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Old December 12th, 2010, 07:50 AM   #1
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R/C Helicopter vs Quad for FPV Camera Flight

This is a continuation of a previous post: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/new-micr...ov-camera.html

This goes down a different road, so I thought it might be best to break up the two for ease of instruction for the masses.

QUESTION:
Which is better for FPV (First Person View) camera work? A Multi Rotor or Single Rotor copter'?

REASON: I am getting conflicting reports on what is best. Some say the Multi's have more stability, and others say they get blown around easier, making your footage useless.

I have been hearing about the Draganflyer and the footage looks incredible: Draganflyer X6 Six Rotor UAV Helicopter Aerial Video Platform
But the price is also incredible, ranging from 14 to 33 grand! ($33,000) Obviously, you get what you pay for and I would expect no less from such a great flyer.

There is also the TSH GAUI 330X-S Quad-Flyer, which can be found on ebay brand new for $400. Hmmmmmm.

(Anyone with experience with either is free to share their experience as well!)

However, lets keep this in a moderate price range (under $1000) and give your opinion on which design is the better one for mounting a camera to.
The masses of people who want to fly their cameras like a bird are eagerly awaiting your words of wisdom....
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Old December 12th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #2
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cheap doesn't mean cheap on money only.
with heli, the training curve is slow, it requires lot of time to be a good heli pilot and any crash cost the hell.
with the TSH GAUI you can see the impressive crash test has hardly damaged the device and a set of props cost less than 10$.
Since you plan to fly a gopro, the TSH GAUI seesm a good candidate to make your first steps.
you wife won't mind if you crash a 400$ toy that you can fix for $50, but with 3000$ heli that cost $600 to fix, could be another story.
But from the pure point of view of fly performance, an heli is a lot better for video for static fly.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #3
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Can I just add in the query about how stable they are to control in the 20ft off the ground uses as well. Thanks.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Gaui is great starter. I had one. Wasnt great in wind, but when tuned right was super stable.

Here is a few videos of it and clips taken with it when I was first starting out:


It can lift about 6-700 grams successfully. The addition of camera weight smooths it out a bit. The scorpion motor bearings die frequently. It is a fun heli, great to start and flies nice. I regularly used mine to ~300ft but it starts getting hard to see and keep orientated much above that.

This is my current setup, built on UAVX. Lifts 5lb camera with 3 axis stabilized gimbal. GPS position/altitude hold. GPS waypoint flight is on board as well but have not tested yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhH8h9blCFU

A few aerial shots from that used here, shot single operator and it was very windy (25mph) which is certainly not ideal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obJUQIxY2OY&feature=fvw

Draganflyers are overpiced and underperform as far as I can tell.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:58 AM   #5
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I just watched your rally footage (and Wagon Attack 1 and 2) and I am really impressed. The shots of the rally car taken from the hovercopter looked smooth, and you got a shot that would be impossible without a giant crane. Nicely done.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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Very nice. Do you have any recommendations for "toy" priced quad copters that would help learn before flying a more expensive model?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #7
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He mentioned the Guai. It might be considered a "toy" sized price, in comparison to the Droidworx vehicles.

With the Guai, Im not sure what all else you have to get. I've a Guai model that has a camera mount, that could take a go pro camera, or even a little bigger. Also can add X,Y axis control for the camera (I think, unless I got info mixed up between models, in my research).

The Guai is about $475, with camera mount. But I think you also have to buy a controller and reciever? I'm not 100%, I started looking into these, after I read the first post. Ever since I saw the footage, I've decided I need one of these in my film kit. I can think of so many shots I could add with it. Eventually I'd like to get a Droidworx D-4 or D-6, with the heavy lift setup, so that it can carry a HD SLR.

I've also seen they have FOV setups (I think that's what its called). Basically the video from the camera is sent back to a station, and you monitor with a video screen, and fly like you were in the air with the copter. But I liked the setup, because one person can fly, and a 2nd person has pan and tilt control of the camera, to get the shot lined up.

Here is the link to the Gaui site. They are the lower priced copter. I want to get one to learn how to fly with it.

TSH GAUI
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Old December 18th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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Being both a bit of a cinematographer and an R/C heli pilot, let me see if I can clear this up.

As far as consumer-level helicopters go, the multi-rotor copters are much easier to fly and much more stable. However, their stability works against them outdoors when you need a fast, responsive helicopter to deal with any wind. While the multi-rotor helis can fly outdoors, they will fly ONLY if there is ZERO wind. (Trust me; I know.)

The multi-rotors are good for first learning how to fly, but they get boring fast once you get good on the sticks.

The key thing to remember with helicopters is that they are inherently unstable. This means if you take your hands off the sticks for even one second to scratch your nose or slap a mosquito, you WILL crash. (Trust me; if you think I am kidding, go fly a single-rotor helicopter outside and just see if you can scratch your nose!)

Therefore, unless you are getting into the commercial end of the market, the only helicopter that will work for your purposes is a single-rotor with the traditional tail rotor blade. Consumer-level multi-rotor helicopters will NOT work unless all your flying is indoors.

The other thing to remember is that learning to fly a radio-control helicopter is actually HARDER to fly than the real thing. (I fly both.) The learning curve is VERY VERY steep. Most people try it, crash a few times and give it up. It takes a LOT of work. (It is a lot like learning to ride a unicycle ... blind ... with a nest of wasps on your head ...)

The nice thing though is that once you start to 'get' it on the controls, it is a lot of fun ... and next thing you know you will have 10 different helicopters in your basement and try to think of ways to sneak your latest purchase past your wife.

(Wife: "Why do you need all these helicopters for anyway? You can only fly one - badly, by the way - at a time?"
Moi: "Well, you have more than one pair of shoes don't you, and you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time?"
Wife: "Call me when you can fly as good with your helicopter as I can walk with my shoes!"
Moi: "D'oh!")



There is a reason why the helicopter is referred to as the "crack cocaine of the R/C world."
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Old December 18th, 2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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well , a good equipped heli with all the feature that modern electronic can give, require no hands.
if you spend $3000 on an heli, you can spend $300 more on a gyro stabilisation.
a full equipped heli can even have a GPS and in case of communication loss, it can return back to home.
for sure, it is less fun. Investing a bit more in electronics to make your flight safe and stable can make your learning curve a lot faster, the drawback being you will never be a real pilot, just a button pusher.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 02:02 AM   #10
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Re: R/C Helicopter vs Quad for FPV Camera Flight

I just read this:

Moi: "Well, you have more than one pair of shoes don't you, and you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time?"
Wife: "Call me when you can fly as good with your helicopter as I can walk with my shoes!"

Good one! :-)
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