The top of a roller coaster

DJI Spark manual gimbal control in flight | Drone Video

DJI Spark operator controls

The top of a roller coaster

 One of the challenges of operating the DJI Spark is keeping a quick-moving object in the center of the frame. Since the Spark camera sensor is mounted on a 2-axis gimbal, the yaw axis must be used for lateral camera control along the horizontal plane.

For control on the vertical plane, there are 2 options: A push button selector that will notch the angle up and down at pre-set levels, and the tilt control with will use the mobile device for angle-of-attack. The latter will provide you with a more fluid visual at the cost of stability – depending on how well you can keep controller still.

Flight Log

My flight log onbtue Spark

While I don’t have much flight time logged, I was curious as to how well a novice operator could incorporate the yaw axis control and the manual vertical gimbal control simultaneously. I’ve had the Spark for 5 days and I am still trying to figure everything out. The toughest part about this test was finding a subject that would move at a high rate of speed on the vertical and horizontal plane. After contemplating this, I realized that I happen to be a season-pass holder at a local theme park in Farmington, Utah. The name of the park is Lagoon, and the feature I chose is named Wicked.

The Setup

I am using an iPad Mini4 in Wi-Fi mode with collision avoidance and beginner mode off for the highest rate of speed that is possible without the controller…which I am still waiting for DJI to ship to me. The Spark was not in the park proper. I was in the parking lot for safety reasons. The wind was nominal, I had 14 NAVSTAR birds on the HUD and an excellent WI-FI signal.

The Video

In the following video, I have the unedited binary as I recorded it from the drone. Then it repeats with some edits containing cuts and augmented visuals in reduced speed on some of the more interesting moments.


Also published on Medium.

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