The great thing about unmanned aircraft is that you can take them to normally inaccessible places and get images back down to the ground instantaneously. But what happens when you need to show those live images to someone at the other end of the country or maybe the other side of the world?
Here at Heliguy we've be trying out a simple but effective solution that allows you to beam your drone shots live anywhere on the globe. There's no need to delay things by downloading video from a memory card and then e-mailing it over. With a tiny piece of extra kit you can send your images live over the web and have a conversation with the person you're sending them to while you're still in the air - a remote view.
So imagine you're flying your DJI Inspire 1
near a wind turbine or over a church roof and you want to link up with a specialist engineer or an architect. By connecting the HDMI output of your controller to a laptop via an HDMI to USB converter, you can connect to people via a specialist video conferencing service or even via Skype. If you wear a mic and headset you can talk to your experts and they can tell you if they want you to get a different angle or some higher resolution stills. In this set up the HDMI lead only carries video, leaving the audio channel free to carry your voice.
Depriving your expert of a nice little day trip
There are a few provisos. You'll need a computer with a fast processor and a good 4G signal to get decent pictures onto the web. They may not always be perfect but they are live. Top quality video or stills recorded onboard can always be sent later. The only downside, as far as we can tell, is that you'd be depriving your expert or your office-bound manager of a nice little day trip.
You can even provide this service with a DJI Phantom 3
. With just a small adaptation an HDMI output can be added to the remote controller. The Phantom 3 already has the capability of beaming video live to YouTube but with this system the pictures can go to just one person rather than the whole world. It can also go simultaneously to a team of people in different locations. So, for example, you may have a specialist engineer in California, an equipment manufacturer in Germany, a regional manager in Scotland and a business manager in London. All of them can see the pictures from your drone and all of them can talk to you and to each other.
The DJI Inspire Pro's X5 camera and HDMI-USB converter
The HDMI-USB converter that we've been trialling for this remote view option is USB powered so it just needs an HDMI cable from the controller to the converter and a USB between the converter and the computer. Other types of converters are available - some need a separate power supply and others haven't had as favourable reviews as the one we chose.
Inspire 1 Pro controller connected to a laptop