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  • Writer's pictureJim Conner

Hand launching DJI Phantom

DJI Phantom Vision 2 Plus

Aerial Videographer, Pilot: Matt Fukushima Ground Videographer, Quad Catcher: Jim Conner Captain of the ship, GoPro Operator: Andy Templeton

Hand launching the DJI Phantom Vision 2 Plus from a speed boat in the Long Beach Marina

To prepare for an upcoming shoot of the annual sailboat race in the Long Beach Marina, we rented a little speed boat from a spot in Shoreline Village to test hand launching the DJI Phantom. I have to admit that this was more than just a test. It was a blast cruising around in the Marina while pretending to work. Give us a chance to shoot from a boat, train or helicopter and we are all over it!

Hand launching the DJI Phantom is surprisingly easy. I have done it many times. Controller in one hand while the other hand reaches out to grab the landing gear. Avoiding the props seems to come naturally as they can inflict a nasty bite and make scary noises!

I wasn’t sure what to expect launching and landing from a boat. There are a few things to consider here that would not be an issue on land. Of course, the boat moves in elevation with the waves. Up, down and rolling with the water while hopefully the quad-copter will stay pretty stationary. The pilot, in this case, uber photog Matt Fukushima, is attempting to stand straight and keep both hands on the controller while bouncing around with the waves. Our boat captain, photog extraordinaire; Andy Templton attempts to keep the hull of the boat aimed upwind to stabilize and tries to avoid the wake caused by neighboring boats. Being the driving force behind the boat was not Andy’s only responsibility, he also was the cameraman, operating the GoPro during the operation.

A single mistake, battery malfunction or loss of signal would result in one quad-copter sinking slowly to it’s watery grave on the ocean bottom. All of those things have happened while flying on land. In the end, it’s important to note. The quad-copter is nothing more than a tool. Much like a hammer is to a carpenter. While the loss would hurt, getting the shot is the only goal. The quad’s days were numbered the moment ‘Add to Cart,’ was clicked.

A successful mission overall. The footage looked great and we had no issue with the launching and landing of the quad-copter. It started out like every shoot, butterflies in the tummy, hands a little shaky, but at the end of the day we were satisfied and goals were achieved.

Check out the video above to see the results.

Here is a link to the quad used on today’s shoot: DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video Camera

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