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Jerkiness in Skydio 2 Slow moving video - CONFIRMED

skydioconvert

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I've noticed that when the Skydio 2 (S2) is used to capture cinematic (i.e. slow moving) video there is a very noticeable jerkiness through out the footage.

That was a concern to me because being able to capture smooth video for uses such as slow moving cinematic scenes, real estate AV or even building inspections was important to me.

Then today I ran across this video that seems to confirm the jerkiness problem.

In the back of mind I was guessing that the S2's incredible OA system may have in fact been causing or at least been contributing to the jerkiness problem.

The reviewer in this video comes to the same conclusion.

Hopefully this is just a firmware fix that Skydio has waiting in the pipeline....
 

Jim

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What did Skydio have to say about it?
 

skydioconvert

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What did Skydio have to say about it?
.
I raised this question with Skydio his morning via email and received the attached response:

"Thank you for reaching out to us! We're currently backed up due to an extremely high volume of contacts regarding the launch of Skydio 2. We're thrilled you contacted us and will get back to you as quickly as we can, but please allow 24-48 hours for a response.
Best,
Skydio Support
1(855)463-5902
www.skydio.com"

I'm now awaiting both a response from this ticket and an earlier ticket I submitted last Friday (Jan 3) on a different subject. Comparing ticket numbers tells me that there have been more than 500 tickets opened up by Skydio in a 3-4 day time period.

They're obviously overwhelmed by inquiries so I doubt if they're even close to meeting their projected 24-48 hour response time.

P.S. I'll provide any updates to this thread when Skydio sends me a response.
 

OldBlueHeron

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.
I raised this question with Skydio his morning via email and received the attached response:

"Thank you for reaching out to us! We're currently backed up due to an extremely high volume of contacts regarding the launch of Skydio 2. We're thrilled you contacted us and will get back to you as quickly as we can, but please allow 24-48 hours for a response.
Best,
Skydio Support
1(855)463-5902
www.skydio.com"

I'm now awaiting both a response from this ticket and an earlier ticket I submitted last Friday (Jan 3) on a different subject. Comparing ticket numbers tells me that there have been more than 500 tickets opened up by Skydio in a 3-4 day time period.

They're obviously overwhelmed by inquiries so I doubt if they're even close to meeting their projected 24-48 hour response time.

P.S. I'll provide any updates to this thread when Skydio sends me a response.
I also am waiting on answer to several questions. They really need to hire some more people.
 

skydioconvert

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Whatever initial delay these guys had in responding to questions about the Skydio 2, the below series of replies I received are "far and above" any response I ever hoped to get. Not only did the replies honestly explained what the situation was but they didn't try to sugar coat what was apparently happening.

Dans's explanation makes perfect sense and is something I now realize I can live with. Expecting a drone to have both perfect OA and perfectly smooth cinematic video at the same time is probably never going to happen.

Read the exchange of our emails below and draw your own conclusions about their level of customer service.

P.S. For more reasons than anyone has time to listen to the Skydio 2 INMHO exceeds any drone out there... and that includes both newly released versions of DJI and Autel drones.



Dana (Skydio)
Jan 9, 5:16 PM PST
Hi Fred,
Thanks for clarifying your concerns. First, please consider the matter escalated - you're speaking with the Head of Support here, but our entire team is reviewing any and all customer concerns to make the product experience better.
Second, addressing the flight behavior seen in the 51 Drones review you linked to, he's entirely correct when he says that the vehicle itself is trying to avoid obstacles in a very challenging environment. In that clip, it is trying as best as it can to balance avoidance of the thin branches and other obstacles with its intent to follow the subject accurately and keep the subject in the frame. So, yes, in an environment like that, it may not always result in super smooth and cinematic video - but this is a completely autonomous flight behavior (again) trying to maintain a flight path around very challenging obstacles.
In a situation like that, Skydio 2 will do its best, but I would advise that the pilot try a different cinematic skill or increase the range and height of the shot (getting the vehicle out of immediate harm's way) to achieve smoother, and thus more cinematic footage. Having immediate thin obstacles anywhere near the flight path is discouraged in our safety materials, so I'm actually surprised that some of those shots haven't resulted in collisions or damage to the drone. Please review our safety guidelines and user guides for more details (both linked below).
Glad to hear that you've ordered the drone! I think you'll enjoy it. As 51 Drones mentioned, it is a completely new experience, unlike any other drone out there.
Best,
Dana
Skydio Safe Flight Guidelines
Skydio 2 FAQ
Skydio 2 User Guides
855-GOFLY02




Jan 9, 3:44 PM PST
Thanks for the reply but there definitely is a jerkiness problem. Spend a couple minutes , look at the designated spot in the below video, verify that jerkiness is a problem and then seriously consider forwarding it (with my comments) to your management for review.

The video (at minute 7:23 into the video) identifies "jerkiness" as the pilots "biggest" complaint. The pilot is the creator of the 51 Drones Youtube channel and has almost 18,000 subscribers. He is a long time reviewer of many types of multi-rotors and is a frequent guest on many on-line multi-rotor panel discussions. Additionally, multiple threads/discussions in skydiopilots.com (Skydio 2) website itself are also beginning to draw attention to this problem.

To answer your questions, I have pre-ordered the Skydio 2 (Batch 3) and will "hopefully" be using the drone to shoot some really great cinematic aerial video.






Dana (Skydio)
Jan 7, 2:17 PM PST
Hi Fred,
We haven't seen any direct reports like the ones you've mentioned, nor have we been contacted by customers experiencing any similar issues. Suffice to say, we are looking at every reported issue in-depth and we're looking to address any and all bugs as we find them through careful analysis.
Are you a Skydio 2 owner? If so, have you personally experienced the issue you've described? We'd be curious to hear more - Thanks!
Best,
Dana
Skydio Support
Skydio 2 FAQ
Getting Started with Skydio 2
855-GOFLY02




Jan 7, 8:47 AM PST
There are multiple reports of a persistent jerkiness in any Skydio 2 video shot when attempting any type of cinematic aerial video (i.e. especially tracking slow moving targets).

Does Skydio acknowledge this problem and what plans does it have to fix the problem?

Sent from Mail for Windows 10
 
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Hiflyer808

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In the skydio rep's response he mentioned using different "skills" and had a link to their article on that. When reading it it occurred to me that using the "fixed" tracking mode could smooth things out quite a bit. The drone should be less restless in general since it's not trying to always maintain the same position relative to your direction of movement, and the OA could be smoother because since the autonomy engine isn't having to focus both on that and your direction of movement. Since this kind of low-speeds-but-with-many-obstacles tracking is what I'm most interested in (hiking in Hawaiian rainforests), I'd love to see some tests comparing the two tracking modes in the same spot. Also, using the "cable" mode to set the beginning and ending of your shot. My understanding is that it will still track you in that mode, but while trying to move in as straight a line as possible, even while dodging obstacles. That might give the best results of all. Let's see those tests!
 

skydioconvert

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In the skydio rep's response he mentioned using different "skills" and had a link to their article on that. When reading it it occurred to me that using the "fixed" tracking mode could smooth things out quite a bit. The drone should be less restless in general since it's not trying to always maintain the same position relative to your direction of movement, and the OA could be smoother because since the autonomy engine isn't having to focus both on that and your direction of movement. Since this kind of low-speeds-but-with-many-obstacles tracking is what I'm most interested in (hiking in Hawaiian rainforests), I'd love to see some tests comparing the two tracking modes in the same spot. Also, using the "cable" mode to set the beginning and ending of your shot. My understanding is that it will still track you in that mode, but while trying to move in as straight a line as possible, even while dodging obstacles. That might give the best results of all. Let's see those tests!
The attached reviewers video illustrates a little how the different tracking modes affect the cinematic capability of the S2.
I don't doubt that tweaking some of shown settings will affect how smoothly the drone flies but every time you fly the autonomous programming built into the drone is going to sense a different bunch of variables and would in the end therefore react differently. I'm guessing that to have world class "intelligent" OA (the reason most would buy the S2) you have to give up some degree of cinematic smoothness.
 

Hiflyer808

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I saw that video before; it's not a systematic comparison of moving in the same path from point a to point b using different tracking methods. Surprising to me how little of that there is on YouTube. Yes, the drone will respond somewhat differently each time, but doing multiple passes with each method. If I had one in hand that's one of the first things I'd do. I accept that the Skydio will never be as smooth as, say, a Mavic 2, but I've seen enough long clips of great cinematic movement to feel that if I could only have one all-purpose drone, this would be it! (Unless the Autel Evo 2 turns out to have OA that is as good as the extravagant claims I've heard.)
 

Hiflyer808

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This video has a pretty good comparison of the three tracking modes, although they are not systematic comparisons of the same route repeated multiple times, and there are not a lot of obstacles. But for what it's worth, the static tracking does seem smoother. He also has a short demo of cable cam, but without tracking. Based on the old video Skydio has on using cable cam with the R1, it seems like this is one of the best tools for getting smooth cinematic shots while also tracking. I hope to see a video that really puts cable cam through its paces.

 

Lon Denard

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I think some of the point is missing. In tracking mode, this drone doesn't do "cinematic" except by accident. It has a hard time just standing still waiting to track. I was showing a friend auto track using a truck as a subject and the drone moved 4 or 5 times for no reason while I was showing him the screen and how it worked. It's like a puppy you're about to take for a walk after it's seen the leash.

As far as getting smooth shots using the controller. That's possible but again, the drone can wreck your shot by deciding it wants to jerk one way or another while you're trying to be smooth. Obviously, the higher you are and the father away from objects, the better. When I was shooting orbits, if I tried to get even kinda close (<10') the drone would move itself out of line. Annoying.

Unless, Skydio decides to give us a "dumb" or manual mode, a lot of us, "we just wanted a cinematic drone with better obstacle avoidance" types are gonna be disappointed. I'm trying to improve the range/image transmission system, make control stick extensions/knobs, anything to help it's manual flight characteristics. I don't want to shoot dronies, rockets or cable cams. I want to shoot subjects the way I want to shoot them. This drone likes to remind you that you're the co pilot too often right now in my opinion.
 

Hiflyer808

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Yeah definitely if you're just standing there the tracking tends to be like you say, a puppy who has seen the leash. But of course you don't need tracking if you're stationary. Seems like as with any other drone for the most cinematic shots you have to learn some piloting skills. For its forte of fast tracking, you mainly just need to switch tracking modes and positions to suit the surroundings. For the trickier slow tracking, in addition sometimes use cable cam with tracking. For example, in the scene he uses in the video to illustrate the jerkiness I would think if he had done that, with it set to move very slowly, it might have been much smoother. And for situations where you don't need tracking, in addition to the things you mention for improving manual performance I would again experiment with cable cam. I've seen at least one cable cam shot where the Skydio made a remarkably smooth flight through some metal girders on a bridge, a shot that would have been extremely difficult to do manually without crashing with OA turned off. And I feel more positive than you about the one-shots, especially boomerang and vortex, since those shots can be very cinematic and are very hard to do manually, and unlike with other drones you don't go down to 1080p and you can safely do them in obstacle-rich places. Over all, from what I've seen the Skydio is still the best if you could only have one drone. Hopefully as the OA algorithms improve the obstacle dodging will get smoother..
 

skydioconvert

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Yeah definitely if you're just standing there the tracking tends to be like you say, a puppy who has seen the leash. But of course you don't need tracking if you're stationary. Seems like as with any other drone for the most cinematic shots you have to learn some piloting skills. For its forte of fast tracking, you mainly just need to switch tracking modes and positions to suit the surroundings. For the trickier slow tracking, in addition sometimes use cable cam with tracking. For example, in the scene he uses in the video to illustrate the jerkiness I would think if he had done that, with it set to move very slowly, it might have been much smoother. And for situations where you don't need tracking, in addition to the things you mention for improving manual performance I would again experiment with cable cam. I've seen at least one cable cam shot where the Skydio made a remarkably smooth flight through some metal girders on a bridge, a shot that would have been extremely difficult to do manually without crashing with OA turned off. And I feel more positive than you about the one-shots, especially boomerang and vortex, since those shots can be very cinematic and are very hard to do manually, and unlike with other drones you don't go down to 1080p and you can safely do them in obstacle-rich places. Over all, from what I've seen the Skydio is still the best if you could only have one drone. Hopefully as the OA algorithms improve the obstacle dodging will get smoother..
Perhaps other OA algorithms offering smoother cinematic video are possible but tweaking what already has to be mind blowing complex coding is something I doubt Skydio has high on its to do list. More often than not coding changes introduce completely unforeseen new problems that many times rival or even exceed the original problem. Some puppies are just not trainable not matter how good of a trainer or "drone whisperer" you are.
 

Hiflyer808

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Of course all this is moot for me since I haven't preordered! But if I see a few months down the line that at least some significant improvements have been made I'll probably get one used from Ebay. As it is, my M2 Zoom gathers dust because for the kind of flying I like to do, low to the ground and frequently backwards with lots of obstacles around, it's just too scary to fly! Finally saw a good demo of the Autel Evo 2's OA and tracking skills, and while it seems to be an improvement over the M2 in both tracking ability and OA, and with side sensors always operational, it doesn't let you fly very close at all to objects unless OA is off. So, right now a close second overall to the Skydio for me.
 

skydioconvert

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Of course all this is moot for me since I haven't preordered! But if I see a few months down the line that at least some significant improvements have been made I'll probably get one used from Ebay. As it is, my M2 Zoom gathers dust because for the kind of flying I like to do, low to the ground and frequently backwards with lots of obstacles around, it's just too scary to fly! Finally saw a good demo of the Autel Evo 2's OA and tracking skills, and while it seems to be an improvement over the M2 in both tracking ability and OA, and with side sensors always operational, it doesn't let you fly very close at all to objects unless OA is off. So, right now a close second overall to the Skydio for me.
Not sure I'd ever buy a used S2 drone from anywhere.

No way to tell if its been in crashes and isn't suffering from a degraded OA system and/or borderline mechanical problem.
 

Lon Denard

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Not sure I'd ever buy a used S2 drone from anywhere.

No way to tell if its been in crashes and isn't suffering from a degraded OA system and/or borderline mechanical problem.
I have to agree... I've considered selling mine but I'd hate to deal with the guy after he crashes it.
 

Lon Denard

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Of course all this is moot for me since I haven't preordered! But if I see a few months down the line that at least some significant improvements have been made I'll probably get one used from Ebay. As it is, my M2 Zoom gathers dust because for the kind of flying I like to do, low to the ground and frequently backwards with lots of obstacles around, it's just too scary to fly! Finally saw a good demo of the Autel Evo 2's OA and tracking skills, and while it seems to be an improvement over the M2 in both tracking ability and OA, and with side sensors always operational, it doesn't let you fly very close at all to objects unless OA is off. So, right now a close second overall to the Skydio for me.
I own both the Mavic 2 Pro and the Skydio 2. I definitely don't see the S2 as the drone to have if you can only have one. Unless you do nothing but Motion Track yourself all day. Flight time, range, feature set, range of environments, etc... Right now it's winter in Michigan, I can only fly the Skydio 2 between 9am and 4pm, if the temp is above freezing, if it's not snowing and I don't want to fly very far or for very long. That's not the specs of the most versatile drone in the world, in my opinion.
 

Hiflyer808

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This video is a great demonstration of how the sd2 can be AWESOME as a purely cinematic drone, no tracking involved. It would be almost impossible for the Mavic to get some of these shots.
 

Lon Denard

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This video is a great demonstration of how the sd2 can be AWESOME as a purely cinematic drone, no tracking involved. It would be almost impossible for the Mavic to get some of these shots.
Oh Kendall is AWESOME though! I'm trying to talk him (or ANYONE) into editing my footage for me... So far no takers...

Oh and not to argue, but here's the thing. Okay, these shots are difficult with another drone, just like some shots can only be done with a Cinewhoop, but just like with tracking/follow me, who's flying through the jungle in Hawaii everyday? Or the Redwood Forrest Preserve? Or the Painted Desert? Most of us live in and around cities and want to get those kinds of shots. They can be difficult with this drone. Just being real.
 
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Lon Denard

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And they say we can’t do cinematic. Psshhh.
You've been around and I know you saw those strategic edits. That said, he's doing a lot better than me and he's an awesome pilot and editor to boot! It doesn't hurt that he works for Skydio and has more hands on/stick time than most either.

Regardless, he puts out the best Skydio 2 videos bar none!
 
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