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Old March 7th, 2005, 07:41 PM   #1
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No such camera-- right?

Well, after reading volumes of reviews and information over the past several weeks, I've come staggering here for some advice that hopefully will help me make a final purchasing decision.

As I own a number of Canon digital SLRs, I find myself leaning in that direction for video. Perhaps flawed logic right off the bat?

One of the main uses will be to record aerial video for some of our new aerial photography clients (we currently are doing digital still aerials).

The platform will be a Skyranger experimental plane. Cruises at 110 but can go low/slow when needed.

We've been working with a fabricator to mount a compact camera port with pan/tilt on one of the wing struts which means that the first requirement will be that the overall camera size is not too large. Obviously this rules out the "pro" type systems for this application.

In no particular order, here are the other considerations we're looking at:

A couple of things that it seems many need, are not required:

* Low light features-- simply not a factor as we'll always be in daylight
* Audio. Again, not a factor as audio will not be recorded (too noisy!)

What would be desirable would be,

* Video out. (?) Some way to have what the camera's seeing, visible on a small monitor in the plane (connected by cable)
* Good battery life or ability to dock an external battery
* Remote control of basic functions
* Solid build. We try to be gentle, but...

The video will be used for rather informal presentations so ultra high quality is not essential, but of course better is always... well, better.

Another question is about stabilization. I've read many different views here as to IS with aerials. Some have said it's very desirable, others that it's of no use since the type of vibrations IS is designed for is different than what we'd encountered in the air. (??)

From what I've read, I'm rather attracted to the Optura X1. But now I see they're coming out (March?) with some new Canon models. If video is like SLR, then one can get caught up in an endless loop of waiting for the greatest/latest as there's _always_ going to be something new right around the corner. Is this the case here? Would the X1 which is available now likely do everything we need at least as well as the upcoming 60?

Wow-- that's a LOT of questions. But hey-- if anyone can shed some light on even one or two of the above I'd be most appreciated. And if you live in the northeast US-- we might just fly over your house. <g>

Tim
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Old March 8th, 2005, 03:26 AM   #2
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Tim...

Reading this just reminds me of how much I miss flying (did some work as a fish spotter's pilot in Hawaii). Even seriously thought about building a Lancair at one time! Bought a boat instead.

For camera stabilization check this out:

http://www.aerialexposures.com/gyroplatform.htm

Perhaps it might be possible to make something smaller or lighter? Cost is a bit high but the demo videos that are posted online are very impressive.

As for cameras, I was tempted to get a Canon Elura 65 for underwater work, but decided to hold out for a three-chip Sony for better image quality.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 09:24 AM   #3
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Hi Dean,

A boat?! What WERE you thinking?? <g>

Fish spotting in Hawaii is sounding pretty good right about now-- especially looking outside my office window at yet more snow coming down. Lived there for 3 yrs a lifetime ago.

I had see that site. Yep, it's pretty expensive. Can only imagine what a custom engineered unit would cost.

The business model that seems to be shaping up is to use equipment of sufficient quality to get a contract with a budget with sufficient funds to rent higher end gear where needed.

There's also a number of current clients that would be happy with the output from the "prosumer" gear-- for their www sites for example.

Given my limited experience with video, the challenge is to sound like I know what I'm talking about while I try to figure out how it all could work myself! :-)

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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:15 AM   #4
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The PDX10, if standard NTSC or PAL resolution video is ok with you, might be a good idea. An FX1, HDV camera would be even better but it might be to large for your needs.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 03:27 AM   #5
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Hi Tim...

The biggest problem is trying to dampen any vibrations from the airframe.

Maybe have some sort of mount where the camera is surrounded by that gel-like stressball material? That doesn't seem to have any natural oscillation frequencies and might be adaptable as some sort of shock absorber.

Of course you'll also need to protect the camera from inadvertent weather.

That's an interesting airplane. Couldn't find any specs on it (speeds, range, etc). But it might have made a good fish spotter if it can handle turbulence. We get a lot of it here, especially where we were operating.

By the way, now that I'm working on a fishing show, the boat is getting to become a very useful tool...!
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Old March 9th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dean Sensui : Hi Tim...

The biggest problem is trying to dampen any vibrations from the airframe. -->>>

Indeed. it remains to be seen whether this will work out as we want without having to spend major $$$.

Most of the existing mount type systems we've looked at are expensive. There are a few smaller companies that might be able to come up with something we could use, such as:

http://www.cameraturret.com

With stills you can crank up the shutter speed which gives you a decent chance of getting a good exposure-- although we haven't tried that on an externally mounted system either.

FYI, here's some info on the Skyranger

http://www.skyranger.net/page32.html

Actually my partner is the pilot-- I'm the photographer/ground crew/salesman. He gets to have _all_ the fun.


>>By the way, now that I'm working on a fishing show, the boat is getting to become a very useful tool...! <<

Yeah, kinda' hard to fish from a flying platform I suppose. <g>

When I lived in Oahu (up in St. Louis Heights) way back when, I always wanted to go fishing there, but other than some scuba jaunts, never got it together.

I think what I need to do is get a part-time, winter video biz of some kind going there. Anything to get out of this snow crap!

Tim
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