Get your FREE Photography Guide

A guide to "Capturing Motion" in low light situations

WARNING This Is NOT A Toy: Tips For Flying the DJI Phantom 2 Vision

First off I want to start with a WARNING!!!! The DJI Phantom may seem like a toy but it is not. It is a tool that needs to be respected but it is also a tool that will allow you to capture some amazing video and photos.

You really need to know what you are doing when you set out to fly one of these things. It is going to take you hours and hours of practice to feel confident enough in your flying skills.

Being that this is a quadracopter and has spinny mc spinnersons that can hurt someone you have to be very careful. If you are flying this over a crowd and you loose control you can hurt someone and that would not be good.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s get to some tips for flying the DJI Phantom 2 Vision. First off always make sure your Phantoms battery is fully charged before flying. You will get roughly 25 minutes of power out of one charge. You may think that is not a lot but it is a major upgrade over the previous model that only got 12.

Be sure to follow the directions that come with the Phantom. They are very well put together. The fact that you can take this thing out of the box and be ready to fly fairly quick is a testament to how far DJI has come in this flying game.

I have heard a lot of people say there are less expensive ways to built a quadracopter on your own. Now I am sure that’s the case but I personally don’t want to save a few bucks but spend more time attempting to put together a kit on my own. There is reason why the Phantoms are sold out everywhere you look. As soon as DJI ships them they are already sold.

When you take a look at the controller you will notice that it is completely white without any indicators to tell you what does what. I personally took a sharpie and drew the directions right on the controller.

Left Stick UP makes the Phantom go up.
Left Stick DOWN makes the Phantom come down.
Left Stick LEFT makes the Phantom rotate left in place.
Left Stick RIGHT makes the Phantom rotate right in place.

Right Stick UP makes the Phantom go forward.
Right Stick Down make the Phantom go backwards.
Right Stick LEFT makes the Phantom fly to the left.
Right Stick RIGHT makes the Phantom fly to the left.

LEFT and RIGHT stick pressed towards the middle and down aka 5 O’clock on the left stick and 7 O’clock on the Right will turn on the props.

Releasing both sticks will allow them to return to center which in turn allows the Phantom to hover in place.

Before you start flying the Phantom it is good practice to turn it on but let it acquire it’s GPS location. You will know that it found it’s GPS location because the blinking lights will slowly blink green. This will allow the Phantom to fly much more stable as well as allow it to fly back close to that spot if it looses signal from the receiver.

My tips for flying are to start slow and only focus on the left stick. Get used to taking off slowly and allowing the Phantom to hover in place. One thing that I have learned is if you ever are unsure about what direction to go on the stick I say always press UP on the left stick. I say this because it will climb up, opposed to hitting down which could crash the unit. When in doubt hit left on the up stick to re focus what you need to do.

Once you figure out the up work on the down and getting control of the unit. Play with allowing the phantom to rotate left and right before moving to the right stick. Now that you have moved to the right stick work on forward and back, left and right. Get used to seeing how the Phantom responds to you are prepared before you get to risky.

You will want to make sure that your IPHONE or other device has a nice and bright screen setting especially if you are outside in bright day light. A lot of times when flying you may not be able to see the Phantom with your eyes and you will have to rely on the screen to see what direction you need to go.

As another WARNING you may not want to attempt to fly your Phantom on very windy days. I took it out for my second flight in 30 MPH winds and it ended up getting pushed out over the river where I could not see or hear it. I had to rely on the screen to determine which direction it was facing so I knew which stick to hit.

Here are some tips for landing so you do not dig the props into the ground. Start to hit down on the right stick until the Phantom is a foot or less off the ground. Make sure it is stable in place and start to press down on the right stick until it touches down. Once it touches down hold the right stick all the way down until the props cut power and the unit stops.

On windy days I have found that you are better coming in for a harder quicker landing so there is less chance of the wind blowing it off it’s edge and driving it into the ground.

But in all honesty it just takes practice to get better at flying and to become more comfortable. One of my goals is to be able to fly the Phantom around and near a crowd without worrying about crashing it in to them. The video that I would be able to capture in those situations would allow for some great footage.

One thing not to forget is that the Phantom Vision 2 not only shoots video but it will capture still images in RAW DNG. Some of the images I have seen come out of this device are truly breath taking. You capture a vantage point that you otherwise would not be able to capture.

Some ideas for how the Phantom can be used to generate revenue would be using during a wedding party outside. You can capture a full on group photo of everyone or do some fly over video to cut into the wedding video.

You could do house fly overs to help you get a new vantage point to help you better market a property.

This is such a new frontier for many people that is going to continue to evolve as generations of the Phantoms continue to grow.

Flying this thing for the first time left me with a huge smile on my face. The pure creation possibilities that this opened my eyes to were just amazing. I have not felt as excited for any other device in a long long time. But again remember that this is not a toy and with great power comes great responsibility.