Tips for Flying your Drone at Night

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What’s up guys Billy here and today I’m going to give you some tips for flying your drone at night. Now whether you’re looking to take long exposure pictures, take some cool videos, or you’re just itching to fly, these tips should ensure that you get the most out of your midnight flight. Now I don’t really have all that much footage to share with you guys as this really isn’t a tutorial video, I do have a few examples to show you guys, but other then that it’s really just going to be an informational video of me talking to you guys. So it shouldn’t really take all that long, let’s get into it.

The first tip that I have for you guys is to know your area. You really want to be familiar with where you’re flying whether you’ve flown there before or you pass by it every single day, it really is all the same. But you really want to make sure you’ve seen the physical area that you’re in the daytime so you know where all the trees are, the buildings, the power lines, or any other obstacles that there could be. When you fly at night time it really is hard to see things that you haven’t seen in the daytime. So that is the reason that I usually go to the same spots whether it be in the city, or in the town that I’m closed to to try and get some cool long exposure pictures, because I know all the obstacles and all the buildings/powerlines that are around.

The next tip that I have for you guys is to be aware of your surroundings. Basically all I’m trying to say is to be safe when you go out to fly your drone. And I know I sound like your mom, but honestly its true. Whenever I am flying my drone I am always so deeply involved in my phone screen trying to get the best shot or I’m trying to look in the air for the drone itself, and I’m really not paying attention to my surroundings or anyone coming up to me. So honestly it is good at nighttime especially when its kind of sketchy out to make sure that nobody comes up to you. Or even bring a friend, usually I will bring either my mom or my girlfriend to kind of just watch over me as I’m trying to fly my drone, just to make sure that nothing happens. Now I know that I might sound a little paranoid for saying something like that, but it’s true honestly whenever I go to some places in Phi- to fly my drone, it can get a little bit sketchy as you know that not the best people live in the area surrounding Ph- so pretty much what I’m trying to say is just be safe when you’re out flying your drone at night.

Now this next tip sounds like a no brainer but I figured that I would throw it in there, basically you want to make sure that you always remove your ND filters when flying at night. Now I know again this kind of seems like a no brainer, but honestly I just figured I would throw this in here to remind you guys, it’s something that I’ve done a few times by accident and its annoying to send your drone up in the air and have to have it come back to you, land, and switch the filter out. So I’m just throwing this in here to remind you guys always make sure to pretty much leave your ND filter at home whenever you go out to fly at night.

The next tip I have for you guys is to fly with increased altitude. Basically when you’re flying from point A to point B or from place to place I would always recommend going up to around 300 feet just to avoid any obstacles that you may not know are there, or maybe new obstacles that maybe came up overnight – you never know if they raised some temporary power lines – I really don’t know, I just like to fly at around 300 feet just to make sure I don’t run into anything. Now 300 feet may seem like overkill but honestly I feel like that is the sweetspot, 400 feet is sometimes pushing the FAA limit and once you get down to 200 feet you could be running into some super tall buildings, super tall trees, you aren’t sure what could be around there. So honestly I would always recommend flying at 300 feet, that seems to be the sweetspot, and then from there once you get to your destination where you want to take a video, or a picture, you can always lower your drone down to whatever height that you need.

The next tip that I have for you guys is to always keep your eye on your drone. Now I know that it is an FAA regulation that you need to be within line of sight of the actual drone, but during the daytime I will tend to switch between looking at the drone and also looking down at my screen or my monitor, whatever I am using at the time. But whenever I am flying at night usually I only look at the drone and I follow the LED’s, as when I look through the screen it’s hard to see any obstacles that could be infront of me, and it’s a lot easier to just follow the red/green lights moving throughout the sky. Another thing that I noticed when flying in photography mode with the high shutter speed, it kind of is laggy when you’re trying to fly thus making it an inaccurate representation of whats actually infront of your drone. You guys might know what I mean when you flip into picture mode on your iphone and you’re looking around and its kind of laggy, kind of glitchy, but then once you switch over to video mode you see that its nice and smooth when you move the phone around. Its something like that, honestly I would just never recommend looking down at your phone screen as it really isn’t again an accurate representation of what’s around you, I would always recommend just flying those LED’s as they are super bright, and really easy to follow.

Now for my last tip but certainly not least, you want to make sure that the front LED’s are turned off on your drone when taking a picture or taking a video. Now the reason you want to turn these off is because they give you this weird funky red glow when you’re trying to take a picture or video, I’ll show you a little example on the screen right now – as you can see when my drone is stationary the red glow is present but it’s really not all that bad. Again, it is going to ruin your picture, so I would turn them off, but if I push the drone forward and I fly it forward, you will notice that the red glow is like all up in your face – it’s even hard to see the screen when flying, so honestly I would recommend turning them off, but bear with me I would recommend not turning them off all the way. You can go into settings and completely turn the front LED’s off, but I would recommend not doing that as I said in some of my previous tips – always use that front LED to know where your flying around, honestly I use that to notify me which way is forward and which way is backwards, when I kind of take my eye off of the drone maybe I’m switching positions. And it’s easy to look up in the sky and see which way is front, and which way is back. Now the way that we can make the drone turn the front LED’s off while we’re taking a picture, and while we’re taking a video only, we can go into our camera settings -> general -> front LED’s auto turnoff. This is going to allow the front LED’s to turn off automatically when you hit the shutter button, or when you hit the record button, honestly this comes in handy all the time for me, it’s so nice not having to flip the LED’s on or off or sometimes forget to flip them off. I know that when I had this selected the front LED’s will always turn off when I go to take a picture or a video.