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Recommendations for the most smooth camera platform

#1
Want to build a very smooth stable platform for a GoPro. Lots of options, have been trying to weed through it with little success. Have seen some very smooth great footage but most is hard to watch, way to much movement. Thought I would ask for recommendation from this very experienced group. Not FPV. The challenge for all those experienced users and builders, what you have learned, the hard, expensive way and what you you do now for the best smoothest platform?

Have watched videos from the hands off controls and the copter still floats around, not steady rock solid. So, here it is, what can we design as a group?
 

Johntra

Senior Member
#3
A gimbal is probablay the most smooth way to shoot video. But they can get quite pricey. Plus you need some kind of gimbal controller.
 

Johntra

Senior Member
#4

Here is a video of what I am talking about. It shows you the comparison of the "un-gimbaled" to the one on the gimbal.
 
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Shadow74

Multi-rotor madman
#5
Well this is my 2 cents, so here goes. :)


Achieving this happens through quite a few things goin on at once. First and foremost (from what i have found) you have to start with a stable copter. You can have the most awesome mount in the world and with the wrong copter you are still gonna get typical bumpy/shaky/jello youtube crap when it comes to footage. so........start with a good copter. One copter that I have found that I believe fits this category (as far as one you can buy from a company) is the Cinestar Revolution by Quadrocopter. They make a Cinestar 6 and 8 with optional GPS, position hold, and the best (imho) 3 axis gyro stabilized gimbal i have ever seen. These machines are state of the art, and have the power to carry everything from a GoPro up to a RED EPIC cinema camera. Here is a video featuring this setup:

(enjoy because this is STELLAR piloting/camera work)

[video=vimeo;35432485]http://vimeo.com/35432485[/video]

the Cinestar copters, are unfortunately out of my price range, and because I still want to produce quality aerial videos I set out to invent my own. (admittedly however, with all the R/D I have put into doing this I could have probably bought a Cinestar 6 and been done with it.

things I have learned about getting good footage. Copter cannot have a small footprint. A gaui 330 imho is just too small. and so are most of the out-of-the-box quads. the more motors, the more stable. tricopters are awesome to fly, but cannot even compare to a quad for gathering smooth footage especially when doing slow stuff in a hover. (tri-copters excel at faster follow footage of like a motorcycle etc.) they just won't sit still enough. A quad cannot compare to a hexa.... and so on. the heavier your multi rotor is, the better and more rock solid they fly....problem then is powering it for more than 4-5 minutes. For filming, i will no longer fly anything setup to fly with a 3-cell. My new Angry Bird Quad, flys the Cinestar's motors with 14x4.7 props and a 50C 5 cell lipo. i am not saying it can't be done, but if you build a machine that is gonna carry anything more than a gopro forget it. For Gopro only machines you can make a 3 cell system work, but you will get WAY more power and flight time if you go to something setup for 4-cell. the guy at FPV manuals who sells the Delrin version of David W's tricopter, advertises 28 minutes flights with a go pro using two 3300mah 4S lipo's running in parallel. It is not the prettiest machine to look at, has wooden arms etc. but flies for a LONG time. The more rigid the frame, the better footage you will get, because the less vibration transfer throughout the copter frame it self. I discovered this when I built my first big quad from metal arms, then when i built another duplicate frame using wood arms, it was full of vibrations that are not present in my metal armed version. Prop balancing is an art.....one that you MUST not only get "good" at, but AMAZING at. I have spent as long as 30+ minutes a piece precision balancing my props for my multirotors. You have to static balance not only the blades, but also the center hubs. then dynamic balance after that. Prop balancing is CRITICAL to good footage.

I could go on and on about the copter, but lets move on to the camera/boom.

Once you have a nice WIDE platform to carry your gopro, mounting it to the copter is next. Would be nice if gopros just flew themselves....would save a lot of hassle. I have experienced that keeping the weight that you are carrying in line with the forward flying plane of the aircraft, keeps it from penduluming the copter around, and making it "pitchy" when it flies. Most guys mount their cameras under the copter, however that can make your copter fly goofy at high speeds. In a hover, it is usually not to bad, but there are gonna be times when filming where you will need to accelerate to follow a boat or a motorcycle and when you go to transition back to a hover the weight hanging underneath wants to keep going forward and pitches up the nose of the copter. the other bad thing about hanging a go pro underneath is that the wide angle lens picks up the landing gear, and the props/boom arms. putting the go pro out on a boom in front and counterbalancing with the battery(s) in the back keeps everything in line, and gets the go pro out front where it can do what its supposed to, capture great footage. There are 2 things to do about vibration.....minimize what the copter is creating through a rigid frame, proper balancing of props etc. and then dealing with the inevitable vibration that is left over. Vibrations (from what I have experienced through trial and error) need to have a path to travel. Minimizing the contact point between your camera boom and the copter helps tremendously to deal with existing vibrations. Once the few vibrations that manage to get through that point travel out the boom, the next step is up the wooden risers to the secondary camera boom. most all of them dissipate at that point.

going to eat dinner......will write more later.

remember, this is just my 2 cents, from my experiences.....I am by no means considering myself an expert. Just sharing what has worked with my designs, and what hasn't.

Cheers!

Eric
 
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#6
Input has been great. For each comment has required much time to follow up with research. Learning much. Like to hear more.

Eric, was dinner good? grin
 

Shadow74

Multi-rotor madman
#7
Input has been great. For each comment has required much time to follow up with research. Learning much. Like to hear more.

Eric, was dinner good? grin


Dinner was excellent! (my lovely wife made spaghetti and steamed asparagus marinated in garlic butter) good stuff!

;)


Cheers!


Eric