or about twice that as the river flows).
I find that when shooting scenic videos, the biggest challenge (other than avoiding raptors) is conveying depth and scale in a two-dimensional medium. Without that, a video of the most beautiful scenery will look flat and boring. Experimenting with different ways to convey depth was the topic of this practice session. Some of the methods I tried were:
- Timing. I chose a day when the sky was partly cloudy, so there would be some contrast between the blue sky and the puffy white clouds to reflect off the surface of the water.
- Different gimbal angles.
- Ascending and descending while the drone was in forward, rearward, or lateral motion.
- Using trees and other vegetation in the foreground to use parallax to simulate depth.
- Positioning the POV off-center of the river.
Another challenge of flying over water is that many drones have a difficult time sensing their distance over the surface, and will attempt to land in the water if you get too close to the surface. You can buy a float kit to reduce (not eliminate) the risk of damage to your drone if this should happen. Many drone pilots have also taken the DIY approach to flying more safely over water, making drone floats out of pool noodles or styrofoam balls and securing them to the landing gear.
All in all, I don't think this video turned out too horrid. I may go back when more of the leaves turn for a more genuinely scenic shoot rather than just a practice session.