Let’s get it straight…

How often does it happen that you review your drone video, the one where you panned the gimbal up over a beautiful sunrise landscape and then, as the horizon appears it is as tilted as a pinball machine!

Solving the Tilted Horizon

DJI drones, as good as they are, also have this problem. Forget about trying to find a solution on the Internet for this problem. Even the support sites, official and unofficial, don’t have a solution to the problem. If you Google “phantom 4 tilted horizon” you will come across a bunch of Youtube videos and articles, explaining in detail how to calibrate the IMU on a perfect level surface, calibrating the compass and calibrating the gimbal, over and over again.

The truth is, none of that solves the problem. I have done IMU calibrations to the letter, on a perfectly level surface, cool batteries, cool aircraft, no seismic activity in the southern hemisphere, 1000’s of kilometres away from the nearest earth surface fault line and during the lowest solar flare activities in human history. Just joking, but I have tried everything!

There is no solution or fix to the tilted horizon, yet!

tilted-horizon-as-recorded

The image above is a captured frame from a flight I took over the Steenbras River mouth, with False Bay meeting Cape Town and Tygerberg  on the horizon.

tilted-horizon-corrected

In this second image, I have corrected the horizon level with a 2° counter-clockwise rotate, to illustrate the tilt.

Gimbal Roll Offset

Another workaround is Gimbal Roll Offset. You can set this in the DJI GO App settings and level the horizon. The problem is the horizon tilt is not consistent 360° around the compass! It will only be tilted in specific compass direction. When the drone turns away from that direction, it levels out again. You have to put the aircraft into a hover, open the settings, go to the gimbal settings and adjust the roll offset. Most frustrating!

Quick Gimbal Roll Offset Adjustment

Then, by accident, I came across the following little gem, which is the best “solution” or rather, workaround, I have found so far. It is not mentioned in any manual or website I searched. The C2-Hold function. You don’t have to configure anything in the GO app.

When you want to adjust the gimbal roll:

  1. simply hold the C2 button and
  2. turn the Camera Settings Dial/Wheel, on the right/front side of the remote controller, left or right to adjust the gimbal roll clockwise or counter-clockwise.

dhi-rc-c2 dji-rc-cam-wheel

 

As you turn the dial, the GO app will display crosshair lines on the screen which you can use as a guide.

Brilliant!

 

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