Central Florida, Moccasin Island Conservation area, main Canal

At the urging of @Rogyrue I put together a short video that I shot last December 10, 2016.   A small part of a Wildlife Management area.    I have a ton of footage from this area so I just have to get off my butt and edit and produce.   At that time, I was rather over cautious and flew my mission @ 12mph.  Which delivers boring video.  This footage  was sped up 300%. 




  • edited December 2017

    @BobDiMarzio ; I will watch this trepidatiously...Anything called Moccasin Island gives me the heebie-jeebies.  Ugh, cannot stand them no-shoulder s.o.b.s  Everybody always says, oh' it's just a harmless little garter snake, but I see everyone as a Rattle-Tailed Copper Moccasin!


    Edit:  Well, thank goodness!  Not a slithery creature in sight.  Really, to me anyway, drone footage is all about the steadiness of the flying and the music that goes along with it.  I think you got that down pat.  One of my daughters and son-in-law got me a drone from Christmas.  Not a fancy one by any means.  It only shots 720p but it's light enough it doesn't have to be registered from what I understand and so far it's only been used in the living room.  I'm still trying to figure out trim on the thing.  It wants to drift as soon as it goes up.  If I get pretty good at controlling it I might venture into the expensive models (or there's ever a shot I need one for!)

  • @tddavis

    Thanks for the kind words.  You will find that the larger Drones Phantoms, Mavics etc , actually do not drift unless you want them to. They lock on to GPS satellites and are incredibly stable.  So, have no fear they are actually very easy to fly.

  • Good  to see you put your footage up  nice work. Its a nice vast landscape and a nice smooth shot along the river . I take it that was the  litche app that made it fly backwards? I like that shot will have to give it a try my self . Whats the wildlife in the area ?

  • It's okay, but even at 300% speed it's not that interesting to me.

    Part of it is the subject matter.   You've essentially only got three things to show: the long canal, the body of water (lake?) at the end of the canal, and the surrounding brown terrain, none of which has enough variation to add visual interest.  The lake is a little better than the rest, but not by much.

    Another issue is the way it was shot: all from the same height, with only a couple changes to the camera angle.  

    A third issue is the editing style.  It's one....long....endless...shot.  What makes landscape videos work well -- even slow, mellow ones -- is some change to the content other than what the flying camera provides.  Without reshooting to fix the above issues, you can still make it a little better with careful editing.  I almost would've preferred the original 12mph footage with a few cuts or fades.  Pick key moments that spotlight specific elements of interest and focus your edit around those.  Don't feel like you have to use every bit of footage you shot.

    Another edit issue has to do with the opening titles.  These feel like they're separate from the main edit because they're stills with no music.  I suggest dropping the title text over the actual footage with the music underneath so it feels more cohesive.

    Finally, that music track doesn't help.  Slow solo piano with sparse strings in a minor key, married with a single long shot -- even sped up -- does nothing for me but emphasize how plain everything is.  Something in a major key that's got a bit of rhythm to it would be better.  It doesn't have to be super energetic, but just more uplifting.

    In the end, even if you don't revisit this location and reshoot, this can be greatly improved with a better edit and better music.

  • @Rogyrue

    Thanks.   Yes it was Litchi.   I  fly manually for the joy of flying , but when I want to film I use litchi.   I admired your obit around the monument. Very smooth.  I had practiced the orbit and for the most part I can usually pull one off. but not always, I do not have the greatest depth perception.  

    The flight I posted was from last December when I was still uncertain about Litchi.  I would fly a mission at 10-12 mph.  Too slow, this provides excruciatingly boring footage to watch.  The Clip I posted has been speeded up by 300%, so the reverse of the water was a bit jarring.  I now fly at 26mph when going distance and use large curves when changing directions.

    Florida is seriously flat .  In many places it is only 6-10 feet above sea level.    I have some footage from  a wet land area both before and after Hurricane  Irma.   I ran the same Litchi mission two months after the Hurricane  that I had run 6 months before the Hurricane.     I saw the drone coming back and all of a sudden it stopped and said mission complete.  I manually flew it back to where I was standing.  I was confused, it stopped about 800 feet from were a was standing.  I thought something was wrong until I review the mission details.   I realized that there was no malfunction, only that that area was now under water..   

    Central Florida wild life:

    I left out the smaller more common animals.  Alligator, Armadillo,Possum, Wild Boar , raccoon , Wild Boar,Small Deer,Turkey,Manatee,Fox,Florida Panther, Bobcat, Otter,


    Herons,Egrets,Spoon Bills,Ibis,Osprey,Terns,Anhinga,Cranes, Hawks,Eagles, Flamingos and a bunch of little birds.

    I have seen all of the above except for the fox.    For the most part the Alligator can been seen anytime and any place there is a body of water.    The same applies to the birds.  however the Mammals  are relatively secretive. they are most likely to be seen before sunrise.

  • edited December 2017


    I agree with 100% of what you said.   What you said is  a big part of why I was reticent about producing video of this type of subject matter.   I actually chopped out  5 minutes of "travelling"  footage.   Although living in this area, is pleasant (warm weather, close to the ocean a lot of festivals) it is indeed really boring landscape.  Pancake flat, Mostly Residential communities and shopping centers.  monochromatic,  dry season brown, wet season green.  Sure we got the Kennedy Space Center, but we do not fly drones there.  :)

    Since the Phantom 4 has a fixed aperture camera, it is not useful for sunrises.      I had originally planned a 5-6 minute video regarding  this  Conservation area which is about 26 miles wide and containing 5 different lakes.  This  may have limited appeal for someone specifically interested in that specific area.

    Thanks again for your detailed analysis.  Yes I will be revisiting the area since I live 10 miles away and enjoy the solitude.  Possibly getting some ground level footage may break up the monotony 

  • @BobDiMarzio ; Always remember, different strokes for different folks. :)  I quite liked it.  The music, the slow steady flight, even the flat landscape... I don't know for me it was kind of calming somehow, but I realize not everyone has that reaction but don't let viewer reactions be a deterrent to producing.  Someone, somewhere will enjoy it I am pretty sure.

  • @tddavis Thank's for the encouragement and I agree with you.   I chose the footage and the music because I felt it represented  what I knew and felt about the area.   The one way distance of the mission was a little over 2 miles, meaning if you wanted to reach the lake, you would need to paddle a canoe or Kayak for 2 miles before you could fish or do whatever your intentions were. There is no other way to get there without walking or paddling.  Only the Wildlife Ranger can use airboats in this conservation area. 

    I am long past the age and desire to paddle down an alligator and mosquito infested canal, so aerial photography is the next best thing.

    However @Jsbarrett was correct  to point out the aspects that would probably not appeal the average viewer.  So if it was my intentions to have a lot of folks view my videos and "like, subscribe and build my presence etc" I would be wise to incorporate his suggestions.    I will most likely  publish that which makes me happy.



  • BobDiMarzio

    Dont be so critical its a nice vast landscape .  Even Blue planet shows vast open landscapes they are a part of nature  . As a lover of nature and avid fan of all things to do with nature documentaries i can say your footage is nice .Been watching this kind of footage for over 30 years.


    Always interesting  to so where other people live and visit . We cant all live next door to wonders of nature and we don't all have the attention span of a child and needs to be spoon feed eye candy in every shot. 

    As for Jsbarret i would pay no attention to him i have yet to see him produce anything even close to what you put out in your video . Keep it up hope to see you post more . I agree with what @tdavis said :)


  • @Rogyrue ; To be clear, it was not my intent to attack jsbarrett 's point of view.  I was merely pointing out that @BobDiMarzio, who admitted that he was reluctant to post his drone footage, shouldn't feel that the lack of appeal to everyone was a factor; that tastes vary, that's all.  @jsbarrett ;has produced several excellent tutorials as well as other content and I have learned a lot from them.  I certainly didn't intend to set off a war.

  • @tdavis Its okay you don't need to explain yourself i merely said i agree with your comment there is  no war going on  . What ever my opinion is its mine and not a reflection upon you . As of the tutorials they are simple things nothing complex . Rule number 1 of being a  cynical  critic is back it up with your own well produced content that demonstrates your expertise

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited December 2017

    @Rogyrue I've been blandly ignoring this for a couple of days. Now. @Jsbarret expressed an opinion--one Bob actually said he agreed with, mind you, and stated he would use Jsbarret's notes to improve his next video. Fine.

    You feel Jsbarret's opinion was a little harsh. Fine. 

    But, you made it a point to go into Jsbarret's thread to insult him out of context--in fact, I saw your comment in his thread first and had to track down this thread to figure out what was going on. Not fine.

    Since then, every one of your comments has attacked Jsbarret. Not fine.

    I've had three people private message me about this in the past day. One was Jsbarret asking if he needed to apologize to Bob (answer: no), and two from users who will remain unnamed (unless they wish to out themselves) who feel you are unduly attacking Jsbarret.

    Jsbarret himself hasn't publicly added anything to either thread, so, it's correct to say there's no war--but you're risking  being a troll. 

    This surprises me because normally you're very helpful and encouraging--for example, your enthusiasm got Bob to get his video out in the first place. Can we assume you just had a frustrating day that day and got a bit grumpy? Please stay active with us in the community, keep making videos, and, yes, you can disagree with someone. This time you pushed a bit too far. 

    It's ok. You're not the first person to get a bit to personal on the forum. Even I once took things to a point once where Staff told me to calm down. It happens. We move on. That was before my Moderator day. Heh. 

    In fact, I've edited this comment since I initially wrote it hours ago, because *I* phrased things more aggressively than I should. 

    This comment is the last word on this subtopic, gang. We're a friendly community and friends have spats at times. 

  • My opinion on the video. 

    It's a nice smooth flight, but probably could use a few minor trims. The camera pan about halfway through is a bit harsh (typical with drones. Those gimbals don't really have any dampening to smooth movements), and I think I'd cut that part at least. 

    I've actually watched this twice. Once without audio, once (after reading the thread) with. I'd have to agree with Jsbarret on the music choice. In silence I more or less enjoyed a sedate flight over Central Florida, but on second viewing, yeah that music killed it for me. 

    For future videos I'd also like to break things up with other angles or shots. Maybe my middle aged attention span is being ruined by too many quick cuts in TV and movies, but I'd find a new shot every 60-90 secs at most. 

    Besides, cuts will get you to use more of your footage, Bob! I'm with you on where backlog of media can be overwhelming since I'm STILL sorting out the 10k photo/video clips my wife and I shot in Antarctica! (Been breaking up THAT monotony by processing some of the HDR shots to determine settings to batch the rest of particular sets. 

    Annoyingly for me, I also just updated my edit machine from Win 7 to 10. The only thing to glitch so far (that I know of) was On1 Photo RAW's catalog, so that's been rebuilding for the last 12 hours so I can get back to logging...

    But, I digress. This video was good in forcing yourself to wade into the backlog of footage and get something out. That should get the juices flowing for the next one. I think breaking up shots every minute/minute and a half with some other angles or heights and a different music choice will help you create a video that properly showcases the loveliness of Florida.

    Last digression. End of the Antarctica trip was a few days in Ft. Lauderdale so my aged Godparents could finally meet my wifey. Of course we also had to head out to the Everglades, take a fanboat ride, then wander a bit enjoying the wildlife. Also did a canal cruise of Ft. Lauderdale. Wife Laura was sad we didn't see any manatees. I felt bad reminding her there aren't many left, and typically they only show up in mating season... A few months away. Saw some gators, of course, but you practically can throw a rock in Florida without hitting a gator, turtle or iguana! 

  • Awe, it is Manatee season right now at this moment. My lady knows how to Mermaid so she's all up on this Florida water stuff.

  • First of all, I want to thank everyone for their kind words, encouragement and inspiration.    truth be told, I really enjoy, project planing, location scouting, and shooting both video and stills.  Finishing projects, not so much.  My projects always start with a minds eye version of the finished project.   However,  more often than not, my footage falls short of my expectations.   So,  I regroup, return to the field, shoot and meh.   Since this is purely a hobby for me,  I wish to get enjoyment and not worry that my self induced projects are not completed.    I rather it did not feel like work.

    However this time my laziness get the best of me and also caused some issues  that I somehow feel partly responsible for .

    As I remember, I was mentioning to @Rogyrue the benefits (for me) of using Litchi missions for drone video.  Rogyrue asked for an example.    I grabbed an innocuous clip of a 2.4 mile run down a canal to a remote lake.  chopped the middle 8 minutes and published.   I received advice as how I could have done better.  I agreed.

    Possibly I should have actually finished a project.   So today I did.  Yes, it could be improved on, but this ia better representation of my capabilities.  And please provide an honest assessment.  On cannot improve without raising the bar. 




  • @BobDiMarzio I would say this last video is light years ahead of the first one.  Nice choice of music and good variety of shots.   Fades were good.  A very nice piece.

    Really loved spying animals and airboats as the vistas passed by.  Really pretty footage!

  • @BobDiMarzio That was a great video! Well worth investing the 2:36 minutes to view.

  • Ok, now we're talking! Better music for me is the immediate difference. With the stated before/after Irma, not only do we have pretty footage, we have a theme/narrative for the video! 

    I think this area was prettier than the last one. Ah, look at the green! 

    So, my only note--can I assume you have GPS logs of your missions? If you have footage of the same location--especially if flying in the same direction--from both before/after Irma, it would be nice to split-screen that to highlight the differences. A low swamp like Florida probably has very obvious changes before and after a big event like Irma, and that would really play into your premise. 

  • @HitfilmSensei ; Thanks for the compliment.  I appreciate it.


    Thanks for the kind words.   I agree about the split screen.  Sadly 2017 from a drone perspective,  was the year of learning and experimentation.  I would create a mission, and fly the mission then review the footage.   I was also experimenting  with ND filters,  camera styles etc.    I am fortunate to live close to these areas. 

    This  routine would go on for weeks until I was pleased with the results.   The major deadly, unforgivable mistake was that I did not rename the video files with the exact mission name.   Also, I would frequently delete the mission from the mission hub.  I know, I know, but hey I was learning.   So, although these videos are not the exact same mission, they are from the same location.  If you look @ 00:14 and 01:06 I am filming in the Southern direction.      For the after video I am pointing South @ 01:58, 02:03 and 02:18

  • Much better video. :)  One thing you can do next flight that improves 90% of drone footage is: tilt the camera down. There is no reason to have 50% of the screen filled with sky unless you are shooting a nice sunset. I never have more than 30% sky, and usually a lot less; sometimes just a sliver to give a sense of perspective.  If you are shooting in 4K you can reframe to 1080p by chopping out a lot of the sky and concentrating on the interesting stuff; which is generally on the ground. ;) 

  • @ Palacono Yes I agree.    With Litchi, you can pre program  Gimbal pitch at each way point and also have it track POI's as well.   one can "place" the POI at any altitude and the software will calculate the angle..    It will continue do these tasks even if the drone  is out of range. 

    I usually shoot at 2.7k  so I can adjust the horizon without losing quality.    On this video the first half is 4k and the second part is 2.7k.

  • YES!

    This new video is much more engaging. Love the music selection and shot variety. I agree w/ @Palacono ;that the sky-to-ground ratio feels a bit high.  That aside, my only other wish/suggestion is for more variation in altitude.  One of the things that helps art and storytelling (and a host of other things) work more effectively is contrast.  I'm not saying that the shots should go high-low-high-low etc, but a shot or two where we're able to examine certain points of interest more closely would bring this up yet another notch.  (Not sure if this is in line with the whole "mission" thing you talk about -- I don't have a drone, so that concept is foreign to me -- so feel free to disregard if that won't work with the mission plan.)

    Great stuff, Bob!  Definitely looking forward to seeing more!

  • @jsbarret I believe that when one says "mission," it's just a "flight."

    I suppose semantically a "mission" isn't a "free-flight," but taking the time to program in "Fly from point 'A' to point 'B' to point 'C' at altitude 'X' and speed 'Y,' then return to point of origin," along with options like gimbal angles, POI targeting, etc. Or, perhaps a "mission" would be "Follow the smartphone at a distance of 150 ft and an altitude of 250 ft, and fly in a circle around it, while I ride my bike."

  • @jsbarrett thanks and yes varying altitudes does provide greater interest.

    @Triem23 ; Yes semantically a mission can be both however, for me and the Litchi software, a mission is a programmed flight of a series of waypoints where you may adjust all the flight and camera parameters  as you described.   A mission can be programmed directly on your device or on your desktop or lap top and "down loaded" to your device using wifi.

    This video is a decent overview on planning and executing an autonomous flight.


  • Great to see another video bob and i never knew we had so many drone user on the forum maybe others can post there footage as well . You planning   another project ?


    @Triem23 surprised at the emotion in your comemnts qoute you "In fact, I've edited this comment since I initially wrote it hours ago, because *I* phrased things more aggressively than I should"

    Being critcal works both ways even if it happens to be a friend of yours sorry if that upsets you . Nothing more to add PM me if you want to moderate best not done in public its  not professional

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Rogyrue I went public as other users were starting to chime in and I'd actually deleted several comments in the thread. We're all good. :-) Otherwise, said what I needed to say.

  • @Rogyrue

    Yes, this year I am going to take a more disciplined approach.    I plan on producing at least one project a month.    While reviewing my "what I could do better" list, number one was  video footage organization.    I should have renamed the footage to reflect the litchi  mission name in the file name.   for example,  If I'm shooting  a body of water.  and I have several missions. Just naming the footage  DJI010_Lake_Washington.MP4  won't help if I have several mission.   So this year the naming convention will be more like  DJI010_lakewashington_northernloop_1.MP4  with a small text document in the folder.

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