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My SD2 Observations

Ridefreak

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I flew the SD 2 yesterday for 3 batteries worth of flying. This is from a motorcycle rider's perspective so take that into account. I took it to my desert test range so not many trees but I purposely flew it low so as to interact with what was there. Our desert has lots of pinion trees (more like huge bushes) that range from about 6' to 30' tall. They're evergreen so it's easy for the drone to see them. As you probably realize, the desert is ideal for this kind of thing and not super difficult for the drone to navigate through but it's what I have. Since the drone is searching for the best route to keep the subject in the picture it flew just over the Pinion trees most of the time and considering the situation (fast moving subject) that was the best decision, it makes good tracking decisions a lot. I purposely spread out the 3 flights to try and cover some different conditions as much as I could out there.

Here's some of my observations. The tracking is excellent, there's nothing you can buy right now that compares to this drone for following a subject up and down hills, around trees and on curvy trails. The avoidance is so good that after you get over the initial feeling that you need to know where your $1000 investment is at you really don't worry about it and just ride. For me that's a game changer, I can focus on not trying to crash or look stupid on film
:rayof


The 3 batteries were a total of about 50 min of flying, it never once lost us that entire time. The 22 min battery duration is based on a more reasonable speed but that's not how we roll
:D
95% of the flights were in the upper half of the drone's speed capability so the battery life didn't surprise me. For most of this I positioned the drone in front of the subject because this was all relatively new to me and I wanted to observe how it handled navigating the things I threw at it. I've flown the SD2 before so I was familiar with it's operation but that wasn't my drone and I didn't want to risk crashing it. When you position the drone in front and you're running at a good clip through turns there will be a fair amount of footage where it's pointing the camera straight down at the subject. Also because of that there will be some flipping around of the orientation because it's right at the apex of deciding how it want's to orient the gimbal, my other drone did the same thing in similar situations. Now that I know that I'll position the drone a little further out in front for those shots. Despite that, those shots still make for some really cool close up video of the subject. Speaking of close up, this drone will capture every move you make in crisp detail so if you look awkward it'll definitely catch that but it also catches the nice moves you'd want to highlight. The video comes out looking like there's a camera crew 8' above you. The only issue I had was this; there was two of us riding close together, both on orange motorcycles so we looked very similar to the recognition software. Twice when the drone had to pass behind a tree and momentarily lost sight of the subject it switched to the other rider. We passed behind many trees over the course of the ride but it only had this issue twice. Had we been more spread out those two times I have no doubt this wouldn't have been a problem. Personally I didn't mind that much, it still made for great video and it make my buddies happy. There was one time when I purposely rode down a narrow slot canyon with bushes handing into the path of the drone, I suspect it filmed it better than a human could have sitting off to the side with a controller. In the video I showed hand launching and recovery, it's super easy and the drone lifts off and lands so controlled that the spinning props aren't an issue. You want to stop the tracking, walk over below the drone then tell it to land, stick out your hand and that's it. I used the beacon but I also connected the app to the beacon, not only does that increase the range out to a mile, it allows for full app control like RTH etc, it logs the drone's last known position should anything happen, that's especially important in a situation like I was using it where you don't have eyes on it all the time. It's not difficult to out accelerate the drone on a dirtbike and in that situation it will ether fall back or go from in front to flying directly overhead. When it falls behind it takes a few seconds and the drone will spin up to full speed to get back in position, it does this pretty well. If you're ripping on the bike I have no doubt you could loose the SD2 behind you but I didn't feel like I had to lay off on the speed during the ride, I just rode slightly slower and was able to be more controlled in my riding. The biggest thing is to ramp up your speed smoothly and it will stay in the intended position. I've read some reviews where the tester didn't like the fact that the drone is making many of the decisions on where it wants to be in relation to the subject. I didn't feel like that was an issue in my testing, it will swing from side to side when tracking a subject on a curvy trail, especially if it's in front of you. As smart as it's intelligence is, it cannot anticipate when the subject will suddenly turn and head in a different direction. Despite that it handles those situations gracefully and IMO with little or no adverse footage.

I filmed the entire day in 4K/60 and the video you'll see once it's done uploading is untouched. I did edit the content like cut out sections that were repetitious so as not to loose the viewer's interest. I also highlighted some of the interesting areas a little but basically the video is straight off the camera for what matters, color and resolution. I do have ND filters coming and the desert filming could benefit from a filter. I was able to fit 3 batteries worth of filming, almost an hour on one 126G micro Sd card. I used a Scandisk Ultra UHS-3 card with no issues.

The most recent software update adds an audible warning when the drone's battery is low but I only heard it once when I was stopped to land the drone, on the bike it's not really loud enough. The battery life indication is really small lettering so I had to stop to check battery life.

Overall I'd estimate 95% of the footage was usable, the majority of what wasn't usable was due to my positioning the drone too close for the speeds we were riding. There's a few times where it's getting back in position which takes a few seconds, we never had to stop for that, it always got back into position pretty quickly and there was probably 3 times that occurred in 50 min of flying.

Stay tuned, the video is uploading now and I'll post it once it finishes processing.
 
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leenanj

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I flew the SD 2 yesterday for 3 batteries worth of flying. This is from a motorcycle rider's perspective so take that into account. I took it to my desert test range so not many trees but I purposely flew it low so as to interact with what was there. Our desert has lots of pinion trees (more like huge bushes) that range from about 6' to 30' tall. They're evergreen so it's easy for the drone to see them. As you probably realize, the desert is ideal for this kind of thing and not super difficult for the drone to navigate through but it's what I have. Since the drone is searching for the best route to keep the subject in the picture it flew just over the Pinion trees most of the time and considering the situation (fast moving subject) that was the best decision, it makes good tracking decisions a lot. I purposely spread out the 3 flights to try and cover some different conditions as much as I could out there.

Here's some of my observations. The tracking is excellent, there's nothing you can buy right now that compares to this drone for following a subject up and down hills, around trees and on curvy trails. The avoidance is so good that after you get over the initial feeling that you need to know where your $1000 investment is at you really don't worry about it and just ride. For me that's a game changer, I can focus on not trying to crash or look stupid on film
:rayof


The 3 batteries were a total of about 50 min of flying, it never once lost us that entire time. The 22 min battery duration is based on a more reasonable speed but that's not how we roll
:D
95% of the flights were in the upper half of the drone's speed capability so the battery life didn't surprise me. For most of this I positioned the drone in front of the subject because this was all relatively new to me and I wanted to observe how it handled navigating the things I threw at it. I've flown the SD2 before so I was familiar with it's operation but that wasn't my drone and I didn't want to risk crashing it. When you position the drone in front and you're running at a good clip through turns there will be a fair amount of footage where it's pointing the camera straight down at the subject. Also because of that there will be some flipping around of the orientation because it's right at the apex of deciding how it want's to orient the gimbal, my other drone did the same thing in similar situations. Now that I know that I'll position the drone a little further out in front for those shots. Despite that, those shots still make for some really cool close up video of the subject. Speaking of close up, this drone will capture every move you make in crisp detail so if you look awkward it'll definitely catch that but it also catches the nice moves you'd want to highlight. The video comes out looking like there's a camera crew 8' above you. The only issue I had was this; there was two of us riding close together, both on orange motorcycles so we looked very similar to the recognition software. Twice when the drone had to pass behind a tree and momentarily lost sight of the subject it switched to the other rider. We passed behind many trees over the course of the ride but it only had this issue twice. Had we been more spread out those two times I have no doubt this wouldn't have been a problem. Personally I didn't mind that much, it still made for great video and it make my buddies happy. There was one time when I purposely rode down a narrow slot canyon with bushes handing into the path of the drone, I suspect it filmed it better than a human could have sitting off to the side with a controller. In the video I showed hand launching and recovery, it's super easy and the drone lifts off and lands so controlled that the spinning props aren't an issue. You want to stop the tracking, walk over below the drone then tell it to land, stick out your hand and that's it. I used the beacon but I also connected the app to the beacon, not only does that increase the range out to a mile, it allows for full app control like RTH etc, it logs the drone's last known position should anything happen, that's especially important in a situation like I was using it where you don't have eyes on it all the time. It's not difficult to out accelerate the drone on a dirtbike and in that situation it will ether fall back or go from in front to flying directly overhead. When it falls behind it takes a few seconds and the drone will spin up to full speed to get back in position, it does this pretty well. If you're ripping on the bike I have no doubt you could loose the SD2 behind you but I didn't feel like I had to lay off on the speed during the ride, I just rode slightly slower and was able to be more controlled in my riding. The biggest thing is to ramp up your speed smoothly and it will stay in the intended position. I've read some reviews where the tester didn't like the fact that the drone is making many of the decisions on where it wants to be in relation to the subject. I didn't feel like that was an issue in my testing, it will swing from side to side when tracking a subject on a curvy trail, especially if it's in front of you. As smart as it's intelligence is, it cannot anticipate when the subject will suddenly turn and head in a different direction. Despite that it handles those situations gracefully and IMO with little or no adverse footage.

I filmed the entire day in 4K/60 and the video you'll see once it's done uploading is untouched. I did edit the content like cut out sections that were repetitious so as not to loose the viewer's interest. I also highlighted some of the interesting areas a little but basically the video is straight off the camera for what matters, color and resolution. I do have ND filters coming and the desert filming could benefit from a filter. I was able to fit 3 batteries worth of filming, almost an hour on one 126G micro Sd card. I used a Scandisk Ultra UHS-3 card with no issues.

The most recent software update adds an audible warning when the drone's battery is low but I only heard it once when I was stopped to land the drone, on the bike it's not really loud enough. The battery life indication is really small lettering so I had to stop to check battery life.

Overall I'd estimate 95% of the footage was usable, the majority of what wasn't usable was due to my positioning the drone too close for the speeds we were riding. There's a few times where it's getting back in position which takes a few seconds, we never had to stop for that, it always got back into position pretty quickly and there was probably 3 times that occurred in 50 min of flying.

Stay tuned, the video is uploading now and I'll post it once it finishes processing.
Great write up! Looking forward to getting mine!
I'm in the Reno area so a bit colder but quading in the snow makes for some fun shots in the desert.
 
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VEGASROBBI

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Thanks for the write-up, I look forward to the video.

Even though the SD2 has groundbreaking obstacle avoidence and follow capabilities it must be treated with respect and operated properly. I think those with follow experience will appreciate it the most and learn it's behavior like any other drone.

I watched a few reviews where it was given to amateurs, or flown in an urban environment recklessly, with little respect for what's going on. The end result fails to show off SD2's abilities.

Following from the rear while walking is pretty simple. VPS can control altitude and following in the leash mode is not very challenging. Following a vehicle at high speed from the front up an elevation is a different story. Flying backwards or sideways is where many drones lose it.

Of course I'm speculating until I get mine, seems some would like to make us believe it's not all it's cracked up to be.
 
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Ridefreak

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Thanks for the write-up, I look forward to the video.

Even though the SD2 has groundbreaking obstacle avoidence and follow capabilities it must be treated with respect and operated properly. I think those with follow experience will appreciate it the most and learn it's behavior like any other drone.

I watched a few reviews where it was given to amateurs, or flown in an urban environment recklessly, with little respect for what's going on. The end result fails to show off SD2's abilities.

Following from the rear while walking is pretty simple. VPS can control altitude and following in the leash mode is not very challenging. Following a vehicle at high speed from the front up an elevation is a different story. Flying backwards or sideways is where many drones lose it.

Of course I'm speculating until I get mine, seems some would like to make us believe it's not all it's cracked up to be.
Your videos and mine are somewhat similar, I can only answer for my experience and it's a game changer. My other done is fast and has good follow, this is in a whole new league.

I hear you about flying locations, I suspect that will become an issue with some of the users. Like you, where I fly there's nobody for miles and I like it that way.

I'm having some issues with YT, I've uploaded twice at my normal compilation settings and both times it's stuck at 360P, usually it upscales to higher resolution pretty quickly. Of course it looks like crap right now on there so it's not published. It might be because it was 25min long @ 4K and a 5G file. I've split it into 2 videos to see if that helps.
 

j.r.r.

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Your videos and mine are somewhat similar, I can only answer for my experience and it's a game changer. My other done is fast and has good follow, this is in a whole new league.

I hear you about flying locations, I suspect that will become an issue with some of the users. Like you, where I fly there's nobody for miles and I like it that way.

I'm having some issues with YT, I've uploaded twice at my normal compilation settings and both times it's stuck at 360P, usually it upscales to higher resolution pretty quickly. Of course it looks like crap right now on there so it's not published. It might be because it was 25min long @ 4K and a 5G file. I've split it into 2 videos to see if that helps.
I would like to ask the question, if you don't mind. In some footages I saw on YT the drone operators complains about SD2 doesn't retain the setup altitude, with time it is coming closer and closer to a tracking object. Is this true? What is max altitude SD2 is capable to follow the moving object (motorcycle) when using beacon?
Thanks!
 

Ridefreak

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I didn't try the max alt with the beacon/app. That's some testing I plan to do. Its funny they mentioned the getting closer, I noticed that two but didn't try to investigate. Next flight I'll test that out, I use the beacon and the app together so I should be able to stand it off further then with the app alone. It's supposedly capable of follow from a mile out so at that point optical recognition is likely not being used. It definitely is at close in.
 

VEGASROBBI

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I have Follow Orbited 3/4 mile out with my Solo, my vehicle is just a speck. Pure optical tracking is at a huge disadvantage. Active Track is only good close in and won't even lock on target 100 feet out much of the time.

GPS is a robust link to the target if the sun or a tree gets in the way or your far out. Optical frames the shot close in but is suseptable to speed and the environment.

Nothing new here the Bebop 2 had optical and GPS follow years ago which worked great but had a poor camera. Anafi is awesome and s natural stepping stone to the S2.

GPS is required for proper and SAFE Follow IMO. The S2 adds AI and OA to GPS and Optical.
 

Ridefreak

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Posted the footage from yesterday in the Video files section
 

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