To kick off the first event in this years British Drift Championships calendar, cam-op Tom and I headed to Teesside Autodrome to capture the live, aerial drone footage for the two days of burning rubber and sideways sliding, four wheel action.
Using the DJI Inspire 2 for Live Streaming
Here are a few reasons why the Inspire 2 was well suited for the event:
Speed: Has the acceleration and speed to keep up with the cars
Minimal downtime: Quick to change batteries and get back in the air
Video feed: The video downlink is pretty solid for the distance (200m) and environment we were in.
Live Streaming Logistics
We based ourselves on the infield, next to the OB tent which gave me a good line of sight with the drone for our flight path and meant we could keep good coms with the race organisers and live stream crew.
We had an HDMI feed coming out of the controller and into the mixer in the OB tent. From there, the crew were able to watch our live feed and cut to it as and when they wanted to. This was then broadcasted onto a large screen for the spectators to watch and also onto a YouTube live stream.
Things I Would Change
This wasn't the ideal setup so I thought it would just be worth noting a few things I'd change, if we had the option and budget.
We had to use the Zenmuse X4S which is fine in terms of quality for this job but it would have been nice to fly the X5S which would have given us the flexibility to change lens. The X4S has a fixed 24mm lens which is a little on the wide side, especially for some of the track where we had to maintain the 50 meter distance from the crowd.
On the plus side, the X4S is lighter weight which gave us longer flight time and improved agility.
Using the Cendence controller would have given us a stronger radio link between the master and slave remotes as well as SDI out instead of HDMI.
Even if we hadn't of had the cendence remotes, the DJI Multilink would have come in handy in creating a more robust radio link between the transmitters.
Getting The Shots
Kit and geeky stuff aside, it was an amazing weekend. We were able to get our wide establishing shots of the circuit and pits while having scoreboard graphics overlayed, then fly straight into our starting position as the cars lined up. We could then track them as they went round the circuit and easily adapt our flightpath if/when cars spun off to provide coverage of the incident and recovery. Tracking the cars from start to finish and being able to see them when the ground cameras couldn't because of all the tyre smoke, provided great value and coverage for the guys in the OB tent.
The track layout and position of the crowds meant that we had an enormous amount of flexibility for where we could fly while still maintaining 50 meters from the crowd.
What next? Well wouldn't FPV drone coverage be fun? 😉 Watch this space...