Still Flying

Despite having a couple of projects in mind, I haven’t been doing much over the last two weeks except flying. With everyone stuck at home, I’ve just been sticking to my yard which is kind of limiting, but after being stuck flying whoops indoors for the winter having decent weather now to get outside regularly is a treat even if I can’t get to a bigger field or go over to the nearby elementary school’s parking lot.

I started practicing proximity flying a lot more, which just means flying close to objects and trying to hit smaller gaps. I have a loop in my backyard that I like to do with whoops that I started trying with my toothpick and while I’ve been getting better at it, I have had a couple of collisions. My favorite so far was then I was trying to skim our fence line and caught a board. I couldn’t manage this again if I tried.

While that collision didn’t do any damage, I whacked the bird feeder that we keep hanging from my kids’ playset that ended up breaking a motor. I’m honestly surprised about how much damage it did compared to some of the other collisions and crashed. It might be that was one of the older motors on the quad, since I don’t keep track of which was which when I’ve done rebuilds but that’s probably something I should be better about doing. It might have just been the speed I was going. Regardless, I broke the bell again and had to swap the motor out.

I recorded myself doing the motor repair and experimented to making a timelapse of it that I posted online. Normally I use YouTube for anything longer than what will fit on Twitter or Instagram as a clip, like this one of the 30 seconds before the crash.

But I hadn’t realized I could post videos of 10 minutes or less to Instagram’s TV service and it would show up in my regular feed. While I always try to post things to both Twitter and Instagram, I’ve noticed that on Twitter I normally get feedback from my friends and on Instagram I get more feedback from other FPV pilots. Which was why I was excited by the IGTV find because I can post YouTube links on Twitter but not on Instagram. So I was able to put the timelapse motor repair on both YouTube/Twitter and IGTV and it was interesting to see how different the audiences were on both platforms.

Approaching Twitter and Instagram from the point of view of a content creator has been very new to me. I’ve always used both platforms to just share things and interact with friends that I already have, but as I’ve been doing more quadcopter stuff I’ve been trying to use hashtags and things to try and reach a broader audience.

Besides getting a bit better at Instagram, I’ve done a couple of experiments with Twitch streaming. I did two rough test streams and then a longer one where I did about 10 batteries and posted online when I went live. I had a receiver that I could connect to my tablet via an USB cable and then capture and stream the quadcopter camera feed using a Streamlabs app. That all worked better than I expected from a technical standpoint. It even looks like I could add the front facing camera on the table to show me wearing the goggles when I’m flying, but I haven’t tried that yet. I’m not sure about Twitch as a platform for sharing FPV flying though, as I can’t interact with chat while I’m flying. I can try to catch up on messages in between batteries though, which would mean about 3-5 minutes of flying followed by chatting for a couple of minutes and then flying again.

It’s an interesting idea and something I’m going to try again soon, along with doing more videos for Instagram and YouTube.