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lpounds 2010-05-12 06:37 PM

My First Attempts at HD Aerial Photography With an RC Airplane
 
Hi all,

I want to share my newest obsession.

A few months ago I was at a park here in Toronto. I spotted an older guy playing around with a beginner level electric RC airplane. The sight re sparked a dormant desire I have; to try flying RC airplanes.

Not long after buying a beginner level airplane, my Supercub LP (a great beginner if anyone is interested), I started pondering the possibility of throwing a small cheap low quality camera on there and getting some shots from above.

This developed into a full fledged pursuit of high quality aerial photography.

I purchased the amazing Kodak Zi8 and a 2.2 meter wingspan rc electric sailplane (The Parkzone Radian) inside the cockpit of which I mounted the Zi8. The camera and plane combined only cost me around $500 Canadian


Here is my first real attempt at aerial photography:

http://vimeo.com/11075977

I'm not going to embed it so that you are sure to watch it in the best possible resolution. This was shot on the 720p 60fps mode (it even has a 1080p 30fps mode!)

Note: since taking this video I have decided to keep my flying away from highways and busy roads. In retrospect, I could have caused a serious accident.

Let me know what you think. If you like it I will keep posting them here as there will be many more to come.

Into the blue 2010-05-12 06:50 PM

That's the Don Valley Parkway down there, right?

lpounds 2010-05-12 06:52 PM

You got it.

I remember when you were in Toronto. I can't imagine the Don Valley was one of your better memories, though.

Into the blue 2010-05-12 06:57 PM

I've had worse.

I wonder if you could get that sucker under one of the bridges along the river next door?

lpounds 2010-05-12 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Into the blue (Post 1361157)
I've had worse.

I wonder if you could get that sucker under one of the bridges along the river next door?

Probably. It is very easy to control.

The only problem is my level of fear.

My knees are shaking enough as it is having 500 bucks flying around 800 feet above my head.

I would hate to lose that camera and the plane in one fell swoop.

But then again, if I don't risk anything I won't gain much...

siafirede 2010-05-12 08:00 PM

I checked out that Zi8 pocket camera and it looks like a great deal for the price. I might have to pick one up. Do you have any complaints/issues with it, or would you recommend it to others?

lpounds 2010-05-12 08:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by siafirede (Post 1361183)
I checked out that Zi8 pocket camera and it looks like a great deal for the price. I might have to pick one up. Do you have any complaints/issues with it, or would you recommend it to others?

With the Zi8 you have to basically take it for what it is. It pretty much is unanimously the best HD pocket camcorder there is right now.

The picture is quite clear and HQ considering what your shooting from. Some reviews online say it rivals 5000 dollar HD cameras which I think is not true. It is, however, very impressive for its size and price. Totally worth the cost.

Cons:
It adjusts to low light slowly
1080p mode is not so great with movement
because it is light, handheld is hard to keep steady

Pros:
It's the size of an iPhone
Under 200 bucks!!!
no built in memory so you can use an SD card (I use a 16gb one which gives me around 3.5 hours on 1080p 30fps)
It has a 720p 60fps mode which is great for sports and slo mo.
Did I mention it is an HD camera for under 200 bucks. (buy from Amazon)


Pick one up, you won't regret it. I can't count the number of times I've busted this thing out on the street because something cool was going down. No longer will these spur of the moment shots be bad quality because I'm using a cell phone camera.

Oh, and don't forget that having a pocket HD camera will allow you to take stunning shots while touring unsupported. This thing weighs less than my iPhone.

It's only a matter of time before I catch something internet meme worthy!

siafirede 2010-05-12 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lpounds (Post 1361191)

It's only a matter of time before I catch something internet meme worthy!

Like a unicyclist riding on the street! =]

Thanks for the info, I think I'm gonna have to order one soon, I can see myself bringing it in my camelbak on some rides out here.

Do you use any special video editing software or just whatever comes with it?

juggleaddict 2010-05-12 08:35 PM

it's ok, they're too busy worried about the unicycle on the road to worry about airplanes ; )

I was thinking more about restricted airspace!! : O in Atlanta at least, helicopters are flying that low all the time, and you have to have special permission to fly within the city. I don't know what laws are about these planes, but it couldn't be a good thing for a helicopter to make contact with an RC plane

Biggestbtc 2010-05-12 10:37 PM

I just want to say: that's cool.

DSchmitt 2010-05-12 10:51 PM

that's amazing!


i have the kodak zi8 as well, and use it for all my unicycling videos now , and absolutely love it. such an amazing picture for only $170

have you downloaded the new firmware for it? that fixes a few things on it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by siafirede (Post 1361201)
Like a unicyclist riding on the street! =]

Thanks for the info, I think I'm gonna have to order one soon, I can see myself bringing it in my camelbak on some rides out here.

Do you use any special video editing software or just whatever comes with it?

you gotta have a video editor that can support h.264. i bought powerdirector. apples isuite or whatever works with it

ezas 2010-05-13 02:27 AM

Vid was great, just need to edit out the climbs. I like the rush of the wind noise while you were gliding.

How about a picture of how the camera looks loaded in the plane.

EoinC 2010-05-13 03:31 AM

That was great. It's something I attempted back in the 1980's with a time delay on an old Retina IIC still camera, but the weight was too much for the glider.

Good job - Plenty more to come, I hope.

Cheers,
Eoin

Jerrick 2010-05-13 07:05 AM

This would be fun to incorporate with a unicycle video. Overhead shots passing by someone on a coker, or capturing someone blasting down an open muni trail.

munirocks 2010-05-13 08:56 AM

Wow that was cool! Nice to see some Toronto areal views. Now if you could somehow have the video transmitted to your laptop in real time that would be great, wouldn't it?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jerrick (Post 1361325)
This would be fun to incorporate with a unicycle video. Overhead shots passing by someone on a coker, or capturing someone blasting down an open muni trail.

That's what I thought too. Maybe a helicopter would be better, though but it would be hard to not have the camera vibrating like mad. But I like the idea. Maybe I'll get myself one of those cameras too.


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