Using Drones to Video Trains

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Yard Limit

Member
Using caution, drones can make a train video very dramatic and give a completely new perspective. Here's the Amtrak Cascades passing north along the shore near Seattle shot with a DJI Phantom Vision 2+[video=youtube_share;BQt1H3nhEuc]https://youtu.be/BQt1H3nhEuc[/video]
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Operative words = using caution. There are some who feel recreational/hobby drones are the newest threat to western civilization.

Someone used a small hobby drone to photograph a passing BNSF freight at Meadowdale Park. He received all sorts of negative comments when the video was posted in the local on-line newspaper. Some believed the drone would derail a freight if it landed on the rails. The owner pointed out that if that happened, the lightweight plastic drone would be smashed to pieces by the diesel.
 

CGW101c

CGW Fan
Is the sound dubbed from the ground video or are the rotors just quiet? I think it is a great photo angle.
 

Yard Limit

Member
I always use one and sometimes two camcorders on the ground to record both video and, of course sound. I dub those audio tracks onto the drone portion of the video because the rotors are anything but quiet. When I record on the ground with two camcorders I usually use the audio from just one so that there is better continuity of sound throughout the video.
 

Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
I've come very close to buying a dro... err, I mean "remote control aerial camera platform". However, there is a real groundswell to ban them just about everywhere. They're already banned in national parks. They're banned in a lot of city, state and county parks as well. Think about how rarely you see remote controlled airplanes these days. There are far more places you can't fly then places you can. "Drones" fall under the same rules.

I've delayed buying one (aside from a couple cheap toy versions) until I'm comfortable that I'll be able to do something more than just hover over my house.
 

Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
The lightweight plastic drone would be smashed to pieces by the diesel.
Pretty certain you can break most of them just by stepping on them. Or crashing, as many people have discovered, much to their dismay. Guessing the engineer wouldn't even notice it, or hear the crunch.
 

Yard Limit

Member
I understand the dilemma. So many people don't realize that they aren't toys but aircraft, regardless of their size. I go by the FAA rules but also have my own which means not flying around people. They really are amazing when it comes to videography though.
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
I have seen two small, battery powered drones being flown at the Edmonds waterfront. I was amazed at how quiet they are compared to the old fly by wire model airplanes of my youth with their high pitched, noisy .049 gasoline powered engines.
 

Yard Limit

Member
They are quiet and once launched they are hard to hear and see. I can barely hear them on the camcorder compared to birds, traffic, or other noise. I flew it at the saltwater park in Edmonds. Maybe you saw me!
 

Yard Limit

Member
The DJI Phantom Vision 2 plus that I fly probably has a range of about 3000 feet and can fly about 20 minutes on a charge. I've never flown it that far because it would be almost impossible to see it and the FAA requests that you maintain line of sight with it. If it gets out of range or loses contact with the controller, it is designed to fly back to the point of origin. You can also set parameters so that it will return to home once the battery reaches a certain level. With an FPV (first person view) unit on the controller, you can tell how far away it is, how high it is, see what the camera sees, see how fast it's going, see how many satellites it's acquired, and what percentage of battery power is remaining.
The DJI Phantom 3 has a longer range, longer battery life, and you can control the camera from the controller.
http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-2-vision-plus/feature
 




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