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Drones?



  • I would appreciate sharing your experience using drones in theatre or similar applications for live video streaming. Drone models, camera models, latency, radio setup, automating drone movement are of interest.

    Thanks.
    --8

  • Tech Staff

    I have only experimented with them. I have used micro drones (10 to 15 cm cross) and a dji phantom. Using the go pro latency was poor. With the micro I do not have live transfer. The Phantom is rather loud.. and I would not want to use it in anything other than an outdoor festival environment. The micro sounds more like a hive of bees and I could imagine it's use. Newer models have live transfer capabilies. And are rather affordable now.



  • @DusX: This one?

    Were you able to stream video to a computer?
    Thanks.

  • Tech Staff

    No. The micro was a hubsan. The only video I recieved was from the go pro. Sorry I dont have any isadora interfacing recommendations.



  • I have played a little with OF and this

    https://github.com/memo/ofxARDrone
    it lets you control your drove programmatically- a friend had it hooked up to a mocap system that would make it always follow a performer from a preset angle. It was easy to use- with a little work you could remote this system with OSC and use izzy to control it. This is for control only by the way, not for getting the video.
    As far as the cameras and latency goes it is always pretty difficult. If you look at some of the high end drones they have a wireless HDMI system and you can attach the camera you want- these drones can carry a big payload and hence you have the freedom to use the system you want for camera and wireless video.
    Outside of the pro systems there are not too many ways to send video over wifi to a phone so something like VLC or gstreamer may well be able to receive the signal but it will change depending on the drone. 
    There is quite a lot of info on the web for ardrone stuff
    http://www.ardrone-flyers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1656
    There is also a java library for control and video
    https://github.com/codeminders/javadrone/
    Battery life sucks as you may know.
    Beware using drones indoors, there are quite a few videos on youtube of events and promo days going awry when a drone loses contact and tries to fly home to china.
    I have been using apple TV to get an physical HDMI input from wirelessly connected ios devices though airplay. It works super well and you could use the same solution as a quick and dirty way to get a feed of the ios device screen when running the drone viewer, I assume this is also possible with a chromecast stick.

  • Tech Staff

    A number of FPV monitors allow video thru. So you could run that into a BM capture.
    These are pretty low latency, so they may be a good option.  (note sure of budget)

    see: http://www.helipal.com/lilliput-7-super-fpv-monitor-w-dual-receiver-and-ips-panel.html

    The recievers are also available in stand alone format: http://www.dronematters.com/fpv/vtx-vrx/rc832-5-8ghz-video-receiver.html

    I think these FPV transmitters are the best option for realtime video.

    Freds software recommendations for drone control look pretty cool. The Ardu drone stuff might be the best route for setting up a custom transmitter rig.

    http://ardupilot.com/



  • Thanks @Fred and @DusX, I am going to study and possibly try the solutions you gave.

    So far I stumbled upon this [video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gucpgJEJ5b4) (AR Parrot).
    1) I like the stability, the noise level (it does not have to be extremely quiet).
    2) It's [node.js](https://github.com/felixge/node-ar-drone), which I am getting to like more and more, so I should be able to run it inside [plask](http://www.plask.org/), which binds to syphon. The programmable trajectory will have to be tested. Looking at the available commands, I think controlling it may still be a problem, since there is no way to tell the drone to flight to a given point, only to flight in a given direction. It is likely that I will have to have a way to switch to a joystick control at any given time.
    3) in the video above I see a very low video frame rate, but I am not sure how they setup their streaming –– perhaps still frame autorefresh by the browser? Also as I think more about it, the frame rate and latency may actually add to the aesthetics, and I won't have to fight it.
    The theatre itself is pretty big, but I am also dreaming to have it fly over the audience. 90 meters wifi distance still should cover it, if I put a wifi station somewhere in the middle of the trajectory –– of course the management does not know about this yet, but hey.
    --8


  • Hi @DusX and @Fred. I ended up writing an ffmpeg to syphon application, which takes the video stream from AR Drone 2.0.

    In my tests at home it works independently of a flight control program, if the latter does not try to access video (I am using custom node.js program, which does not use video stream, but can switch cameras).
    If you have AR Drone 2.0 laying around, it would be great if you could give it a go: I am going to do flight test in a few days myself, to check the stability, range etc.
    The file is attached is [here](http://troikatronix.com/troikatronixforum/discussion/download/2483/ardrone-ffmpeg.app.zip) (attached to this [comment](http://troikatronix.com/community/#/discussion/comment/14612)).
    Thanks!
    --8