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Old January 30th, 2015, 12:19 PM   #1
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Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Hi everyone. Apologies if this isn't the right section to post this… it seemed like the best fit.

I had been considering getting myself a DJI Drone to spruce up some of my footage, but after reading more about the pending legal issues, etc. I decided it would be wise to wait until the dust settles.

I came across a potential 'stopgap' solution, and I'm hoping someone can give me some advice, as there just doesn't seem to be much online about it.

The idea is to get a very long pole (painter's pole, etc.) and buy or construct a 'self-leveling' mount for the Gopro. My thought is that this setup (along with some post production stabilization) would allow me to get some nice faux-aerial type shots.

Has anyone tried this? I've seen plenty of fake aerial pole photography links online, but they tend to just attach directly to the pole. I'd like to have a self-leveling mount to enable me to do simulated fly-ups and downs, kind of like a super-long jib arm and I’m not finding much good information about building or buying a self-leveling mount.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old January 30th, 2015, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

I think Kessler sells some components that might help. Or maybe a gimbal like they use on the little drones?

There are long poles for still photography that would give you more reach that a painters pole.

Another option is a tethered balloon or kite. After the BP oil spill there was a project to document damage along the Gulf Coast. A boat pulled a kite with a camera to shoot sequences which were stitched to produce Gigapan images.
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Old January 30th, 2015, 02:03 PM   #3
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

There are many handheld GoPro gimbals being released by various companies. You want a 3-axis one and then mount it to the pole. I think the topic of gopro gimbals is actually being discussed on this forum somewhere.

There may even be a way to control the pan & tilt remotely. Wouldn't be too hard to stick a little RCreciever one there.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 12:32 AM   #4
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Hi Guys

Surely a gimbal would be an overkill? One could fashion a very simple bracket at the top of a pole that keeps the camera horizontal ..much like a crane end fitting so as you alter the angle of the pole the camera still stays level. The height can also be quite deceptive if you shoot at a wide angle ... 10' above your head at the full wide POV can easily look like 50' once you see the footage and a 10' to 15' pole is a lot easier to handle than one double the length .... What is a good idea is to go to your local fishing shop and buy a rod bucket ..just a leather strap around your waist with a pouch in the front and the bottom end of the pole drops into it. Add a strap that goes around the pole and around your neck and you have a fairly stable pole without spending too much money! The windage on even a thin pole can be quite severe once it gets up there!

I would go for a swimming pool pole rather than a painters pole ...(the ones you attach the scoop net onto) as they tend to be lighter. Just a small bracket on the top that can take the camera and can swivel up and down staying horizontal (by the law of physics) is all you need then hoist it up into the sky!
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Old January 31st, 2015, 07:32 AM   #5
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Moved from Flying Cameras to Micro / POV.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 09:00 AM   #6
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

The product I was thinking of may be referred to as a photo mast e.g. http://www.photomast.com/product

Also, a demo I saw by the folks to did the images along the Gulf Coast employed a balloon. The balloon was constructed from a mylar space blanket IIRC and had a few pounds of lift when filled with helium.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 12:41 PM   #7
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Guys

Surely a gimbal would be an overkill? One could fashion a very simple bracket at the top of a pole that keeps the camera horizontal ..

Just a small bracket on the top that can take the camera and can swivel up and down staying horizontal (by the law of physics) is all you need then hoist it up into the sky!
Yes! This is the sort of thing I'm looking for - I feel like a proper gimbal would be too much for what I'm intending - I was thinking more of something like you describe that works off of gravity alone.

Any idea where I can find (or how I can build) a mount like that?
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Old January 31st, 2015, 06:47 PM   #8
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Hi Luke

A simple mount can be nothing more than a piece of threaded rod going thru the top of your pole so it makes a sorta "T" at the top .... then use a strip of aluminium flat bar that will swing freely from holes drilled at each one end and kept in place with lock nuts and then bend it either side so it looks like a child's swing ..the camera sits on the swing "seat" and will stay horizontal when the pole angle changes.. Very crude but that's the concept anyway!
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Old February 1st, 2015, 01:44 AM   #9
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Interesting. But surely the camera needs to angle downwards a little so it can see the venue or people and the higher it goes, the steeper the angle?

Just thinking..........

Dave

Last edited by Dave Baker; February 1st, 2015 at 04:44 AM.
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Old February 1st, 2015, 03:47 AM   #10
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

You could attach the "PILOTFLY FunnyGO+ 3AXIS stabilizer for GoPRO 3 / 3+ / 4" to a stick and this would work sorta!
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Old February 1st, 2015, 05:03 AM   #11
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Hi Dave

It's simple to offset a mount to wherever you want it ...one needs a "preset" angle to suit the pole and then once you change angle a bit the camera will stay fairly level. If it were me I would stick to a mechanical mount ...I wonder how a gimbal would react being waved around 15 metres up in the air Simon ?? I gave up in disgust with mine on the ground and sold it after 3 shoots!! Since you have one (I think you said you were getting one) maybe you could strap it onto an aluminium pole and see how it behaves? Might even be awesome for you bush documentaries ?

Chris
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Old February 1st, 2015, 06:43 AM   #12
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
A simple mount can be nothing more than a piece of threaded rod going thru the top of your pole so it makes a sorta "T" at the top ....It's simple to offset a mount to wherever you want it ...one needs a "preset" angle to suit the pole and then once you change angle a bit the camera will stay fairly level. If it were me I would stick to a mechanical mount ...I wonder how a gimbal would react being waved around 15 metres up in the air Simon ??
Interesting! This is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. I think I can picture how I could build one and even have an angle adjustment.

The 3-axis gimbal idea is interesting as well, though, obviously, a much costlier solution, but I could see it being worth the extra money if it was actually able to function reliably on the end of a pole. It seems like the Feiyu Tech is the 'go to' entry level gimbal for the Gopro... does altitude affect a gimbals ability to function properly?
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Old February 1st, 2015, 10:17 AM   #13
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

A pole with a simple swivel would work. I built my own, the camera hangs by gravity alone. In my case though, I added pan and tilt to it. If yours doesn't need to pan or tilt, it can be built very easily...just add a little more weight to the camera housing so it hangs better. I believe this is the look you're after. In my case, the camera was a Canon 5D but the principle is still the same.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZazMH...ature=youtu.be
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Old February 1st, 2015, 10:39 AM   #14
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

Warren,

That's great! This is exactly what I'm looking to do! And you even managed it with your 5D?

You mention on the youtube page that the pan and tilt are by remote control.... any chance you could share some more details about your setup? I think it would suit my needs quite well!
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Old February 1st, 2015, 11:24 AM   #15
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Re: Aerial pole with self-leveling mount for Gopro?

The head was based on Servo City's pan/tilt head, and that was attached to a simple swivel. Going the route of trying to pan and tilt added a lot of time and expense to the project. If you can keep your setup very simple, you'll save yourself A LOT of time and grief. This later video shows the components of the system...but it's not cheap....I think I put in around $5K for this project.

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