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Under Water, Over Land
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Old November 21st, 2007, 03:05 PM   #1
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Location: New York
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RC Vehicle for capturing wildlife

Has anyone experimented with using a remote control car or truck for capturing wildlife footage? I can envision an application for small animals, shorebirds and would like something to mount a small cam (Like Canon HV 20) to. Probably needs fat tires.

Wondering is anyone has done this already, as the variety of RC cars is overwhelming.

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Old November 25th, 2007, 10:43 PM   #2
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Location: Saskatchewan
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From what i have seen of rc cars they are all quite noisey!!

If you could get an electric powered one i could see using one to film the mud flats where so much waterfowl and shorebirds frequent !!!
the range of the remote control would be the limiting factor along with not having a close up visual of what is in front of the camera.
I can see it now, dress it up like a duck body with a hidden camera, have a shotgun mic on it and if nothing else, when the engine is off the audio you get could be truly stunning.

Intersting idea.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old November 26th, 2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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Hello Bob:

Recently I watched a show on Equator HD (Bell Expressvu TV) the show was about water buffalo in Africa. They used numerous RC vehicals to get up close some were made to look like rocks others as Turtles and some as bushes. It was amazing how close they were getting to the various wild life. There was even a scene where one of the vehicals lost RC connection and sort of went off on it's own.

The pro's are using them for sure...if I find the name of the show I'll pass it on to you....it was Japanese VO to English.

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Old November 26th, 2007, 09:26 PM   #4
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Location: Orange County CA
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We filmed wildlife in Africa and various locations around the US using Remote Controlled Helicopters.
The shoots that required low noise, we used electric battery powered helis, but most of the shots were done with big awsome gas powered stuff.

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Old November 27th, 2007, 08:09 AM   #5
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RC vehicles

Just back from a two week shoot for Animal Planet in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. We planned on using an electric powered remote control Hummer toy - a big one, about 25 inches long - as a camera vehicle. We had a number of plans for it; getting a meercat - eye view of elephant, getting it into a pride of lion on a kill - basically drive it right into the pride and see what happened. that kind of thing. We mounted a Sony HDV-HCR1 on the roof, and set off into the bush. What happened was that the weight of the camera - even though it is only 800 gms or so - was too much for the vehicle to handle on rough terrain. It was fine on short grass, but the Hummer got bogged down in the ruts made by animal's hooves, and got stuck. Plus what seems a reasonable range for a toy is no use at all in the real world - no signal beyond twenty five yards or so, and the beast stuck in the mud with spinning wheels.

Not a success!

I know guys who have made this work though. I suggest you get the most powerful, and controllable, vehicle you can afford, and the lightest camera.

At least with ducks you are unlikely to get attacked retreiving the thing if it all goes wrong!
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Old November 28th, 2007, 08:18 AM   #6
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Thanks, Robert. That's sort of what I was thinking about doing, a pick up truck or tank model. I liked the idea of a tank for its tracks and perhaps the ability to hack the turret to make the camera pan.

I think the gadget used in the other wildlife film was known as the "critter cam," they dressed it up as a rock and as a pile of turds.

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