RunRyder RC Community and Forums
›› Helicopter
››› Aerial Photography and Video (
›››› need help flyboy/palrotor (
Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-07-2003 03:40 AM:
seriously interested in getting into ariel photography..

with all of you guys experiences up to now .

where would you start, and what would you by???

i would like to take pictures but also be able to see from the heli the "frame" or picture i want to take. while on the ground..
also want to know what kinds of hard ware you would get.. i want to be able to download the pics to my laptop..

thanx for all the info and replys.

basically i would like to know what setup you would by {complete} and from where????and what all do i need for a complete setup??

have read a couple of threads on a "glasses"viewer so you can fly and see the video pic at the same time .. but where is the best buy for the money and what all equipment will i need in addition??/

please be specific if possible

and thanx to any and all replys


thank you michael millikin.
Posted by flyboy on 09-10-2003 06:59 PM:
A little short on time at the moment. The strongest advice that I can give you is to search around this forum. There is more information and talent here on the forum than words can describe.

I would also strongly suggest visiting as they make a turn key system that could have you shooting jaw dropping amazing video and stills the day that you recieve the system.

There are many other systems out there, but none,in my humble opinion, as simple and straight forward as the airfoil system.

Money well spent.

Drop me a PM with questions as they arise. When I have some more free time I would love to help you any way that I can.

Thanks, Flyboy

Posted by flyboy on 09-10-2003 10:23 PM:
If ya can't afford insurance, then why are ya plugging Craig's 25K system?

If you won't tell us what kind of camera ship that you fly, let alone your name or ANY OTHER THING IN YOUR PROFILE, why would you ever expect anyone else to share with you?

Thanks, Flyboy

Posted by MPA on 09-10-2003 11:27 PM:
Who killed who
Posted by HawkEye SkyCam on 09-11-2003 04:54 AM:
I agree with flyboy your best advice is to search this thread on all the differnet systems out there. Thats how I made my mind up.

I noticed a lot of systems had a lot of problems, and some would shoot still shots but not video,I wanted a system that would do both. What made me lean towards the airfoil system is watching the guys that actually shot pictures, and video and post them for us to see. I noticed how helpful John is with anyones problems, and he's always on the cutting edge. Thats the kind of company I want to work with.

I have two of airfoils GS systems and just added the electric voyager 50 to my business. I've been operating all three systems and have had no problems at all.

A little bit of advice about this site. I noticed that there are a few people on here that I bet don't even know how to fly a helicopter, and are very negative towards airfoil because his system kicks butt and it doesn't cost $20,000 to get started. I would recomend that you listen to the people that actually post and who try to help. Instead of the ones that sit there with nothing but negative feedback.

A good example is Timber/Cowboy ,its kind of funny but his last post as Cowboy was 08/23/03 and his first post as TImber was 08/21/03.
It would be nice if they would find some other place to play, but he will just come back with a new name so your only defense is don't listen to the negative feedback. This site is suppose to be a positive tool to make our product better.
Posted by Angelos on 09-11-2003 10:08 AM:
you may also convert a Raptor 60 like I did. I have published some photos and a link to the CAD drawings of my camera mount here:

I use it with a Canon Powershot G3 and I am very pleased. At the moment I am trying to master a technique of making aerial panoramic photos but keep making mistakes. Here is the result of the latest attempt:

More info on my camera mount here:
Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-11-2003 01:18 PM:
thanx for the reply
and usually dont pay attention to the "strange" ones

or if their not useful,,
but really appreaciatte all the replys.
Posted by AirShot on 09-12-2003 02:23 AM:
Take a look at I really like his system and have been flying with it for a while. There are more and more out there to choose from, but you have been pointed as previously posted is several good directions.

I will help in anyway that I can as well. Although the guys you've mentioned have alot more experience than I do!

Posted by StableHover on 09-13-2003 01:51 PM:
You'll need a heli as a camera platform (preferable 60 size), a video downlink system to transmit realtime images to the ground and 2 operators (pilot and camera).

The camera can be either mounted below the heli or in front of it. You can find both camera mounts on the Internet.

For camera mounts that attaches the camera to the bottom of your heli, simply replace the your whole heli skid (may need modifications) with the mount. It comes with servos that pan and tilt the mount. Some of them are gyro stabilized (more expensive). For camera that is mounted in front of the heli, you'll need to buy these custom made bird for the job. The choice is yours.

To see images on the fly, simply connect your onboard digital camera / video camera to the video downlink transmitter. On the ground, plug the video downlink receiver to a video camera and use its LCD screen to watch the received images. Thats it and you're ready for action.

You'll need 2 operators - a pilot to fly the heli and cameraman to operate the pan / tilt of the mount and take pictures.
Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-13-2003 08:28 PM:
i really appreciatte all the replys and suggestions,,

so far heres what i've got

the black widow trans/reciever
should have a cv-1 unit by tuesday
also after talking on another post {about zoom/mega pix}
went out today and got a minolta "dimage' 5.2mgpx 7xop zoom 2x digizoom,, and 256mg card
the reason for the new camera was explained to me about the quality of the pics / resolution.. for example if i want to "blow-up" the pics to large sizes that i would need more megapix's to get really good pictures off the shots..

my next step is figuring out where/how to mount the camera which is where the suggestions have been coming from lately{quite timely}

so these are my latest questions,,

what options such as pan/tilt ect... are nessesary ??
and why.
let me explain a little better,,,,, i dont know what direction pan is.

if you mounted the camera to be able to move from facing out the front of the heli to where it could move downward till it was perpindicular.towards the ground.

would you really need different movements in addition and which ones are/would be more important to have ??

also do ya'll think i'll need any other items to be flight ready after this??

thanks again michael

oh and ps its a ys 61 flying the ship.
Posted by Angelos on 09-13-2003 08:58 PM:

I find the FMA co-pilot very useful. When the heli is very high up it is hard to see if it is rolled left or right and it is not easy to negotiate the position with the camera operator either. The co-pilot does a good job.

Regarding your PM, I made the camera mount myself. See my last post at this thread which explains where to download the CAD files and there is a link to another thread where I have pictures of how I cut the carbon.

The mount does a good job with vibration absorption. There are 3 layers of vibration dumping. (1) The camera base is suspended on gyro foam. (2) There are rubber dumpers between the U mount and the vertical (pan) shaft. (3)Also there is provision for dumpers between the inner and outer frames of the pan mechanics. I usually take photos at 1/1000 shutter speed and ISO100 emulation unless I am forced to use a lower speed. Here are the results:

Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-13-2003 09:07 PM:
thanx for the reply
and i guess now i'll ahve to consider a fma copilot except for one problem,,

i dont think they make one yet for eccpm...

doggonit ,, but i definitely under stand your point about the roll /tilt when she's way up there..
have some vid glasses coming in soon think they'll work / help
instead of a copilot??/
Posted by PAL-rotor on 09-17-2003 04:09 AM:
co-pilot and glasses = useful combination. November aparently for cpm co-pilot.

How's you'r project shaping up?

Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-17-2003 12:21 PM:
already have camera,
have the black widow unit,

getting jerked around by micro optical,,
wired them the money for the cv-1 unit last thurs.. they told me when they received the money transfer they'd mail them out,,
their bank received the money thurs afternoon..
yesterday soraya said they still hadnt recieved the transfer,,

did a tracking and called them back with the #'s and the proof and date it was dep,,
theyre reply was the bank didnt let them know the dep was there,,

well i requested to have it next day aired {wiould go out today} and be here fri,,,she said she would have to check on that,, and then i reminded her that the mistake was on there end and im the customer that was told if it was wired, i'd have it be tues at the latest,,
hopefully she/they will try to keep me happy =simply try to fix the error on their side. not make me wait till the beginning of next week to recieve a product i payed to have in three days, and recieve it 12 days later ,,

go to go
Posted by PAL-rotor on 09-17-2003 02:54 PM:
Hmm, good luck, in my experience this is not the most customer oriented company in the world - however I couldn't be more pleased with the product. I wish for their sake they'd sort it out.

Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-19-2003 02:26 AM:
they did next day aired it recieved it this morn... boy is it sweet!!!!!

now just to finish the ship/mounting the camera and the rest of the goodies!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by AirShot on 09-22-2003 02:15 AM:
What is the CV-1 from Micro Optical that you are talking about?

Just curious!

Posted by michaelmillikin on 09-22-2003 02:21 AM:
cv-1 from micro optical
its like those glasses,, you can see out the lense of the camera live,,
except theirs a small screen infront of the glasses to look at instead of the whole / not see through glasses that are out their..

on one of julians other posts he's got acouple of shots using them and i think his gallery has some pics also..

yes airshot.... those are the ones..and one more thing $$$darn
Posted by PAL-rotor on 09-30-2003 11:11 AM:
michaelmillikin wrote on 09-30-2003 01:36 AM:
went ahead and wired a mirco switch to a micro servo to do the job..
but thanx for the suggestions..and reply,,
possibly down the road i might try the "wire hook-up" you suggested..

finished building tonight.. all servos/camer /equip frame/engine/tail body ect....

next to start on the body work//i.e. sanding/filling/primer ect...

so far it's going great


ps wired a servo to retract the camera fully into the body/ then using a switch on the trans. moves to straight down , and then to a forward view..// meanwhile the bay doors open when the camera goes down and close when its recessed..

going to be an awesome heli!!..
Michael, this may be of benefit to others so might as well have it here.

SERVO & MICROSWITCH = completely pragmatic intelligent solution.
if it works, no need to fix. The one remaining advantage of the little electronic switches is that they have an auto-timer function that you can program i.e. to shoot every 4 seconds or something. I have my camera trigger set up so I can take a single shot or continuous using this function. Sometimes digital cameras fall to sleep after e.g. 30 seconds without switch actibvity - this timer can be set to 28 seconds for instance to prevent the camera going to sleep mid flight. If you suffer this problem you can always just take a random picture every 20+ seconds manually.

Your project does sound very cool but my overriding concern is that you are still doing everything except tackling the MAIN issue with all of this - which is photography from a vibrating moving platform. Think of it like taking pictures from a camera strapped to the handlebars of a moving motorcycle - unless you do something about this area, no matter how clever the rest of the setup it will not become a camera ship in anything but name alone because no picture will be worth looking at (and you'll probably just end up vibrating the camera to pieces). My sugggestion is to build in a vibration isolating mechanism at the design stage so you don't end up paining yourself into a corner i.e. with no room to install any vibration countermeasures. The Angelos rig is fascinating because he seems to have got away with isolating the vibration-transmission to a point and then he's trimmed out vibrations using a sheet of what looks like RX packing foam under the camera. You can re-create a similar mechanical setup by having a self-locating sleeve i.e. a hanging mount that is pulled back into a fixed position for landing by your retract system - however for compactnes you might what to have a cleaver shock-absorber system at the hanging point at the top instead of (or pehaps as well as) something under the camera.

Flyboy's laser-pointer technique for identifying the extent and characteristics of vibration so you can trim them out is sheer brilliance A* material. Sugest making a mental note of this for when the time comes.

Also - you need to make sure the mechanics of your camera mount originate their support from something strong. One of my early experiments involved bolting stuff to a plastic servo tray at the front of my X-Cell. This was a bad move for a long list of reasons - chiefly, the plastic moved unpredictably and eventually it cracked. Utterly useless. You need to build out from the main frames somehow.

Do you fell like sending or posting photos of your work in progress??
If you can then I/we can comment on the configuration itself.


Posted by michaelmillikin on 10-01-2003 02:03 AM:
thanx for the input and interest in helping,,

so far i'm experimenting,, the actual camera is mounted off of two carbon fiber rods which are securely mounted and reinforced... at the ends are ball links so the camera can "swivel" then a servo {high torque} is attached to the camera via carbon/ball link also to raise and lower the camera,, ==
i know it's strong enough,, vibration,, dont know yet,, but hoping the rods will absorb some of it,, if not probably will change/adjust mounting system.. possibly with "shock" absorbers,,,

also keep in mind the frame for the heli is not directly connected to the body// ie. has 1/2 inch of rubber between the heli's frame and the frame mounts of the body ,, to absorb some of the vibration before it gets to the body.. {or atleast i'm hoping} thats what it will do ,,

do have some pics in my gallery i posted tonight of the work in progress,, please all suggestions are very welcome..
i still have a good amount of space in the front cabin to work with or make changes to ..

Sun, Jun 24 - 4:01 pm © 2000-2018 RunRyder