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Polarizers and ND Filters

As it turns out the goal in SLR aero photography and videography is have the shutter speed about double your frame rate; at 1080/60fps you want a 1/250 shutter speed. Slowing your shutter speed provides a smoother, cinematic look.

There are two way so do this:

  • Polarizers are great for shooting over water as the reduce glare and reflections.
  • Neutral density (ND) filter are also useful as they trick the camera in to thinking that there is less light and therefore slow the shutter speed. PolarPro offers a combo polarizer and ND filter.

Selecting a filter starting point: At dusk or dawn you may want to start with a 4 ND filter that should slow the shutter speed by two stops.  At midday with no clouds  you may want a 32 ND filter that would slow the shutter speed by five stops.

Key Considerations Before Purchase:

  • Buy a filter designed for the platform you own.
  • Make sure it threads on and replaces the UV filter on the camera.  Gimbals are designed for camera weight and balance. If you upset this your gimbal could fail or not work correctly.
  • It should have an aluminum frame.
  • Buy the better quality optics to reduce distortions


Some products that you may want to look at – all designed for the Phantom 4 at PolarPro.com

PolarPro – Cinema Series  Ratable ND4/PL ND8/PL ND16/PL filters, multi-coated $99

PolarPro – Shutter Collection, ND16, ND32, and ND64, multi-coated $99

PolarPro – Filter 3-Pack, Rotatable CP Filter, ND4, ND8 $69





Drone Pilots, Do other aircraft know you are out there?

Do other aircraft know you are out there?

You would think that flying a drone in the middle of a corn field during production would be about as safe as safe can be.  But in reality you can find yourself in the middle of an aerial application rather quickly.  After the corn crop has grown above eye level it can be impossible to see low flying aircraft.  Your responsibility to give way to manned aircraft can become extremely difficult.

So how do you let manned aircraft operations know about your drone activities?

The simple and best way is to file a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) with the FAA.  NOTAMs are published and are included in a pilots briefing. All manned aircraft pilots are required to become familiar with conditions pertaining to their route of flight. Included in that briefing is the UAS Operating Areas section.

Below is a segment of a recent briefing I received:

UAS Operating Areas


It states that there will be UAS operations with in an area defined as 10 NM radius on the 310 radial 20NM Grand Forks VOR-DME and 7NM South West of the Minto Airport. The flights will be from the surface to 9,500 feet above the ground. They will occur daily from 1300 – 2359 Zulu.

With this information a manned aircraft pilot can avoid or plan their trip in such a way that avoids any unnecessary risk of hitting a drone (your drone).  It also limits the risk that you will get a surprise while flying your drone.

In our next post we will share how to create a NOTAM with the FAA and what you need to provide the flight data specialist during your notification. For now find your VFR sectional and ruler marked in (NM) Nautical Miles.