Flying the DJI Spark is fun

A few weeks ago we went climbing on a multipitch and I took the drone

My most recent flight with the DJI Spark was fun. As I forgot the miniSD card I decided just to fly it in sports mode over some empty fields. I ended up flying over 4km within visual range. It was fast, responsive and behaved just as I wanted it to.

Indoor flying

Flying the drone indoors is possible. Thanks to its downward facing cameras and proximity sensors it detects when it flies too close to objects and stops. It does have the weakness that if it detects objects below it or objects ahead of it it will back and rise. As it has no upward looking sensors and no sensors looking behind or to the sides the risk of collisions increases. For these reasons flying indoors is more demanding. It also displaces a large volume of air. It will shift light objects so be careful what you fly over.

Outdoor flying

Every September the cows come down from the mountains and I decided to fly over them to get an original perspective. The advantage of filming swiss cows with a drone is that they’re wearing loud and noisy bells. This means that the drone is not noisy enough to be heard.

As there are fewer flight restrictions I flew over the Jura mountains and the footage I got was nice. I often use PolarPro ND filters and tweak the images in post production. The reason for this is that the dynamic range on this camera is low compared to others and the ND filters help the camera cope. I bring the blacks up, lower the highlights and adjust the mid tones slightly. The result is images such as you see in the video below.

It takes practice to get smooth shots. The controls are not as gradual as I would like so I sometimes cut from shot to shot when the camera is already moving at the desired speed. With time and practice, I aim to start and stop shots smoothly.

Small and portable

This drone is small and portable. It can easily fit into your hiking bag and with a few spare batteries, you can get some nice shots whilst hiking.Each battery lasts for about fifteen minutes so having 3-4 batteries should give you the desired flexibility. I usually take off from the ground after it has acquired 10 GPS or more. I then fly it, get the desired shots and then land it in my hand. When landing I don’t use the return to palm control. I get it close to me and then select land. I let it come down on my fingers and let it throttle down. This is a useful feature for when you are flying on a mountainside as there may be no suitable landing spots.

 

Drone Rules and regulations

Before flying the drone I study the flight rules and regulations for the country where I am flying. If you are flying in Switzerland then I suggest using this website to quickly identify what restrictions are in place before you fly. I also use this website to see what rules and regulations are in place before flying in France. In theory, the DJI maps provide you with this information already but in my experience, they are not as up to date as the Government flight restriction maps for drones.

 

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