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 Post subject: Aerial Photography
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:02 pm 
Hi and happy holidays to you all.
Gordon suggested I post this here:

I fly RC electric planes and need to shoot subjects below as I fly about 60 to 100 feet up, maybe up to 150 feet or so, and get good detail without weighing the plane down too much as I do so. 5 to 7 lb airplanes with very large wings, flying slowly. I'll use an FPV (first person video) setup with a camera mounted on the plane pointing straight ahead and transmitting a signal back to my receiver enabling me to fly my planes, using video goggles to see where I'm flying. Flying distance from me within a mile. I'll be shooting airplanes and crowds at our Flying Circus (flyingcircusairshow.com) for promotional purposes, and by the way, please come to our show any Sunday, May through October as my guest with as many guests as you care to bring along. Any time!
Also, thinking seriously of taking visuals of local houses, hangers, commercial sites, buildings and churches, etc. here in VA from the air for realtors that they can use as marketing tools and owners as displays. These will be videos as I circle the properties with the camera mounted securely to the side of the airplane in an area where nothing would be in the field of focus (such as landing gear, etc.) to obstruct or distract the focusing mechanism of the camera.
There are a lot of good choices right now and I'm overwhelmed. The new image stabilizer capability is something I surely would want.
This looked like a really good one: Panasonic PV-GS83 or 85. The size and weight are exactly right, so, along these lines. I really would like to keep the price under 300.00 US dollars if possible.
Thank you tremendously for your time and opinions and your hard work in this area to everyone!

Sincerely,

:D


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:56 pm 
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Hi Chris, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

I must admit, I've always wanted to attach a camera of some description to an RC aeroplane, but I'm afraid I have no experience of doing so. But some of our work and tests could still be useful.

First things first though - while I am a minor camcorder enthusiast, I don't test them professionally, so can't give you any definitive buying advice. That said, I do personally rate models by Panasonic, Canon and Sony to name three.

Stabilisation on camcorders does work well against human shakes, although I'm not sure how well they'd iron out vibrations from an aircraft. You may have to do some tests there.

If weight is a major issue, you may wish to consider using the movie mode on a digital still camera. It won't look as good as a proper camcorder, but could give you lots of flexibility.

I've posted this link before, but still love this video taken over Lake Powell using a Pentax Optio digicam mounted on an RC plane. See:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z9dJYkpesE

Video quality on still cameras has also improved since then on the best models. Most of Panasonic's models even record uncropped 16:9 video.

If you like the idea of recording onto memory cards using a lightweight camera, you could still go down a high quality camcorder route though. Many new models dispense with tape and record direct to cards.

Then again if you're worried about damaging the camera, maybe a budget tape-based camcorder is the way to go.

Not sure I've been that much help there, but please do come back with any other Qs - and I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd like to see photos of your plane with the camera kit attached - and maybe also some video posted on youtube too!

Gordon

PS - on a slightly off-topic note, if you like RC aircraft, check this out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Iy2NeLN1bM

My only complaint is that it didn't land on a model aircraft carrier!


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 Post subject: RC photography
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:07 am 
Thanks, Gordon.

Well, I've got to give it to the guy flying a 325.00 camera on a flimsy airplane, over water! He certainly has courage, money or something. The plane was on floats, though. That's some consolation. That's a nice camera, though. Very nice. I have that same plane that I fly in small parks (it's a very light plane) and once, I snapped the wing in two in a stiff breeze a couple of years ago from a hundred feet up - yup - straight in. I fixed that problem by running a 3/8" dowell full length on the wing, laced together with string and epoxy in the center to give it proper dihedral - no more crashes from that one. I can only hope he's done something similar. That being said, I'm not planning on putting an expensive camera on that ship at all. No, my intended camera platforms are easily capable of carrying a pound or two of gear, 60 glow size airplanes/aeroplanes/aircraft :D , that I converted to electric power so they are vibration free and almost silent.
The only video on the Panasonic PV-G583 that I could find on YouTube is this one: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... &plindex=0
and he's using macro for the most part which doesn't help me much. Good camera, though. I'll keep checking around and will absolutely post my setup and videos on YouTube when I get them done. I'm not buying anything till after Christmas, though, when prices drop since I need so much all at once. :roll:
On that Tomcat video, your airplanes are bigger over there than here. Our ruling body, AMA, insists that we keep them under 100 lbs. I think in Europe, anything goes!

Later,


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:26 am 
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Hi Chris,

That's a fascinating pastime you are into. Like Gordon I'm not into camcorders but I am interested in the image stabilisation aspect of what you are proposing. Obviously electric propulsion will be a great help in reducing vibration and it's my guess that there will be little else you can do within your weight budget to mount the camera in such a way as to reduce vibration much more.

My question relates to post-processing. Have you considered software which can take the video frame by frame and smooth out short period vibration? To explain what I mean, assume the camera is panning right to left across a scene as the aircraft turns with the result that the x-coordinate of a picture element follows the sequence

10 22 29 37 50 62 71 79 90 instead of
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90

It is possible for software to detect the time averaged motion (10 pixels per frame in this example) and correct the picture, albeit at the loss of a few pixels resolution at the edges of the video.

If you are running MacOS then iStabilize would seem to be a candidate at around $70 whilst for Windows SteadyHand looks very interesting and costs a similar amount (there's a nice AVI demo of SteadyHand here).

I guess the potential "gotcha" with these programs, as with built in camcorder stabilisation, is whether the stabilisation can be tuned to the much higher frequency shake transmitted from the aircraft compared to usual hand-held shake. If such software stabilisation does the job then that might widen your choice of camcorder, possibly allowing you to go for lighter models.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:36 pm 
(there's a nice AVI demo of SteadyHand here).

Oh, gee, Bob, that's nice. What a great idea! Got to run to work.

Later, thanks 8)


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 Post subject: Nice video
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:46 pm 
Well friends, here's the idea, and from your side of the pond. This is pretty much what I'm going for, just some refinements in several areas are needed, but the main thrust of the idea is right on, - one camera for flying and a much better one for the video.
Cheers

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... &plindex=1


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:03 pm 
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Hi Chris,

Thanks for sharing the link. I'm not sure whether to be more impressed by the model's RoC or the wireless video's range and lack of picture break-up.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:47 pm 
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Hey if that guy's plane can take the weight of an EOS 400D, it's only one small step to put a 40D on there with the WFT-E3 wireless transmitter!

(ok, quite a big step, but work with me!)

Imagine seeing the live view from the DSLR wirelessly transmitted to your laptop, where you could remotely trigger the shots! And with nothing inbetween the plane and the ground, the range could be a few hundred feet too, although I guess that's perhaps not sufficient for any serious work...


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