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Old January 24th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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New MultiRotor Company

Seems like this may be the ticket for a lot of us wanting inexpensive aerial platforms for DSLR and small pro camcorders! (If they only had one of us pros produce their video!)

eye3 by Kellie Sigler — Kickstarter
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 12:36 PM   #2
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Thanks for the heads up Robert! And in case you haven't seen it, I started a whole thread devoted to this topic a while back:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/open-dv-...-shooting.html

Remote-controlled aerial videography is, in my opinion, on the verge of exploding, and I'm VERY interested in it. I've been researching various options for a while now, and am developing a phased plan for us to acquire and get into doing it. (And I'm doing it with a clear head and no illusions about the challenges.)

My plan in a nutshell is to buy a relatively cheap AR Drone quadricopter, add a few mods (like a joystick RC controller/transmitter, GoPro mount, longer-life batteries, etc)...and use this as a training setup and proof-of-concept to sell my VP on eventually going with a higher end solution like the one in your link.

My biggest question/concern with every aerial platform I've seen to date is stability: I'm still searching for videos (online) shot from an RC aerial platform that are rock-steady (and don't look like you're in a boat on a stormy sea).

Looks like the couple in your link have surpassed their Kickstarter goal---which just shows how much interest there is in making these solutions go mainstream!

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Old February 3rd, 2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Thanks for the link. I believe I posted a few times in that thread and in many others.

As for stability, it just takes upsizing. Bigger craft fly better. There was a video posted of three life size human figures that were in fact RC planes that were flown around nYC. The camera ship was a large multirotor and the video is really good.
I'm an avid RC flyer and recently attended the Arizona Electric Festival which is one of the largest gatherings of all electric powered RC flight in the country. (I was pilot #262 and there were supposedly well over 300!)
Of the couple dozen vendors there, several were dedicated multirotor companies. I talked to all of them at length about flying cameras like DSLRs and small pro camcorders like the xf100 and hmc40.
None had craft that were big enough to do this but said they have gotten so many requests from us video guys that they were considering upsizing their designs. Very promising!!!

There are RC motors now capable of swinging 28" props fast enough to fly 110" wingspan planes like they weren't even there. Approximately 75-100 pounds of thrust is what's needed to do this!!!
The motor in the main plane I flew produces about 30lbs of thrust. And it's affordable and reliable.
The technology exists...just have to get someone to start mass producing the multirotors using the bigger motors.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

As of right now flying drones for anything other than personal use is prohibited by the FAA. You may not use them for aerial photography/videography for hire within the boundaries of the USA. I recently read where some companies in California ran afoul of the FAA for doing aerial videography of real estate.

The FAA is currently working on rules to allow for permitted flight of drones for commercial purposes. One of the requirements being batted around is that the drone pilot must be at a minimum hold a Airman's Certificate as a Private Pilot. A requirement like this would make it much more expensive to offer "legal" drone services.

The article below has a bit more info. Looks like drones will be grounded till the final rulemaking is complete in 2015.

Commercial Drones That Controllers Can?t See Challenging U.S. Air Safety - Bloomberg
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

That is true but here's my point of view..

I'm also a Cineflex operator and when my clients need aerial footage, it costs a minimum of $16k to get the heli in the air for a 4 hour shoot.

Private Pilot's license is between $5-7K.
The multirotor craft capable of flying a pro camera will probably cost $2500-$4k
For true commercial purposes, that kind of investment is not out of reach as it's a unique service that can be marketed.
Knowing the risks of flying general RC in a sanctioned wide-open area for which we are required to carry insurance (22 years of flying) I think it should be regulated and licensed for commercial use as the risks go WAY up adding the possibility of property damage and serious injury to people when used on a shoot. So the cost should deter the amateur. But we're talking pro here...not playing around. Heck...my investment in cameras is more than that and it's just a dslr with lenses and XF300.

Sure I will stil play around with gopros, replays and contours mounted to my fleet of RC planes and helis but that stuff is not up to the quality professional productions require anyway.

I'd welcome a system that can undercut the Cineflex/A-Star price and provide decent, stable video. I've already had several clients balk at the price of aerial footage. Let's see what the future brings!
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 02:47 PM   #6
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

I am passing the word for the current state of the rules for one VERY important reason.

The issue at hand is the FAA operates under administrative law and as such the rules of guilt are very different than criminal law. FAA officers are NOT required to identify themselves to you. They could be the person standing right behind you in a crowd and you won't know. If you admit to a crime in the presence of an officer you ARE guilty. No additional proof is needed. Not innocent till proven guilty but instantly guilty. So if you chat with your friend about how you skirted the rules and shot all this great stuff but got paid for it in some covert way you may be busted on what seems to be hearsay but under the rules of the game in this arena isn't. Get ready to open your wallet and pay (they can't lock you up under an administrative infraction, only fine you).

I fly RC and I'm a licensed pilot as well. My plan is to offer aerial services in the future once the rules are finalized. Till then I'll continue flying for fun only.

One thing I would recommend any private pilot (and UAV pilot) do is read up on admin law. There are several good books written specifically with the pilot in mind.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:01 PM   #7
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Turchick View Post

Private Pilot's license is between $5-7K.
The multirotor craft capable of flying a pro camera will probably cost $2500-$4k
The cost to acquire your private ticket is on target.

Based on what I see the costs today for pro UAVs capable of flying a 15lb payload the cost is $20-50k. $5-10k will get you a multi-rotor bird that can fly a 5d (4-6lbs).

I expect the payload limit for UAVs to be restricted by the max weight being proposed in the rules which for now is 55lbs gross TOW.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Good advice to all on knowing the law and a quick story about FAA officials...a few years ago at a large RC meet here in AZ, a full size single seat jet made his halftime flyover of the field. He then came around and made a low pass 500 feet altitude (some say lower) down the center of the RC runway. FAA official wrote down his tail number and he no longer has a license and was fined extremely heavily.
And on the cost of uav multirotor, the original link I posted is to a company offering a very cost effective and properly setup craft for DSLR for about $1500. Then there's the ancillary gear! That's what I based my estimate on. Love to see links to the craft you mention Chris as I may be in the market!!
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

I've been considering getting a setup from these guys and get my feet wet - http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/MikroKopter/

They take it seriously for sure. A full flying kit to do several lbs with pan tilt camera control and video downlink is about $10k in DIY form.

I have links to some of the other vendors I found selling RTF pro setups at home and will try to dig them up to share.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 05:28 PM   #10
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Ok everyone...
Apologies!
The link I listed was to a Kickstarter project which was cancelled a few days ago. Apparently Kickstarter did research on the couple who created the project and determined it was a scam. Thankfully no money actually exchanged hands but they certainly generated interest as they had almost $80k in pledges to fund the project.

So! I will be checking out Chris's links and waiting (not holding my breath) for the laws to be worked out.
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Old February 3rd, 2012, 08:06 PM   #11
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Here is another one that I've been considering:

Quadrocopter Mikrokopter Ready to Fly RTF and Online Store - The CineStar™ 8 Revolution has enough payload to fly a dSLR or other small video camera. RTF complete its about $15k.

For some reason I've not been able to find the commercial products I was researching before. They may have gone dormant while waiting for the final FAA rules.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 03:07 PM   #12
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

Lots of concerns expressed here and there's no telling what regulations might be placed on UAV photography. While I don't care for the restrictions I would be concerned about less responsible people putting others at risk.

That said, I built my own multirotor for a reasonable cost for my own projects.

Building my first quadcopter. From scratch. - OpenPilot Forums

Much of the cost were the motors and ESCs. The rest was fabricated by hand.

When it comes to stability there are several factors including size, weight, prop loading and the controller board, as well as how it's programmed.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 04:12 PM   #13
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Re: New MultiRotor Company

The quad I built is really a prototype. I'm making a new set of arms and landing gear, along with vibration-absorbing motor mounts. The center disc is going to be replaced, too. Essentially the entire airframe is being re-done with the motors slightly closer together, and to accommodate a camera gimbal.

Here is some footage shot with a Replay 1080XD that's simply stuck to the top of the dome with some vibration-absorbing gel. It was to see what footage might look like from a camera mounted on the quad copter.

Flight 20120125 - YouTube
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