Next Level automated flying and filming with your drone
Next Level Automated flying and filming for your phantom 3 and Inspire 1 drones is now a reality thanks to 3rd party App called Litchi. I believe this app was released late 2015. I found out about it from a former South African student (Laurence Seberini) of my drone course who has gone on to publish a Udemy course called Phantom Filmschool that covers how to fly and film with the Litchi app in detail. In this post I'm going to share what this app can do and my experience using it with an Ipad and Phantom 3 professional drone. My disclaimer is to use this app and advice at your own risk. I'm not liable. I'm trying to share this information as a drone videographer and help you, but there are risks. With that out of the way let's begin
Create flight and filming plans before going out to fly
When DJI released the intelligent modes update in fall of 2015 it became smarter and enabled us to do things like orbiting or set way points. The big difference is that Litchi lets you plot your flight path in advance from their website or from the map view of your app. There are lot more options available here including setting a point of interest, waypoints, the camera angle, altitude, speed, and more. It takes off a lot of pressure off as a drone pilot to focus more on executing the flight rather than flying and controlling the camera. You have to be careful to make sure that you are familiar with the area you are flying to set the appropriate altitude
screen capture mode
The screen capture mode allows you to record the live flight and turn on the microphone if you want to record your live flights. This is useful for teaching purposes. Check my Litchi video to see this feature in action.
Use of the cloud
Litchi makes use of the cloud by allowing you discover flight missions from other litchi pilots. You can also share your missions and attach a video of a mission if you wish. This can benefit future pilots by saving time or you can share your mission to get feedback from other pilots for learning purposes.
MY experience with the app so far
I've taken my phantom 3 pro for about 8 flights using the Litchi app. I am still learning the app myself. It appears that there may be several bugs in the ios app. For instance, my drone would stop midway in a mission. I would have to press play for it to continue. Also the live HD feed on my app is lagging and choppy. At this time you can also not adjust the camera settings manually. I had to open the DJI go app and litchi simultaneously to be able to set up the camera manually. I'm not sure how safe this is. The instructor of the Phantom Filmschool does the course on an android platform. It appears that the Android platform is much more stable with all the features. I reviewed the footage later on my laptop and I was impressed with what I go. I was just doing simple flights like flyovers in a straight line and adding in a point of interest. The results so far are impressive. By automating the flight, speed, and camera angle I found I got more stable footage. I think when flying manually I have a flight plan in my head, but by committing to it in detail before you go out you are taking it a step further. Although the software needs upgrading I'm excited about the possibilities of where this can go. Stay tuned for test footage and more updates as I learn more about using this app.
Learn more about Phantom 3
Litchi is very new 3rd party software. I'm going to continue to test it and share the results in my course. I also offer a full on-line video course on the Phantom 3 using the DJI Go app. Click to enroll for some free lessons.