Creating VR Missions
Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:16 pm
VR Missions are different from nearly all other types of mission. They are used to create still image Photospheres by taking a photos (typically 17) while rotating around a centre point.
NOTE: This mission only captures images. You will need other software to process them into a photo sphere.
NOTE: If you have a Spark you cannot use this mission. The Spark does not support waypoint missions.
Given the camera on a drone can only point between horizontal and straight down, the sky above is missing from the result, but can be added later in post production, often using a fake sky.
In a VR mission, the drone will fly to a centre point, and then go through several 360 degree Yaw motions, taking photos at regular intervals as it goes, starting with a horizontal gimbal and tilting it further and further down on each rotation. It will finish with a couple of straight down photos.
A VR mission is best done in still conditions. It's difficult for the drone to maintain the exact centre position for long periods, especially when it's windy. If the centre position moves too much, it can impact the quality of the finished photo sphere.
Post processing software such as PT GUI is typically used to create the VR image from the collected imagery. The built in Processing Direct service in Aero Ranger can be used to create finished VR photo spheres.
VR Missions can only be created using JPG or RAW still photos, Video is not supported.
Two steps are required to produce a VR mission:
- Setting the mission objectives
- Define the centre point of the VR mission.
On the Plan screen, move the map close to the area that you would like to view and zoom in to a comfortable level. Don't zoom in too far. While you can zoom and scroll later, it is easier to move the map to roughly where you need it first.
When ready to create the mission, press the round blue + button at the bottom right of the screen to reveal the mission selector strip. Tap on the "VR" button on this strip to start building a VR mission.
Step 1: Mission Objectives
The first step of any mission is the Mission Objectives dialog. This dialog allows you to choose basic settings for the mission and the items on it will adapt to suit the mission type. This will slide in from the right of the screen.
Note that you can exit mission creation by tapping the X at the top left of the objectives dialog. This will cancel new mission creation and retain whatever mission is currently loaded.
In the example above, there are several important settings that you can change, but in many cases the defaults will be suitable
- Camera - The camera should show the drone that you are connected to now, or were last connected to.
- Tap on this section of the dialog to display the camera settings.
- In VR missions only JPG or RAW photos can be taken. If video mode is selected, the camera will automatically be set back to still photo mode at launch.
- Min Safe Alt - this is a critical setting for the entire mission.
- Whatever other settings you choose, no part of the mission can be lower than this altitude.
- It also defines the altitude at which the vertical part of takeoff finishes and the vertical part of landing begins
- Make sure the Min Safe Alt is set well above any obstacles such as tall trees or buildings in your area of operations. The safety of the drone and people and property around you is your responsibility.
- Remember - all altitudes are measured relative to the Home point.
- Flying altitude (above home) - Use this option to simply enter the altitude that the VR sphere will be taken at.
- This must be above the Min Safe Alt (app will enforce this)
- The centre point of the VR will be at this altitude
- Target Speed - this is the speed in m/s that the aircraft will attempt to attain when flying into and out of the mission.
- Most of the mission is conducted in one location, this setting does not greatly impact the duration of the mission.
- If you set this too fast, you may not have time to react in case of an incident where you need to take manual control.
- 5m/s=18km/hr=11.2 miles/hr
- Fly mission waypoints - tells the drone how many times to repeat the mission. The default is 1, but it's recommended you repeat 2 or more times. This is because most DJI drones have a bug whereby photos may not be triggered every time. This can lead to missed shots. In a VR mission, it's important not to have missed shots.
- Fly back along mission after last waypoint - tick this to fly back the way the drone came. Given there are not many waypoints in a VR mission, this option has little effect on the mission
- Review mission after creation - if you tick this on, the app will remain on the Planning page once you have finished creating the mission, if ticked off, it will automatically return to the Fly page, ready for takeoff.
When you are satisfied with the settings, press NEXT at the top right of the screen
Step 2: VR centre point
In this step, you will define the location of the VR mission centre point.
The aircraft will fly to this location then rotate 360 degrees several times to capture all of the required imagery.
Simply tap on the screen at the location where you would like to take the VR imagery.
Once placed, you can drag the icon around using one finger.
The mission will be created at the centre of this icon.
Tip: To zoom in/out and move or rotate the map, you can use regular pinch/zoom or single finger drag gestures on an area of the map away from the VR icon.
Tip: If you have zoomed in too far, finger gestures may not work correctly. In this case, use the - button at the top right of the screen to zoom out one step.
Tap the blue OK button when you are finished.
The mission will be creahttp://forum.aeroranger.com/ the single waypoint created at the centre of the VR mission. The aircraft will fly here to perform the VR mission.
After the mission is created, basic mission statistics are updated in the white strip beneath the map.
In the above case, the mission is 0.7km long, 34 pictures (2 repeats of 17 photos for a standard VR mission), 6:59 mins flight time (estimated), 10 seconds per photo as the camera was set to RAW in this case
Final tips for VR missions:
- You may miss some shots so set the "Fly mission waypoints" setting to 2 to cover the area twice. Due to a bug in most DJI aircraft firmware, it is normal to miss the occasional photo. A VR mission should take 17 photos for each repeat, but may skip the occasional one. Repeating the mission creates more photos to ensure coverage is adequate in the case of missed shots.
- Keep the overlap and side lap settings low for a faster mission and better stitching results.
- You can fly a VR mission with the camera set to JPG or RAW but not Video.
- You will have not manual gimbal control during a VR mission, but it's recommended that you don't touch the gimbal wheel to avoid misalignment of photos
- The drone does not take terrain into account in any mission type. All altitudes are relative to the takeoff point. Please ensure you set the Min Safe Alt high enough to avoid crashing into terrain, buildings, people or infrastructure at any point of the mission. You are responsible for the safety of your equipment and people and property around you.