View Full Version : Dji Phantom 3 - Some Test Footage

06-22-2015, 09:18 AM
Hi All,
Just wanted to share some test footage of the new-ish DJI Phantom 3 as well as my thoughts. This isn't mean to be a reel or really anything very good (news flash, it's not, since I still suck at flying), I just wanted to share first impressions from someone who has never flown any sort of quad copter.

I have never owned a UAV or quadcopter before taking the plunge on the DJI Phantom 3. I am largely a hobbyist filmmaker (with occasional paying gigs), so the Phantom 3 hit the sweet spot for me as far as ease of use, price and quality. For me, the built in FPV and the relatively quality camera/sensor where the biggest selling points and what had kept me from getting a quad copter before. I appreciate the complexity that went into the earlier UAV systems but it was always the barrier to entry for me.

Footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPTIXcSZ3V4

MORE Footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzs9TVKoZl4

This was my second real flight ever with a quad copter (I did an 5 minute test flight to learn the controls and then another 15 minute flight the next day). It was shot directly at sunset and a little after in southern Maine and compiled from about 20 minutes of footage.

First of all, the gimbal and the camera/sensor for this price point is very, very good. The sensor I believe is the same as the gopro 4, but the lens has changed for a much nicer field of view. A lot of the initial shots were shot at ISO 100 or 200 but towards the end of the video there are some shots that were at ISO 1600 that look like mush. The gimbal is very good and technically works even when the propellers are off if you ever need to use it as a poor-mans steadicam.

Next, I'm not in love with the compression that DJI uses. 65 mbps is far too low for 4k, and their algorithm isn't very good either. I shot in log color mode and intentionally put a very aggressive grade on the footage and you can very clearly see where and when it falls apart. Once it got dark, shadow areas (look at the blue water and the road) get pretty awful. It is worst once you get past ISO 400, but I'd say is reasonably tolerable under that. I don't think it would be too hard to cut with my FS700 + 7Q as long as I kept at ISO 100 or 200, which isn't a problem during the day. I honestly wish they had a 2k & 60 mbps mode (the 1080p is 25 mbps @ 24 fps) which would help the get the bitrate up and I have no qualms about shooting in 2k vs 4k.

Flying and doing basic maneuvers is very easy and I'm very impressed with the FPV and Pilot App. I've used the auto takeoff feature, but besides that, do my flying and landing manually. I haven't used the Return to Home feature since it is easy enough to look at the map and direct yourself back to your point. My girlfriend was with me keeping the phantom mostly in line of site, so it was never an issue.

There still is a learning curve with getting more intricate flight and camera moves and is something that I'll be working on. There are a slew of controls and setting you can tweak and I'll look to switch up those to get smoother shots.

Lastly, flying is really a lot of fun. I'm lucky enough to be in a very scenic part of Maine and it will be easy to find areas to fly that are out of the city and away from congested areas. I'm bummed about the National Park ban, but here is hoping for moderate rules and guidelines in the future!

06-26-2015, 09:32 PM
Thank you for taking the time to post all that. I've been wanting (and waiting) a multi rotor copter for about a decade and finally placed the order for a phantom 3 professional last week. I'm very excited. After seeing your footage I'm even more so. Did you speed some of that up? I didn't think it could fly that fast. Did you stabilize in post or did it really do that well?
I hope you continue to enjoy it and have many more good flights.
I visited Maine 2 years ago. It's a great place for aerial footage!

06-28-2015, 06:56 AM
I don't believe any shots were sped up, although I did reverse speed on a couple of them. The phantom 3 moves pretty quickly (up to 30 mph or so I believe) and if you are close to the ground, it may appear you are going a lot faster.

I think I may stabilized one or two of the 5 seconds clips in that entire video. And it was to smooth out my shaky camera or flight moves, not due to any gimbal shake. There is a learning curve when trying to make very subtle flight & camera movements at the same time and I usually fail to keep it smooth. The gimbal itself is very solid, and I've noticed very, very little shake when just flying normally.

Here is another video that I've put together. I've been wanting to hit up three of the more famous Lighthouses in my area (in Maine, lighthouses are everywhere) and to avoid the tourist crowds, I got out there at 4:45 and finished by 5:45. I was in a rush to hit up all three lighthouses in about an hour (I used 2 batteries for the flights) so I didn't get as many dynamic and different shots that I would have liked to so I will definitely have to go back. I will also note that I accidentally left the camera in 1080p instead of 4k and immediately regretted it when I got home. Even though the bitrate is low for 4k, I noticed the 4k footage is much sharper when finishing in 1080p.


06-28-2015, 11:49 AM
Thank you and good job on the 2nd video as well. I shot several lighthouses up there when I visited including one in your video. One day it was foggy with big crashing waves and the fog horns were sounding. I was wishing back then I had a copter to get shots like you got. Once again, seeing your posts has me even more excited. Thank you