Creating a Construction Progression Video

I was pretty excited earlier this summer when our local school approached me about documenting the build process for a new handicapped accessible program.  The school's PTO had raised funds to build the playground, which would be an absolutely huge improvement over the current equipment that had been installed over 25 years ago. 

To build this construction progression video, I planned on creating a waypoint flight route in Litchi.  For those not familiar with Litchi, it is a third-party application that adds quite a few abilities to your DJI drone.  One of those abilities is making it able to build a "waypoint mission" by providing a sequence of coordinates and altitudes for the drone to fly.  I had used Litchi with my Phantom 3, but at the time that this project had started, Litchi had not yet released a version that supported the Phantom 4 v2.0.  Fortunately, I was able to sign up for a beta program and was able to use their beta software release to build this mission with my new drone.  Following instructions that I found in a YouTube video about Litchi waypoint missions, I built my map:

The plan was to have the drone fly this programmed route first before any construction was begun, then at various times during the build, and finally at the end of construction.  This resulted in a collection of eleven flights.  Each flight lasted about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  Therefore, if I wanted to display equal parts of each progression video, then each video segment should last about fourteen seconds (150 seconds / 11 video clips = ~13.6 seconds per clip).

In post production, I used iMovie to split the clips up and add a bit of a "blur" transition between each.  Here is the result:

So, what do you think?  Anywhere that I could have made an improvement?  One thing that I would reconsider is the timing of the flights.  I think I should have tried to take fewer flights, but do them at the same time of day so that the shadows would be identical throughout the flights.  I also could have modified the flight route a bit so that the camera remained focused on the main build area.  When I first built the waypoint mission, I wasn't sure where exactly the majority of the construction would take place, so I tried to cover as much of the area as I could.

I can certainly see how this type of video can be helpful to document construction progress.  Hopefully years from now, the volunteers who built the playground will be able to look back at this video to see just how much they accomplished!

Michael ShanafeltComment