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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › new to r/c helis, not photgraphy... need something solid.
12-07-2004 07:38 PM  13 years agoPost 1
pruettsk

rrNovice

virginia

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Wanna help the new kid out?

I've sifted through the beginner forum, but I figure I might get a better response here. To start off, I know next to nothing about the r/c helicopters... but I'm trying to find a way get some of my work airborne. Masts are a lot more expensive than I expected, and learning r/c heli flying would be fun anyway.

How many of you shoot with a DSLR? Is it stupid (reliable) to send heavy gear up on a heli (i.e. high-res pro gear... Kodak SLR/c, Canon 1-series)? I want to explore options that will allow me to photograph straight down with a fisheye, as well as giving me flexibility for normal/wide-angle photos as well.

If you could recommend 2 helis, one in the "normal" price range & feature set, as well as a high-end setup, what would they be? I just need somewhere to start. I learn quickly.

As for mounts, the new Broadcast360 seems to be the only one I've found that'll work perfectly... unless other mounts will allow for tilting a camera straight down in mid-air, and getting the lens element underneath everything including landing gear.

thanks!
~ scott

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12-07-2004 08:27 PM  13 years agoPost 2
KC

rrElite Veteran

WA

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1 series are about 4lbs with glass?....youre talking money, ion, joker, pmax gasser, bergen observer, etc.

you may not even like flying these things or feel comfortable putting a 8k 1n under an r/c heli (I wouldnt!), dont buy a big camera ship like that until you really know!!!

how about an r50v2 and panasonic dmc-fx7? you could have a heli to learn to fly with and a good light camera to throw on it when you feel ready to do it.

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12-07-2004 08:59 PM  13 years agoPost 3
pruettsk

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virginia

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haha... for some reason I had a feeling I'd get an answer like that.

Thing is, I need to be able to shoot with a circular fisheye, which I own for SLR bodies already. I have a Canon D60 but am considering a full-frame DSLR, and I don't want to resort back to film... although I agree, sending $4k+ of camera gear up on a heli is something I'd only do if I knew if it was reliable.

The other consideration I've got is a Nikon 8400 with a FC-E9 fisheye. This is a lighter-weight option than a DSLR. The FC-E9 is 21oz, and the 8400 is 14oz w/o battery. Altogether I think it's about 6" long? I don't own this setup.

further thoughts?

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12-07-2004 09:00 PM  13 years agoPost 4
fitenfyr

rrProfessor

Port Orchard, Washington

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KC is right
Scott,
I fly a D70 under my Ion-X.
Several others here fly the 300D and the 20D.
There is no real need IMO to fly one of the higher end DSLRs for this work.
The images are good at 6 MP or so.
As for mounts that go straight down pretty much all of the underslungs will allow you to shoot straight down. Just remember to tilt it back up before you land.
You will have to utilize a camera operator though with all of the systems on the market to get straight down and still be able to take off and land or rig up some kind of a mechanical or automated system to tilt the camera to take off and land.

As for helicopters you should look for something that is either a big electric (Maxi-Joker or Ion) or a gas powered heli (Bergen Intrepid gas, Minature aircraft Gasser, JR G260)

You may want to pick up a simulator and a 30 sized trainer before you drop the $$$ down for a full blown camera ship.
My partner did that and now he talks of getting a trainer after two very $$$ crashes with the gasser.

Jason Stiffey
Fly Fast....Live Slow...

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12-07-2004 10:26 PM  13 years agoPost 5
DANNO

rrKey Veteran

St. Petersburg, Florida

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definatly get a cheap heli to learn on, and plan on practing it for months atleast. you will almost surely crash it several times. these things are not easy to fly i am sure you have read allready.

having said that, youll probably need a big heli to carry the kind of gear you describe. but, you really dont need to worry about that for alteast a few months...get a small trainer and once youve mastered it look into getting a real camera ship.....

dan

www.skypiximaging.com

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12-07-2004 10:39 PM  13 years agoPost 6
pruettsk

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virginia

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definitely sounds like good advice to me... thanks.

any suggestions for a good, relatively inexpensive trainer? I don't want to spend a ton if I'm going to potentially invest in a real camera ship in the [hopefully] not-to-distant future.

I appreciate the input.
~ scott

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12-07-2004 11:03 PM  13 years agoPost 7
shootfromabove

rrApprentice

Eagle River, Alaska

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Scott,
I just started with aerial photography a few months ago and I totally agree with the other opinons expressed here. I have a Raptor 30 and a Raptor 50 that I use for practice. IMHO these are a good learning heli.
They are fairly cheap to buy and parts are about the cheapest around.
My 50 will carry a mount with a fairly light camera also, so I can practice with this without risking my Gasser.
One thing I would recommend if you are just starting out is to get a simulator for your computer, I think it really helps out.
Pat

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12-07-2004 11:09 PM  13 years agoPost 8
DANNO

rrKey Veteran

St. Petersburg, Florida

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if you think you might go with electrics, then a great trainer is the ikarus eco 8...cheap, easy to fly, parts a available. i get my stuff from hobby lobby usually. you can also upgrade this easily.

they claim you can build and fly this heli without a programable heli radio...i tried it and it was so much easier once i put a heli radio in....

www.skypiximaging.com

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12-07-2004 11:26 PM  13 years agoPost 9
Angelos

rrKey Veteran

nr Oxford, OX11, UK

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pruettsk,

I think the issue at the moment is not the reliability of the heli but your flying skills. Get a Raptor 30 to start learning and you can later convert to 50. You can go for a 50 directly but it will cost a lot on fuel for just hovering.
To me electrics are not the best helis to learn to fly as you won’t be able to fly as much as you do with IC. By the time you reach the level of required competence to take your expensive camera in the air you will know enough about helis to make your own decision which cameraship is best for you.

You might this that buying two helis is going to cost more, but I can tell you now that repairing the high end machines is very expensive every time you crash on your learning curve. The Rappy parts are much cheaper.

-Angelos

Spartan RC R&D

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12-07-2004 11:55 PM  13 years agoPost 10
fitenfyr

rrProfessor

Port Orchard, Washington

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Electronics...
Here is what I would buy...
Raptor 30, Sceadu 30 one or the other. Both great and upgradable IF you want to.
Best electronics I can get.
This way you can pull all the electronics out of the "trainer" and put them in the camera ship. Saves you some money down the road.

I am a Futaba man myself so I would buy
9252's
GY401/9254
and get a regulated 5.1V system from the start for the rx battery.

Electrics are just fine if you have the desire to dump some cash you can get a Logo 20 and do the same thing, but the learning curve is steeper on electrics (more to figure out. ) and you cannont transfer too much of the motor system to a bigger helicopter.

Now you can go the gasser route right off the bat also. Just find a good pilot to help you out and spend a TON of time on the sim.
That is what my partner did and he was hovering first day out with the Gasser.

Jason Stiffey
Fly Fast....Live Slow...

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12-08-2004 12:10 AM  13 years agoPost 11
jb_turner

rrElite Veteran

USA

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Get what you can afford! There are no "trainer" helis.

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12-08-2004 12:42 AM  13 years agoPost 12
tabbytabb

rrElite Veteran

seattle

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I would pick up a Raptor 50 to learn with, and maybe in the mean time you can find a very experienced pilot to fly your cameraship. If you want to lift a pro DSLR I think a Maxi or an Ion running 800's would do the trick nicely assuming you want to go electric (the only thing I would stap a 1D to is an electric )

Good luck with whatever you end up doing. Helis are a blast to fly, with or without a camera hanging from the bottom

Tabb

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12-08-2004 02:11 AM  13 years agoPost 13
mcatech

rrVeteran

Mount Gambier SA Australia

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Hovering a heli at altitude is a whole lot harder than it sounds
many 3d manouvres are infact easier to pull off than a stationary hover at altitude
in other words like everyone has said get a 30 or 50 and practise practise practise before spending anymore on a camera system
I am currently running a Cuatro gasser and soon to be turbine Cuatro with a HCS pro 60 3x
over A$10,000 invested in this baby last thing I want to do is put it in due to dumb thumbs
learning to fly helis is a case of when you will crash not if be prepared for it if your not its the wrong hobby in my case I flew for 18 months before having my first crash and thought I was invincible up to then and a simulator should be the first thing on your shopping list Cheers Michael

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12-08-2004 04:31 AM  13 years agoPost 14
pruettsk

rrNovice

virginia

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wow, you guys are good.

Thanks a bunch for the feedback. It sounds like a simulator and a good amount of non-camera practice time w/ a rig that doesn't cost an arm & a leg to repair are in store.... especially in terms of saving $$$ in the long run.

How does the photography aspect work? Do you have one person flying the heli on one set of controls, while having another person controlling the camera movements & shutter?

How is the range on the controllers, both for the cam & heli? What about the video downlink? 400'+ is no problem?

thanks again.
~ scott

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12-08-2004 04:38 AM  13 years agoPost 15
fitenfyr

rrProfessor

Port Orchard, Washington

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Yes and no...
Scott,
You can fire the camera by yourself for "solo" work or you can setup the mount for control and shutter release from a second controller and operator.
Depends on the job.
My rig is setup for both ways.

As for the range it is Line of sight. If you can see it it SHOULD work.

400' is about 200' higher or farther than I think most of us can still see the heli though.

The "ceiling" that has been self imposed is 400' for "legal" meaning covered by AMA insurance for hobby purposes.
Anything done for $$$ though will not be insured through the AMA.

Do a search here and on http://www.helicam.org and you will find TONS of info about getting started.

Jason Stiffey
Fly Fast....Live Slow...

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12-08-2004 04:48 AM  13 years agoPost 16
pruettsk

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virginia

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nice... thanks

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12-08-2004 11:55 AM  13 years agoPost 17
ImRich

rrVeteran

Derry, NH USA

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Scott,

Don't be discouraged if you find yourself taking a year or more to learn to fly the heli well enough before you are ready to carry a camera.

I'm not saying it will take you a year, but everyone learns at different speeds.

Don't rush out and mount your camera until you are comfortable flying a heli in all (upright) attitudes.

You can probably get a great start and a good taste of flying with a simulator. Then get a real heli and spend a lot of time practicing to maintain and fly it before you succumb to the urge to mount your camera on it!

Best of luck!

---
Rich

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12-08-2004 07:12 PM  13 years agoPost 18
pruettsk

rrNovice

virginia

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Thanks Rich! I'm doubtful it'll take a year to get the hang of, but you're right. No need for me to be stupid & crash a heli with costly camera equipment on it.

What sim would you guys recommend? I suppose it's time to go dig through that section too...

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12-08-2004 07:22 PM  13 years agoPost 19
tabbytabb

rrElite Veteran

seattle

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I would recommend Reflex XTR, You can download a helicam type helicopter to practice with.

It also has tons of other free models and the best physics IMO

Tabb

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12-08-2004 08:38 PM  13 years agoPost 20
KC

rrElite Veteran

WA

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forget the 8400 with fc-e9, if its anything like the 5400, those things have a shutter lag that makes them only consistent for stills, you'll probably want to play with that fish for all kinds of fun action stuff on the ground after you get it

dont get me wrong, my 5400 is awesome for quality, but its about as fast for action as a kodak brownie. another problem with most of the coolpix cameras is that you cannot trip the shutter circuit without their special cables that take a battery

little known and very useful fact to remote controlled photography,

if you use a minolta camera based off the rc1000 cables, you can stick a paper clip in there and trip the shutter, change focus, or.....take a servo and some wires, voila you can have a shutter that trips fast as a servo can move 2mm (about .002 seconds).....I just leaned this trick a few weeks ago, it works!

maybe use a film cheapo slr and a sigma 8mm or 15mm fish, you'll get everything in terms of weight, quality, and handling, just lose the convenience.

a d70 with a 10.5mm dx is a full frame fish, I like my d70 but it wont take a cable and limits it to remote release at certain angles within 20 feet, which SUCKS ASS I must say, but not a problem if you use a d100 remotely.

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