Year-End Coastal Meditation

2017 was also pretty much a year of testing techniques and discovering new perspectives. I spend a lot of time to find out how create new perspectives with copters under various circumstances on water. The most recent copters are a perfectly stabilized platform and this has some potentials for new visuals. The successful Mirabaud 2017 shot is likely one of the beste examples.  The platforms are however also perfectly useable as a stabilized platform for filming slow motions on water. I was testing some footage in summer 2016 for Slomo shootings but could not really find how to get stabilized sequences. A copter has not the capabilities to do tele kind of action shots but wide angle slomos come out nicely with the 120fps on 1080p footage recording. Its clearly compressed footage at 100Mbit bitrate and the sensors is also not a high iso wizard but somehow its easy to generate footage that reveals new structures and it should be possible to also get precise Slomos from fast paced sailing maneuvers.

Here a cut from summer 2017 where we spend some weeks in Scandinavia at the coast of West-Sweden and Skagen.

Likely best viewed when all the stress is over these days and with a single malt at hand at late night contemplations :)

505 time-motion stack makes it into the Mirabaud Top20

My time-motion stack made it into the Top20 of the international Mirabaud Yacht Racing Photo Contest. This is really great since it means that the image will be displayed on some events!  When I planned this shot in winter 2016/17 I never thought that this concept would work so well – although I felt that the potential application of these kind of shots is clearly multi-folded. First tests in April already went very well. Its a very graphical visual but these kind of shot composites also reveal tactical errors or wrong tacking decisions. The flight altitude limitation is basically the main problem for these copter based imaging concepts.


German Classics 2017!

Wiedermal eine tolle Veranstaltung – die German Classics 2017 vor Laboe am letzten Wochenende. Obwohl diesmal nicht ganz so stark besucht wie in den letzten Jahren und durchaus vom Wetter etwas gebeutelt hatte dieses Wochenende irre Momente zu bieten. Der Sonnabend war  schlicht eine herrliche Rauschefahrt bei 5-6Bf und schöner Welle. Fotografisch gesehen war wirklich am Sonnabend alles drin, nur der Coptereinsatz war etwas problematisch vom Schlauchi aus. Schlicht recht viel Bewegung und in den Böen schwer zu fangen der Copter auf dem/vom Zodiac aus. Der nächtliche Beamer  Bilder BestOf aus meiner Feder kam auch gut an.

Tausend Dank an Christiane Rink und Nicole Ziercke für die präzisen Zodiac Moves!!! und die gemeinsame Zeit mit Ecke Erben, Jozef Kubica und Hendrick Ballhausen!

Kleiner Preview goes here:  – volle Galerie auf Ende dieser Woche.

UPDATE: full SATURDAY Gallery goes here:

SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-0325SMH-GC17-20170818-2014031100-0912 SMH-GC17-20170818-2014031100-0947 SMH-GC17-20170818-2014031100-0953 SMH-GC17-20170818-d4c5abaf23a147c434e47d2a0105ac83-0122 SMH-GC17-20170819-2016338-9770 SMH-GC17-20170819-2016338-9780 SMH-GC17-20170819-6093285-1656 SMH-GC17-20170819-6093285-1752 SMH-GC17-20170819-6093285-1770 SMH-GC17-20170819-6093285-1861 SMH-GC17-20170819-6093285-2003 SMH-GC17-20170819-6093285-2148 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-0320 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-0992 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-0997 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1057 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1062 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1210 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1239 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1254 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1276 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1389 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1436 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1473 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1564 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1883 SMH-GC17-20170819-6114683-1925 SMH-GC17-20170819-d4c5abaf23a147c434e47d2a0105ac83-0103


Preparing for the German Classics

Right back from our Scandinavia tour! Shot a lot of these fantastic landscapes at the west coast of Sweden and than also some in the North of Denmark. The mixed weather was kind of cool for doing all sorts of things photographically – from under-water towards copter night time and sunset shots and also using slomos at the coast. I am also feeling much more confident now that the Phantom copter systems are dealing well with strong winds ;).

A shot from Hirtshals Fyr: – flying at night is likely the most exciting you can do with a copter.



Did also some footage with grading in Adobe AE towards nice slomos. I am still working on these but there will be a slomo teaser soon for this project. Its just a very cool feature that can be used nicely to visualize waves and coastal textures and I want to use the 12o fps in the future also for the sailing sport photography. This is clearly a domain where we can do much more – and better ;).


Right now: preparing for the German Classics 2017 – this is as usual one of these very big events. The forecast is kind of hinting windy conditions but this is pretty much expected this summer.

mtk – Sören

Historische Jubiläums Regatta des BYC / VSaW

Schöne Bedingungen für die Historische Jubiläusregatta des BYC und VSaW zum 150 jährigen Jubiläum der Clubs, zuerst gabs gut Wind & Sonne und dann zumindest noch genug Sonne für so einige visuelle Experimente mit dem Copter.  Kleine Vorschau auf die Galerie schonmal hier – volle Galerie mit Download Option ist jetzt hier online: Einige schöne Copter Shots bei mehr Wind zeigen gut was mit dieser Plattform alles geht. Insbesondere, wenn man mit dem Motorboot mitfährt ist einiges an starken Kompositionen möglich. Das Ganze braucht aber recht viel Konzentration, da die Previsualisierung zusammen mit der Kontrolle der eigenen Position zum Copter/dem Feld der Segler – die Situation recht komplex gestaltet.


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Havel Klassik 2017!

Havel Klassik 2017 – das größte Treffen klassischer Segler im Binnenbereich. Diesmal recht overcast die Lichtbedingungen, aber trotzdem wars wiedermal herrlich die vielen verschiedenen Bootsklassen vor den historischen Gebäuden zu sehen. Diesmal hatte ich eine Durchfluggenehmigung für das EDR-4 Sperrgebiet beantragt bei der BAF und konnte so einige schöne Perspektiven vor der Pfaueninsel testen. Ingesamt natürlich mit viel Potential bei besserem Licht und verschiedenen Flughöhen.  Leider ist das Feld schnell sehr stark auseinander gezogen, sodass man gewisse Prioritäten setzen muss. Eine kleine Vorschau hier schonmal. Die volle Galerie ist bis Do.-Abend online.

mtk, Sören

SMH-HK17-20170624-2016338-6309 SMH-HK17-20170624-2016338-6397



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MicroSD cards and standards …

There is a lot of confusion about the speed of MicroSD cards these days and various standards exist. Overall its easy to buy yourself into the wrong card type and for copter data acquisitions with the P4Pro the card speed is essential.

So here we go:

UHS-I and UHS-II (Ultra High Speed Classes):

UHS-II is the newest standard but is not supported by many yet. The Phantom series 3 and 4 all need UHS-I and definitely the fastest UHS-I cards. The UHS-I bus goes to 104MB/s whereas the UHS-II bus goes up to 300MB/s  (theoretical limits – the cards will not perform at this speed).

u1-u3 Rating:

UHS Speed classes are subdivided in to u1 and u3, while u3 performs minimum at 30MB/s write speed (needed for copter flights).

Video Rating: 

A new speed rating is called “video rating”. It scales from V6 to V90. The fastest cards are v60 right now (possible values are V6 V10 V30 V60 V90, but note that V60 and higher is usually UHS-II bus type and not supported by Phantom 3 and 4 series).

C-Rating (c1-c10)

Speed Rating up to 10MB/s write – this is a slow class rating and c10 should be always possible for fast cards.


Up to 32GB capacity the cards have the label microSDHC whereas cards bigger (64-256GB) hold the label microSDXC.

For the Phantom3A (5MB/s max write speed) Phantom3Pro (60mb/s =7.5MB/s) and Phantom 4Pro (100mb/s=12.5 MB/s) series the fastest at writing to card seems to be right now the UHS-I SanDisk Extrem plus and Extreme pro cards (90MB/s sequential write). While this seems overkill the u3/V30 just certifies that you will never be below 30MB/s write speed under real world / all temperature conditions.

  • SanDisk Extreme PLUS  microSDXC UHS-I u3 V30
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO microSDXC UHS-I u3 V30

Nice summary from Wikipedia goes here:




Speeding up Agisoft Photoscan

For some of the copter data processing folks Agisoft Photoscan turns out to be the most important tool/software to calculate point clouds, orthoimages and nadir data mosaics from copter  photographs.

Problem: very long processing times with dense point cloud calculations with high or ultra-high settings (full resolution image matching with SfM (Structure from Motion) algorithms).

Some nice net finds show how multicore processing has its limits and why you should invest into GPU performance … and in high end 3D graphic cards.

Combining more than 20 CPU cores doesnt seem to speed up the process and combining more than 4 GPU systems also doesnt seem to help. There is only a minimal speed increase when you add more CPUs and or more GPUs when a 24 core system is already installed.

It boils down to a dedicated system with 2-4 Graphic cards with 3D acceleration (GTX-1080ti cards from Nvidea or if you can afford it a TESLA p100 based system), with approx 64-128 GB RAM and a dual i7 system setup.

mtk – Sören

Drone Deploy and DJIs POI Mode copter image acquisitions

Using DroneDeploy and the POI mode of DJI  (this article was first published on

Have been doing some leaf-off flights now in March on one of my favorite sites for complex tree crown point cloud mapping. To add to the leaf-on data from last autumn.


Fig.: Leaf-Off point cloud with combined height color coding and reflectance color coding.

This time I also checked the full automatic flight modi using the POI (Point Of Interest) mode from DJI and Drone Deploy with the P4Pro and the P3A.

Both work perfectly although I believe the POI mode can be dangerous when its done with low altitudes. You have to carefully check that the radius is free from obstacles when you define the center position, altitude and distance from center (radius) for the POI flight. When POI is started it begins with comparably low speeds. You can modify the speed setting when the POI mode started. Unfortunately you cannot modify this stetting before you start. Tuning the speed on an iPad or (even more difficult – on an iPhone) is kind of dangerous because you easily move the slide too much to higher speeds than wanted and the copter will immediately accelerate and start circling your POI object like crazy until you managed to move the slider to slower speeds. There is however always this stop button to kill the POI mode – this is handy and needed sometimes. When you press the stop button the copter stops the POI mode completely and waits for new commands.

Continue reading “Drone Deploy and DJIs POI Mode copter image acquisitions”

Schlachtensee Panorama

The higher resolution version of the Schlachtensee Pano shot / panorama from early February. This was a magic week. Temperatures and light were just perfect and the ice was incredible untouched. This pano is from the P3A.

For those not familiar with the Berlin south west. The Schlachtensee region is known in Berlin as the area where the people who love dogs used to have some conflicts with those that go for a run and/or the other way around.  I think the conflict has been cooling down now somewhat fortunately! In summer its great to have a swim here early in the morning. Skating in winter only works every 5-10years – so these days in February were kind of unique. (Pano from 4 different shots: resampled to 4300×1300).