Blog

Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

Aerial Video: Drone does snow

About a month ago I went and picked up a second battery for my DJI Phantom 2. Since October most of my shoots were short enough that I was able to capture what I needed with the life span of a single battery. I made the trek through Boston on the day we were getting pounded with a snow storm. I needed to get the battery as I was contacted and asked if I could capture aerial video for the marketing department of a Massachusetts based ski resort. We were to get a 24-48 hr snow storm and I was requested to be up on the mountain the day it stopped snowing. With some mismanagement on the part of the "would be client," I never shot anything for them. One word, "burned." Enough about that matter...

Aerial Still from the short.

We had an incredibly beautiful day following the snow storm. I was eager to get to a location that I knew would be just incredible with the right sunlight. I put my ski pants on one foot at a time, suited up in multiple layers, from a shell to an under jacket, to stay warm. I grabbed my Phantom 2, both batteries, my Gopro and drove to a location that I had been thinking about since the first snow flakes of the 2015 winter season fell. I chose two spots to focus on. Following about 14 minutes of filming I began a trek to the second spot within the location. I found a nice spot, cleared a take off spot, replaced the battery and powered up. 

I noticed something a little "off." After setting the gps, connecting to the satellites and getting the green light to go I set the throttles into position to take flight. Nothing happened. I let go of the sticks and tried again. Nothing. I took my hat off, exposing my head to the cold, and scratched my scalp saying WTF? I was in the right spot at the right time. Literally. I could not have planned a better trip. I could not have asked for better conditions. I could not have desired anything more perfect for what I wanted to capture. The only problem, the only unforeseeable component that I could not calculate,  technical difficulty. Welp, cant fly. Can't get it in the sky. There was not little blue pill to get this thing up. I was let down, very let down. I began the walk through the 2 feet of snow, head down, quadcopter in one hand and half a project in the other. 

Over the next couple of weeks I spoke with tech support on the DJI side of things and the store that I bought the battery from. No one had any clue. No one had any idea why this was happening. With my schedule I was unable to get myself to the store until a week ago. The guy behind the counter tried 3 batteries. Nothing. Still the same thing. Would turn on but not fly. Replacing the battery didnt seem like it was going to be an option. The old battery worked just fine. Odd issue to have, ehh? The man behind the counter was eager to do the latest firmware update. After a few minutes the update was installed and we were ready to try again. I was able to get off the ground. It seems that the little blue pill came in the form of a firmware update. There was no trouble with lift off. Success!

Please take note: 

In order to operate my Dji Phantom 2 with a brand new battery I needed to do the firmware update. The battery came ready to fly with the update or for the latest V2 Dji Phantom 2. The guy at the store had never seen this issue before. It was a guess that the firmware update would correct the issue, and it did. 

Even though I was unable to complete the intended project I was still able to capture some stellar footage and have some stock video for a future project I am working on. I have compiled a short of the footage, which you can watch below.