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Cinematic FAIL - Latency, Lost Connection, and limited Range

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Recently purchased the S2 Cinematic kit over the holidays for my company's marketing department and I'm utterly disappointed.

The S2 works amazing as a follow camera. Will give it all the credit it deserves.

That said, the unit fails for any kind of establishing shots and cinematic work. I'm getting unusable latency and lack of control from 100'-800' with the controller. With a billed range of 3Km, I feel like I got "sold" on this camera. Not to complain without credential, but I'm a trained engineer, former radio guy in the Army, Part 107 pilot, and been flying commercially for years. I purchased this as the "ONE" camera I could take to get all of my work done, but finding that I now need to carry a seperate DJI product just to get reliable establishing and landscape shots.

It's so bad--I'm getting unreasonable video latency in orbit mode around the controller at 50'.

Skydio 2 - Purchased Dec 2021
Pixel 5 - Airplane mode on
Controller - Came with Cinematic kit
Software - Most recent update

I contacted Skydio about this a week ago and still no response. RF interference is an excuse as the majority of my work is in open terrain in nature with no wires, towers, etc..

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume I got a bad unit, but is anybody else having this kind of challenges? I'm upset even having to ask for a workaround after dropping the coin on this one instead of the mavic 3.
 
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RiverEagle

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Sorry to hear about this. It seems to be mixed bag from what I've seen. That said, range is definitely extended quite a bit with the S2+ so if your purchase is still within the 30 day timeframe, you can send it back and get the S2+ like I did.

Emails take forever so what I do is chat them up on their website, I get someone pretty quickly and they've always been helpful. If you're just a bit past the 30 day window maybe they'll work with you given your issues.

Best of luck!
Ray
 

Sky Cyclist

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Recently purchased the S2 Cinematic kit over the holidays for my company's marketing department and I'm utterly disappointed.

The S2 works amazing as a follow camera. Will give it all the credit it deserves.

That said, the unit fails for any kind of establishing shots and cinematic work. I'm getting unusable latency and lack of control from 100'-800' with the controller. With a billed range of 3Km, I feel like I got "sold" on this camera. Not to complain without credential, but I'm a trained engineer, former radio guy in the Army, Part 107 pilot, and been flying commercially for years. I purchased this as the "ONE" camera I could take to get all of my work done, but finding that I now need to carry a seperate DJI product just to get reliable establishing and landscape shots.

It's so bad--I'm getting unreasonable video latency in orbit mode around the controller at 50'.

Skydio 2 - Purchased Dec 2021
Pixel 5 - Airplane mode on
Controller - Came with Cinematic kit
Software - Most recent update

I contacted Skydio about this a week ago and still no response. RF interference is an excuse as the majority of my work is in open terrain in nature with no wires, towers, etc..

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume I got a bad unit, but is anybody else having this kind of challenges? I'm upset even having to ask for a workaround after dropping the coin on this one instead of the mavic 3.

You can try to install a Wifi strength monitor app, it's free, it will give you some help, and more detailed information and proof of the fact.

A lot of people are in the same situation, Skydio 2 is not a drone suitable for cinematic filming.

Skydio will reply, I asked a similar question a few days ago and they replied to the email seven days later.

You can see them in the thread:


Not too much helpful.
 

RiverEagle

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Skydio 2 is not a drone suitable for cinematic filming.

This is a bit of a broad statement IMO. I bought the S2 then S2+ purely for cinematic filming where I could rely on the best obstacle avoidance possible to be able to just focus on getting the shot. It's quite a bit less stressful and has a great camera. With Keyframes there's additional creative potential.

There are plenty of stunning cinematic videos from Skydio pilots on Youtube which is what drew me to it.

I do agree that in some situations esp. for long range shots a different drone might be better.

Ray
 

Sky Cyclist

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This is a bit of a broad statement IMO. I bought the S2 then S2+ purely for cinematic filming where I could rely on the best obstacle avoidance possible to be able to just focus on getting the shot. It's quite a bit less stressful and has a great camera. With Keyframes there's additional creative potential.

There are plenty of stunning cinematic videos from Skydio pilots on Youtube which is what drew me to it.

I do agree that in some situations esp. for long range shots a different drone might be better.

Ray

Old dogs can do new tricks, too.

Please don't miss the old dog... :)

There are a lot of features that are not DJI can compete.

The original Cable skill is one of them.

The feature of the Cable cam is superb!!

It is not new but it is very practical to use for solo hobbyists to create impressive films.

However, for cinematography, there are rooms to improve. Be content with the status quo, is it Skydio?

The basic need for cinematography is stability. There needs to be a complete connection between each frame, not even a little shaking!

Audiences are not drone enthusiasts, they will perceive it, and they will not accept it.

However, automatic obstacle avoidance may interfere with the operation of the drone, and for filmmakers, the option to turn off automatic obstacle avoidance is a necessary option.

For Skydio, its automatic obstacle avoidance isn't an option.

The Skydio 2 is powerful, but the option to adjust obstacle avoidance ON/OFF is necessary for cinematography.

SLOW mode is also the MUST-HAVE option for cinematography.

I use "Cable" skill to perform SLOW mode function and it is very very useful for cinematography.

That's what DJI can't compete.

Users of Skydio 2 can adjust speed with Cable skill but DJI's new drones can not! DJI's new C-mode is not too much different from its normal mode. I don't understand what DJI's product manager thinks. Why DJI always kills their best features like Waypoints and T-mode.... I can't understand.

The flight speed of KeyFrames is also adjustable. And it is quite a niche for cinematographers.


@Combatflipflops.Griff is a professional in the area.

There are other professional cinematographers have the same experience and comments about Skydio.

Please encourage their opinions about Skydio's cinematography experiences.

No matter how powerful Cable or KeyFrame is, it is not helpful for Combatflipflops.Griff's needs and his situation.

Cinematography is also about art but not selling a drone which always needs to show tons of powerful features. In addition to being very powerful or very strong AI, it also needs to be slow.

Anyway, let Combatflipflops.Griff shares more of his experience and I will just listen quietly.
 
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ETdronehome

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Recently purchased the S2 Cinematic kit over the holidays for my company's marketing department and I'm utterly disappointed.

The S2 works amazing as a follow camera. Will give it all the credit it deserves.

That said, the unit fails for any kind of establishing shots and cinematic work. I'm getting unusable latency and lack of control from 100'-800' with the controller. With a billed range of 3Km, I feel like I got "sold" on this camera. Not to complain without credential, but I'm a trained engineer, former radio guy in the Army, Part 107 pilot, and been flying commercially for years. I purchased this as the "ONE" camera I could take to get all of my work done, but finding that I now need to carry a seperate DJI product just to get reliable establishing and landscape shots.

It's so bad--I'm getting unreasonable video latency in orbit mode around the controller at 50'.

Skydio 2 - Purchased Dec 2021
Pixel 5 - Airplane mode on
Controller - Came with Cinematic kit
Software - Most recent update

I contacted Skydio about this a week ago and still no response. RF interference is an excuse as the majority of my work is in open terrain in nature with no wires, towers, etc..

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume I got a bad unit, but is anybody else having this kind of challenges? I'm upset even having to ask for a workaround after dropping the coin on this one instead of the mavic 3.
From my experience the controller - drone combo provides the most control and ”range” of all of the possibilities. Orbit skill in my experience was always smooth and predictable.

You mention latency a few times - is that with just the video feed or also when you move a control stick and there is a lag?

i rarely watch the video feed for long but have noticed in all the drones I’ve had/have DJI, Skydio, Swellpro… the video feed can be a bit glitchy - smooth with rare “short pauses” that don’t affect the flight or the actual camera recording.

In your use case are you getting “jerky” footage due to latency?

 
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Wow. First post here and wasn't expecting this much discussion.

With regards to the latency, it has to deal with the video and controls.

I'll put this in my practical use case scenario. Last week, we traveled to Sunset Cliffs in San Diego. I climbed down a cliff at low tide to take some test shots of models in a tidal cave. Initially, I flew my old Mavic air to get some reveal shots around the cliff wall to the models. No issues. Then I ran the Mavic air out to the surf line 800' from the coast to chase surfers on waves. Again, no issues with video or control.

Then I broke out the S2. The S2 on the first reveal at less than 100' of range lost connection to the drone for control and lost video. The rock cliff completely interfered with the signal and caused the S2 to follow it's RTH sequence. Shot was completely useless.

Once I regained control, I ran it out to the surf line to chase surfers. Although the controls were good, the video lagged so bad that it was impossible to keep the surfers framed in the shots, making the shot unusable.

800' is roughly 300m. That's 10% of the advertised range in wide open terrain with no RF interference. Again, I feel like I got "sold." It's been a week and I haven't received an email back from Skydio. I'm a business owner, so I need to spend my work hours working... not chasing down a customer support chat. If you submit a claim via the online submission form or email, 7+ days is unacceptable customer service for a product of this price.

Radio frequencies are a matter of the sending and receiving units signal output. My suspicion is that the remote and or the S2 don't put out enough wattage to hit the advertised range.

With regards to RF, it's mainly power lines that mess you up. The basic physics behind it is that when power is pushed down a line, there is a circular magnetic field around the line itself and the size is in proportion to the amount of current flowing down the line. The way I always remember is the "right hand rule." Google it. The bigger the line/current, the farther distance you need to be away from the line to avoid RF interference.

Most remotes are directional, so the antenna itself must be pointed directly at the unit for the best possible connection. I'm highly aware of this given my old fleet of Yuneec Typhoons built this habit for me. The video lag on orbit followed this issue as the lag happened as the S2 circled the controller from the rear. That said, the controller and the S2 should be pushing enough wattage to make that connection at 50'.

The cable cam is awesome and follows a feature available on the Yuneecs since 2016. It's a great option to avoid the gear associated with crane/moom shots. It's also a great replacement for Dollys.

The Keyframe has it's challenges. I'd been hitting up Skydio for this feature prior to the purchase and glad they came out with it about two weeks after my purchase. Again, this was a feature available on a $400 (used) Yuneec typhoon since 2016. However, I do notice that after I set my keyframes, the route shifts significantly and misses the mark when I'm trying to do fly-throughs. An example would be a surf shot we set up where I set up the Keyframes around a building, through two palm trees, and set the final point to a surfer getting ready to hit the water. On executing the keyframe, the entire route shifted about 20 degrees clockwise. It went around the building, completely missed the palm tree fly through (20' gap), and ended with a composition where the surfer was barely in frame. I was less than 200' from the unit at all times during setup and flight. GlitchyAF and not useable in a professional environment when you have models and gear expecting you to perform.

Waiting for Skydio to respond...
 
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VEGASROBBI

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I contacted Skydio about this a week ago and still no response. RF interference is an excuse as the majority of my work is in open terrain in nature with no wires, towers, etc..

I agree with you there's something else going on. As mentioned above it's a mixed bag some guys are seeing excellent results and other guys are seeing disconnects 10 ft away in the open desert. I personally believe there's some kind of compatibility conflict depending on what mode you're in and what devices you're using.

I can tell you I never had these issues until the last two updates and I've owned my S2 since the first batch.
 
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Ridefreak

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For those with the earlier version, are you using the narrowband option? It caused connectivity issues for me and I had to turn it off.
 
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I've tried using both. I'm a troubleshooting mofo, so this was my first course of action. Sucks in both modes.

That said, narrow band pointed directly at the unit should increase performance.
 

Ridefreak

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I was using the beacon, they told me the results are varied and to turn it off if I was seeing disconnects.
 

IMADMAN

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Have you tried with a different phone or just try using the beacon alone?
 
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No. I run my pixel 5 for everything. Why would I need to try a different phone? The phone is simply a small monitor.

I wasn't using the beacon at all. I was using the S2 just like a DJI or Yuneec product to capture cinematic footage.
 

IMADMAN

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No. I run my pixel 5 for everything. Why would I need to try a different phone? The phone is simply a small monitor.

I wasn't using the beacon at all. I was using the S2 just like a DJI or Yuneec product to capture cinematic footage.
Just a thought. GL, I hope Skydio will get back to you with an answer or suggestion.
 

ETdronehome

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@Combatflipflops.Griff

You included this in your initial post

“Recently purchased the S2 Cinematic kit over the holidays for my company's marketing department and I'm utterly disappointed.”

If you are not over 30days you can return for full refund.

I’m not suggesting that you do that but it’s food for thought.

The type of content you are attempting to capture might not be Skydio 2 strongest attribute.

Pretty hard to beat from a short range - tracking object - Obstacle Avoidance perspective, which you acknowledge.

I’m not saying it doesn’t function for other things (once you figure out what’s wrong) but I think the focus of the original design was for the type of stuff it’s good at.

If you look at the corporate level capability most of it is targeted at highly detailed autonomous image capture.
 

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