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Using the Breeze to track off-road motorcycle riding

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Aug 3, 2018
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One of the aspects of the Breeze 4K I find most useful is the "Follow me" mode. I have been experimenting with the practicality of using it to follow me and recording video while riding on the motorcycle. Although I have been able to record some successful footage with this goal, it has not been without some problems and limitations. Note that these efforts have been done off-road, and not with other car traffic present.

1. The maximum speed of 15 mph puts a big limit on its ability to track you. Because of this it is more suitable for shorter clips or while in more rugged terrain where you may be more naturally going slower. I think this is a major show stopper, and perhaps more suitable for mountain biking instead.

2. The lack of any automatic gimbal adjustment in flight results in the camera tilting down as the drone moves forward. I have to compensate by deliberately framing forward of the composition that is desired. You can also compensate by starting at a higher altitude to expand your field of view.

3. I have found the best results tend to be where you frame your composition with the drone positioned behind your direction of travel and above you about 50-100 feet, with the drone/camera pointed in the direction you will be traveling. When the drone is hovering you will be out of the bottom of the frame, but as you start riding and the drone follows, the tilt of the drone/camera will include you in the frame. See some of the attached photos.bike_on_michbar_rd_2.jpg
bike_on_latrobe_rd_2.jpg
4. I use my phone mounted in a RAM mount on my handlebars with open finger gloves to control the drone while on the bike. I can control my position in the frame and monitor if the drone is following by adjusting my speed.

Some difficulties I have encountered from my experiences with this:
- In one instance the drone was following behind me by about 100-200 feet when I decided to stop the bike. But the drone kept going and passed me at its maximum speed in my last direction of travel. I luckily was able to regain control by quickly tapping the control dials on the Breeze phone app, and take manual control of the drone before it went out of range.

- You need to be careful to stay within 100-200 feet of the drone. I have found sometimes it will lose its connection and will then just stop and hover (most of the time). In these cases I have to turn around, find the drone in the sky, ride closer to it, and take control again manually.

- You need to be careful of any change in your elevation, especially if climbing. The drone will not recognize this and could end up crashing. For this reason I tend to try to start it higher, while also glancing on the phone screen while riding to make sure it is not getting too low or near any trees.

- In one situation with the drone stationary in selfie mode while filming me, I rode out over a hill, and then back under the drone. It recorded the video fine, but lost its pairing with my phone and would no longer respond to my efforts to land it. Apparently I was too far out its range, but thought in this situation it would allow me to take control again once I was within range. Ultimately I ended up having to wait for the battery on the drone to get low enough for it to land on its own, which it did successfully.

- In another situation while trying to land the drone after it had been following me for awhile, the descent appeared normal at first, but then it paused about 10 feet up before then dropping rapidly to the ground. In this case it cracked the bezel of the IR camera sensor, but otherwise survived. I fixed the bezel problem by replacing it with a spare piece of phone screen protector cut to size.

As a result of experiences like this along with a few faster than expected descents, I have added some additional padding on the underside and the legs to improve its resistance to hard landings.
 
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Reactions: ravell
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Thanks for sharing! Im going to be ATV'ing in the back country in a couple weeks looking for a few shots and maybe a short clip along these lines thanks for the pointers!
 

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