Note: Please ignore the quality of my example drone footage . . . it’s the only flight I had on my iPhone where I hit record before I took off! I will update with a better quality one, lol
Adding telemetry data to your drone flight videos needn’t be a daunting process, follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be able to produce your first insightful video within an hour.
. . . start the timers please!
What you’ll need:
- A PC (I’m sure you can do the process on a Mac, but I haven’t personally tried)
- A suitable flight record on your DJI GO app (technically possible to use other drones but again, I’ve not personally explored this)
- Video recorded from when you took off to the moment you landed
- Note: For reasons I will explain later, you need to add an audio track to your video before you use
- Corresponding ‘Flight Record’ on your DJI GO app
- Internet access
- A spare hour (once you’ve got your template set up, you’ll have future flight videos processed within 15 minutes)
First thing is first, we need to get the required files onto your PC, these being the video footage and the corresponding flight plan.
Let’s start with the easiest part . . . the video.
Hopefully by now you are more than comfortable with transferring the HD video from the DJI drone / SD Card over to your PC. If not, simply take the SD card out of the drone, place it in an adaptor (if required) and plug into your PC. Once the storage device has been recognised you will be prompted to view the files contained within the new drive. Simply locate the video of the flight you would like to add telemetry data too and copy across to your PC.
Note: Once the video has successfully been copied over feel free to remove the SD card and place back into your drone.
. . . sorted!
And now for the tricky part . . . getting your flight data.
Currently exporting the flight data from within the App on your smartphone only provides limited data, so we need to dig around a little more.
I have an iPhone . . . so here is the process I would follow.
- Connect the iPhone to the PC via the USB / Lightning cable
- Load up iTunes (if it doesn’t automatically load)
- Select to view your iPhone storage
- Select the ‘File Sharing’ menu item
- Select the DJI GO 4 App
- Select the ‘FlightRecords’ folder
- Scroll to the bottom of the iTunes window and press ‘Save to…’
- Select the same folder location you saved the video file earlier and press ‘Select Folder’
- Wait a few seconds whilst your entire flight history is copied to your PC
- Close iTunes and unplug your phone
Note: If you are using an Android device I presume you can just browse the file structure by connecting to your PC without the need to go through the convoluted iTunes route
Now it’s time to reformat your flight data
So, currently we’ve got the video file you’d like to add telemetry data too and also have your entire flight record on your PC . . . next step is to locate the correct flight data and reformat (don’t worry, you’ve already done the hard part).
If you view the folder you copied across your ‘FlightRecords’ too earlier it will look something like the following:
Each file is a complete data file of a flight you have completed. Luckily the date / time are included in the filename so locating the data you need is easy.
Note: Don’t try and open / view these files, its encrypted, un-formatted and will turn you cross eyed
Instead, find the file corresponding to the flight you would like to add telemetry data too and copy it to a location you can easily find later (or just rename it, up to you really).
Next step is to get this flight record in a suitable format . . . luckily there are ways to make this easy.
The easiest (and FREE) way I use to reformat my flight record is to make use of https://airdata.com/
Head on over to the website and register for a FREE account.
Once you have registered, validated your email address and logged in simply view the following page:
On the right you will see an area where you can drag and drop your DJI flight records (the file you moved / renamed earlier).
Once you have dragged (or selected) the file you will have a screen like the following:
Once you are sure you have the right flight plan selected hit the ‘UPLOAD FLIGHTS’ button.
After a few moments your flight record will be uploaded and you will be presented with a screen that contains a load of information about your flight:
Feel free to have a nosey around this dashboard . . . it’s pretty interesting . . . but all I need you to do is hit the “Download CSV” option and save the file to a location on your PC.
Note: This is a reformatted flight log we can use to add telemetry data to your flight video. 36 fields of glorious data formatted for your viewing pleasure.
Time to get some FREE software
For this step we need to get some free software which lets you overlay telemetry data over the footage captured from your drone.
I recommend you download Dashware via the following link – http://www.dashware.net/dashware-download/
Once the free software has downloaded simply go through the installation process
Once the software has installed successfully, launch the programme
. . . don’t worry, we are nearly there.
When you first load DashWare your screen will look similar to the following:
First step is to create a new project . . . to do this Select File > New Project
I’d recommend setting the ‘Project Template’ to ‘UAV Template’ for now.
Once you are happy with the project name and the template choice select ‘OK’
. . . now its time to add your video file.
On the right hand side of the screen you will see an area labelled ‘Input Settings’
Select the + sign against the ‘Video’ tag
Browse to the drone flight video you saved earlier (the one you would like to add telemetry data to) and select ‘Open’
Note: You will now see your chosen video file load on the left hand side of the screen
Next, select the + sign against the ‘Data File’ tag
Once you do this you will be presented with the following:
Select ‘Browse’ and select the .CSV file you downloaded from AirData website earlier.
Next make sure you have selected ‘Flytrex’ from the ‘Choose a data profile’ option
Once you are happy, press ‘Add’
We’ve now got the video file and flight data loaded in . . . one step closer
Syncing the video and telemetry data
It’s unlikely that you would have started to record a video feed and your flight at exactly the same moment in time, so we need to sync the two together to make sure that the information is displayed at the right moment in time over the video.
You would have probably noticed that some basic telemetry data gauges have been overlaid upon your video already, this is based on the template you selected earlier (over time you will create your own template so you don’t have to create from scratch each time).
Although the gauges are in place, they will, more than likely not be in sync with your footage.
Press PLAY and watch . . .
On my example, the drone ascended a couple of feet way before I notice the altitude change on the sliding scale . . .
So let’s sync the video and telemetry data up.
There are several ways you can do this, but to keep things easy by just covering one method in this guide.
Firstly rewind your video to the start and then drag the slider right . . . slowly . . . until you first notice your drone start to take off . . . (you can also hit play and then hit pause as soon as you see movement)
Next select the ‘Synchronization’ tab on the top right of the screen
At the bottom you will see a box ticked labelled “Sync with Video” . . . untick this for now
Once you have unticked this box drag the slider above left and right until you find the exact moment your drone starts to ascend . . . you can tell this by looking at the altitude slider on the video feed
It takes a little bit of playing around, but once you are happy that both your video footage and telemetry data are synced, tick the box again
You can now rewind your video window and press the play button again . . . hopefully you will notice the altitude and speed changing to match your flight video . . . if not, untick the ‘Sync with Video’ option again, tweak the settings and tick the button again.
Like I said, takes a little bit of playing around . . . but its worth spending a little bit of time to make this spot on.
Customising your own Gauges
Once you are happy that your video and data is synced the fun can begin . . . adding your own gauges.
By now you’ve probably noticed the ‘Gauges Toolbox’ tab at the top of the screen
Select this and you will be presented with a huge gallery of options you can add to your video.
Simply drag them over your video and try them out . . . this bit is all about personal preference.
After a bit of playing you’ll probably end up with something like this:
Note: It is possible to completely customise your gauges and even create your own based on a huge range of telemetry data available . . . however, I don’t want to further complicate things at this stage.
It’s time to save
Firstly, if you’ve created a ‘look’ you’d like to use in the future then we should first save this as a template.
Hit ‘File’ and select ‘Save Project As Template’
Call the template whatever you like and in future (you can use this rather than the ‘UAV Template’ we used earlier)
Next, let’s render your newly created video file.
Select ‘File’ again and this time press ‘Create Video’
Select where you would like the video saved and then press ‘Create Video’
Note: : Some people report that they receive an ‘ERROR’ when you attempt to ‘Create Video’. Apparently DashWare are working on a fix, but the error is down to there not being any audio on your import file. Simply use any free video editing software (E.G Movie Maker) and add an audio track to the video before you import into DashWare.
. . . and that’s your lot! I hope you find this article helpful. There are tonnes of additional settings and options you have, but for now, this should get you up and running!