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Thanks to everyone who been beta testing our Panorama app and providing feedback. We’ve received a lot of questions about how the app actually works so I wanted to share some initial thoughts:

1. Right now the app only works with the Inspire 1. What happens is when you get to your hovering altitude you click the “Start Panorama” button. The iPad will will then direct the camera gimbal to take 48 photos. 4 rows of 12 photos at 30 degree increments. After it finishes the first 12 it will reset the gimbal forward, pitch down 30 degrees, and take another set of 12 photos. It’s likely we only need to do this in 3 loops, but we’re doing 4 just to make sure the stitch covers 90 degrees down. We’re looking into the possibility of supporting the Phantom 3, but we’ll have to yaw the craft instead of the gimbal, which could lead to less accurate results.

2. Because the app is in early stage development we recommend starting off with the DJI Pilot app and ascending to the desired altitude. Once your Inspire 1 is at this altitude click the home button on the iPad to background the Pilot app. Then launch our app (right now it’s called DroneControl) and make sure your gimbal is pointed straight forward. There is a reset button in the app that will do this automatically for you. Then click the “Start Panorama” button.

3. It takes 3-4 minutes to capture the 48 photos with photos being taken every 3-4 seconds. We’re experimenting with lowering this interval but don’t want to run into cases where the gimbal is rotating while the photo is being taken, which could lead to blur.

4. One other tip we recommend is before you start the panorama to use the Pilot app to make sure your landing gear don’t show up in any of the photos. This is really an issue on windy days where the I1 is fighting against the wind and rolling or pitching to compensate. What we do right now is configure C1 on the transmitter to toggle gimbal control between pitch and yaw and configuring C2 to reset the yaw back to center. After you’ve panned around the landscape to make sure you don’t see the I1 landing gear you can background the Pilot app and launch DroneControl.

5. We have features planned so that you don’t need to mess with the Pilot app at all. But right now it’s safest to use it to verify everything looks okay before launching DroneControl and starting your Panorama. Right now we want to make sure the Panorama logic is dialed in before messing with anything else.

6. Most importantly, we’re waiting approval for Apple so that we can have beta testers a la TestFlight. Right now we’ve been having testers send us their UDIDs and it’s been a hassle to manage. TestFlight is the way to go and it will make receiving beta updates a breeze. Unfortunately we’ll need to wait until they approve us before we can proceed. Hopefully in the next day or two.

That’s it for now and we’ll post updates as we get more feedback. Thanks for the interest in this product and we hope it adds value to your drone toolkit. Here is a sample of a recent pano from the Port Aransas Skatepark:

[pano file=”http://www.unmannedairlines.com/dev/panoramas/porta/index.html”]