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Old November 6th, 2011, 09:28 AM   #1
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Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

I'm wanting to do some hover/flyby shots with my gopro (maybe wrapped in foam vs case - if anything its not going to get wet...) that also reduces the weight.

What kind of RC plane or helicopter will carry the extra weight of the GoPro? Or have anyone had any videos/tutorials on how to mount it?

I've seen a bunch but they are all for rigs that cost thousands or tens of thousands. I'm thinking that is overkill for the weight of a gopro to get it to hover 20ft above a scene.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 10:21 AM   #2
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

Lol if your asking what Heli/plane to mount to you proberyly haven't flown to much Rc. I fly the blade helis and the smallest one that would work for me would be the 400/450 size any smaller it's going to be hard to find an area to mount the gopro. If you haven't flown helis a good forum to read is helifreak.com. I would try flying small ones first then once you can get a 450 size. Have fun and be careful the bigger helis are very dangerous and never flown over people.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 09:07 PM   #3
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

I put a GoPro on my T-Rex 450 but that's really pushing the limits.

If you don't already have an RC helicopter, you might want to look at the "quad" copter or multi-rotor designs as well as single rotor.

Check out HeliFreak.com and read the threads about aerial photo/video. Also, check out This thread about quad copters: A New 1000mm Quad Copter Design - RC Groups. Things have changed a lot since that thread started. For example, a company called "Skookum Robotics" are rewriting the software for it's controller to work with a quad copter in addition to single-rotor helicopters. Skookum's SK-720 features gyros and motion sensors to stabilize helicopters and it should do a nice job on quad copters as well.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 09:09 PM   #4
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

There's quite a few videos on youtube shot with a GoPro mounted on a AR Drone Parrot - AR.Drone Parrot - First quadricopter that can be controlled by an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad - which runs about $300 and is controlled over wifi with an iPhone or iPad. Probably not the most stable platform but may be the least expensive option and have a fairly short learning curve.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 07:34 AM   #5
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

.............
Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro
There's quite a few videos on youtube shot with a GoPro mounted on a AR Drone Parrot - AR.Drone Parrot - First quadricopter that can be controlled by an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad - which runs about $300 and is controlled over wifi with an iPhone or iPad. Probably not the most stable platform but may be the least expensive option and have a fairly short learning curve.
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Thanks Evan!
I was getting ready to try a balloon but I looked at the video's then called the company and talked to them about using a GoPro or Replay.

It won't do heavy duty work but should work for what I want. I ordered one a few minutes ago.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 08:58 AM   #6
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

So after seeing my 450 fly the replay, my buddy shows up at my studio with a 400-size heli looking like Ralphie after ripping the wrapping paper off his Red Ryder!

I had to explain to him in very slow sentences that he was not to run out and try to fly it alone until I gave him some pointers. And did a thorough check of the build as it was an off-brand from Hong Kong.
Attached a set of training gear and made sure all the controls were working and did a test flight. Trimmed it out a bit and gave him my training regimen. Handed him the controls and he followed my instructions. He was shaking so bad after the first hop which was more just making it light on the training gear that we had to stop. He gets it. This is a real aircraft that can do serious damage to property and people and requires a serious commitment to get proficient at just basic flight.
Add the weight of a camera and expecting to get useable footage is another ball game. Dean and I are good pilots (from the videos ive seen him do) but have learned that there's a lot more to it than just flying around. Camera vibration, balance, aerodynamics are obstacles that have to be overcome.
Small helis are cheap but are not the best option as they get knocked around by the slightest breeze and are pretty squirrelly without the weight of a camera. Larger helis are much more stable and therefore easier to fly. But my "gasser" dinged my wallet for about $3k without a camera mount!
Quad copters are the way of the future for RC photography and videography. Still serious equipment but easier to learn.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

When I bought my Helicopter, which is not really large enough for a GoPro, I spent a month learning to fly and 3 weeks replacing the parts I broke.

Looking forward to the quad.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 10:58 AM   #8
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

Robert... I'm still a novice, but at least I'm skilled enough to evade an unleashed, undisciplined dog. I was doing some hover tests the other morning, to evaluate vibrations and see if the tail rotor was responding properly, when a dog started charging toward it.

I had to get it up higher, then scoot out past the fence to get the dog to forget it was there.

Don't know why a dog this size wasn't on a leash. The owner doesn't realize that even if the dog doesn't bite, all he has to do is knock some toddler over and cause a serious head injury.

Dog doesn't like RC helicopter - YouTube
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Old November 10th, 2011, 11:19 AM   #9
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

After doing a lot of tests and experimenting with this 450, I've decided to build a quad for my next helicopter. While getting footage from a Replay off a 450 is very educational, I really think I have to get a better camera aloft to do anything serious.

There are some advantages to a multi-rotor:

-- All the energy goes toward lifting the aircraft. In a conventional design, a significant amount of power is spent on counteracting main rotor torque.

-- Because there's no tail, it can fly sideways just as fast as forward and reverse.

-- Fewer moving parts: Just motor and prop. No gears, belt drive, swash, links, etc.

-- Might be able to enclose the props with shrouds for safety.

I'm researching motors, ESCs and props to see what's needed to be able to lift a Canon Vixia, and have to learn about how they're supposed to work together to provide a smooth-flying aerial video platform.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #10
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

Or you could just get one of these:

World's first manned flight with an electric multicopter. [VIDEO]

and take up an F800 or something and shoot it yourself.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 01:04 PM   #11
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

What's interesting is the pilot is using an RC controller to operate the helicopter. Hope it's a Futaba!

I just read something a bit concerning about multirotor helicopters. This particular one has a tendency to "flip" if the operator should give it a rapid control input or if a gust of wind should tip it into a steep angle. The writer explains the reason why in the review.

Review: LotusRC T580 quadcopter

I don't think this is an inherent problem with multi-rotors but might be specific to this particular design due to the way the software might have been written. At least according to the article's author.

Depending on the circumstances, high speed runs with abrupt stops or maneuvers might be part of the job. Hopefully the problem of flipping isn't common to all multirotor designs.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 02:33 PM   #12
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui View Post
What's interesting is the pilot is using an RC controller to operate the helicopter. Hope it's a Futaba!
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Old November 10th, 2011, 03:47 PM   #13
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

As sensitive as the T580 is to wind gusts and unusual attitudes, here's a demo by someone who built a quad copter that employs "open source" software.

It's very resistant to adverse forces, including having someone yank on a string attached to one of the arms.

It eventually gets yanked out of the sky due to an over-enthusiastic assistant. But even with one of the arms bent, they were still able to get it up into the air after the crash.

So a quad is, in fact, capable of handling difficult conditions. There's one designer in Germany that took his quad out into gusting winds without any problems.

This is something that simply cannot be done with a standard single-rotor design. I've had the experience of the main rotor blades make brief contact with the ground, and had to go through the whole litany of examine, assess, repair, replace.

Showing Off

And an example of whether multi-rotor helicopters can fly fast:
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Old November 10th, 2011, 09:44 PM   #14
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

Yeah the AR Drone looks like a good beginner quadcopters and I can source it locally. Since there re videos online using the GoPro mounted I know it will work and it looks like it will do what I want (long pans and hovers above the action).

When I get better at flying or source an experianced RC pilot I'll look into getting a bigger/better copter if needed.

Thanks guys, most informative.
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Old November 11th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #15
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Re: Smallest Heli/Plane I can mount GoPro

Do the manufacturers publish tables to allow determination of load capability when density altitude is taken into account? For instance your quad can't carry as much on a hot day (2000 DA) vs. a normal day (0 DA), or you can't carry as much in Denver as you can in Miami when it's the same temperature outside.
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