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Litchi for Phantom

Discussion in 'DJI Discussion' started by John Locke, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. John Locke

    John Locke Member

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    Aug 31, 2015
    Orange County, CA
    Posted by John Locke, Jul 22, 2016 #1
    I own two 2 P3P's and a P4 craft. I've been flying DJI craft a little over a year. I started out with a Typhoon Q500+, which was a good starting point, but quickly realized the advanced capabilities of the Phantom line.

    Two weeks ago I purchased the Litchi navigation app ($25) for Phantom/Inspire. Although I knew what it could do in general terms, I didn't realize the possibilities until I started using it in the real world. I've got to say, flying totally autonomously and accurately is pretty cool. But pre-programming the flight path from your desktop and uploading to the craft is the bees knees. Yes, you can program a path on an iPad or Android (I use iPad Air2) in the field, but doing it at home on my PC is so much easier and more accurate. The desktop web-app give you terrain elevation data that's very useful to determine relative elevation differences to the 1st waypoint.

    This app makes owning a DJI craft even more impressive. The capability of flying beyond radio range and following a planned flight path is extremely powerful, expanding possibilities I never considered before. Going around mountains or around tall buildings is easy with Litchi, under programmed control. The automated control of the camera, yawing and pitching, all while following a fixed flight path produces way better results than trying to do the same moves manually. Although I don't condone flying in cities at night over people, etc. this video shows the capabilities, truly phenomenal shots. Spiraling around the high rise building is epic. The video shows one craft following another with almost identical programming, which is a novel idea. This was executed by one guy from a parking lot in Baltimore. There are many other daytime videos from this pilot on YouTube you may want to check out, showing previous runs of similar flights paths, a prelude to this night video.

    The capability of uploading a flight to fly autonomously is unique, I believe (other than government drones). Solo has an on-board CPU, so maybe they have software that's similar, but I'm not aware of anything like Litchi.

    When you fly your programmed path you can let it fly the craft only, and you control the camera pitch and yaw (when in range), or you can program the craft to point the camera where ever you want shoot, automatically. Then you can fly the exact same path next week, which is helpful when monitoring a construction site, or farmland, etc. I'm in love with this s/w, something I will require for any future drone I buy.

    I bought Autopilot first from Autoflight Logic, about 4 months ago. That's also incredible software. It's got a unique capability of following a smart device, instead of the RC. The smart device (such as an iPhone) need an app loaded called Airspace, free. This seems to work better than the P4's built-in auto track capability. However there's a bigger learning curve to use Autopilot effectively, it's not as intuitive. AFL provides very good training videos to help you come up to speed. It just takes more time to learn and it more difficult to remember how to use the features of Autopilot ($29, only on IOS). The key difference for me is that Autopilot won't fly 100% autonomously, you must always be in range with the RC. The autonomous flight of Litchi blows me away the more I use it. It takes time to gain confidence of my flight programming, but I've never once had an issue. I'm getting more brave with each flight I map out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  2. jamesb72

    jamesb72 Member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    Somerset, UK
    Posted by jamesb72, Oct 2, 2016 #2
    I am late to the party, I'd been only using the Go App with P3p, having seen some scare stories of Litchi, I tried Vertical Studio a couple of months ago, which has visual tracking and a wall feature, and does OK at those, but no other features, and swapping between Go and VS is clunky, also your flights are NOT logged if you do not start and end flight in Go App.

    Just downloaded Litchi today, and am very impressed with the tracking which is as good or better than VS, and has the other features like waypoints etc - I don't plan to fly anything ambitious, just cable cam or similar simple tracking shots, but most importantly it feels like a developed mature app, and has lots of very good features like voice announcements for battery percentage as often as you want, and voice confirmation of start/stop video which is great to avoid any doubt.

    A couple of things i need to look through manual for, one is you cannot seem to change the map zoom other than pinching every time you open map, when you come back to it its jumped back to way too zoomed in, also it seems to lose ability to have C1 flip gimbal forward/down, you can select a lot of other options, but I can't find gimbal down/forward on the list.

    For around $20 it adds a lot more functionality to Phantom3, so well worth a look.
     
  3. John Locke

    John Locke Member

    57
    19
    1
    Aug 31, 2015
    Orange County, CA
    Posted by John Locke, Oct 11, 2016 #3
    Litchi is quite flexible. One interesting effect is to "time phase" identical flights during post editing. The effect works best in areas with lots of lighting at night. I shoot 30fps to gather as much night light possible using the slowest shutter speed possible with auto, using no ND filter at night of course. Then during the daytime flights use the appropriate ND filter. Here's an example of what you can do, this is my first "time phased" video using this technique.
     
    xfile123 likes this.
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