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Posted by Mike SF | Jul 07, 2014 @ 06:16 PM | 2,266 Views
I have been working on a small web site (DiscoveriesFromAbove.com) since spring and finally finished it. To promote it, I created my first showreel with some cool footage I have not used before. Most of the footage was shot using a AG500 gimbal with either the Sony RX100 or NEX-5. It also contains footage from my recent trip to Europe where I flew a Phantom with a GoPro.

Aerial Show Reel (2 min 11 sec)


I also added a Facebook page , so if you are using Facebook, follow or friend me.
Posted by Mike SF | Jun 06, 2014 @ 01:11 AM | 2,611 Views
Tiburon and Belvedere - San Francisco Bay (3 min 8 sec)

Tiburon has celebrated their 50th anniversary end of May 2014, with a huge celebration on Shoreline Park and Main Street, as well as a Black-Tie gala at the Corinthian Yacht Club. The Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society asked me to provide aerial footage from Tiburon for this gala event to surprise the guests. The flying and filming was done in cooperation with the Town of Tiburon.

The video here is my own cut. David from the Landmarks Society created an own video for the gala event that also contains still footage from Tiburon. His video can be seen here...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike SF | Feb 26, 2014 @ 05:14 PM | 2,069 Views
Posted by Mike SF | Feb 26, 2014 @ 05:04 PM | 2,519 Views
The AlexMos gimbal controller allows very smooth camera tilt movements, especially in speed mode. In a one operator setup, this is achieved by using a knob or slider on your radio to control the tilt angle. The problem with this setup, is that it's not easy to fly and control the tilt angle at the same time. For example flying backwards, ascend and tilt down the camera at the same time.

So I build a head tracker that is now controlling the camera tilt angle. What's unusual is that the head tracker is directly attached the radio and not to my head. This has the advantage of not being tethered to my radio. It's very inconvenient in the field. And it avoids any camera movement when I just want to look at the copter or down at the radio to check the telemetry data.

The whole setup isn't very complicated:

* I build the DYS head tracker described here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1677559

* I'm using a Taranis radio, which has an empty TX module bay. The perfect place to install the head tracker and connect it to the radio power and PPM In. The power comes directly from the TX module connector (you need to power on the internal RF module in OpenTX), but for the PPM In you need to solder a wire to a small pad inside the radio (it's actually not too small, so with some soldering skills it's easy to do).

* The head tracker has a momentary switch to set the center of the tracker's sensor. I replaced one of the Taranis switches (it has a lot) with this...Continue Reading
Posted by Mike SF | Aug 22, 2013 @ 01:37 PM | 2,073 Views
During the Tiburon Art Festival in August 2013, the work of painter Kiril Jeliazkov was installed along Tiburon’s paths and bayside parks. Mr. Jeliazkov had 128 of his stunning 20’ x 10’ paintings installed with the SF Bay, hillsides and sun dappled vistas as his “gallery” for ten incredible days. This was the first time that Mr. Jeliazkov’s work has appeared in the Western United States. See more if his work here: artseasons-bg.com

Art By The Bay - Tiburon Art Festival 2013 (3 min 1 sec)

Posted by Mike SF | Aug 22, 2013 @ 01:36 PM | 2,108 Views
Posted by Mike SF | May 07, 2013 @ 09:57 AM | 5,849 Views
Posted by Mike SF | Nov 15, 2012 @ 07:15 PM | 2,911 Views
Posted by Mike SF | Nov 01, 2012 @ 05:25 PM | 2,916 Views
When building the UAP1 copter, my goal was to separate the video equipment from the GPS sensor and avoid the need for putting the Naza GPS on the std. pole. And I wanted to make it easy to take off the top and bottom section (for maintenance and transport). So this is how it looks like now:
On the top section are the Naza FC, the Nazs GPS, the DL receiver, the EzOSD GPS and the failsave buzzer.
On the middle section are the ESCs, the PDB and the EzOSD current sensor.
On the bottom section are the flight cam, the VTx and video antenna (pointing down), the EzOSD and the battery.

This setup also minimize the number of wires betweeen these three sections. To each wire that runs between these three sections I added another connector in the middle. I mostly used MicroDeans because they are polarized and with some additional epoxy they become very reliable, even when used often. Also they are available with 2, 3 and 4 pins. I try to eliminate standard weaknesses and cable connections are on top of my list.
So these are the wires between the sections:
- Naza to PD: 1 JST connector. Naza powers Receiver.
- Naza to ESC: 2 Micro Deans.
- EzOSD to GPS: 1 MicroDean
Posted by Mike SF | Sep 19, 2012 @ 05:40 PM | 2,826 Views
The UAP1 is currently a quad copter, so I can get familar with the Naza FC, the new 5.8 GHz FPV gear and the EzOSD. Once I'm comfortable with this setup, I intend to re-configure it into a Y6.

Here are the specs:
Arms are 13.5" long - 16mm CF (1.5mm wall) from Goodwinds. MTM is 27"
Arms are attached with the removable clamps to they can be detached for transport.
Rusty’s tube legs 9.5" long (12mm CF, 1mm wall from RCFoam). Angled 15 degress. Feet are golf foam practise balls (Amazon).
Rusty's anti-vibration motor mounts.
Avroto M2814-11S short shaft motors, connected with MicroDeans to the ESCs.
Graupner 11x5 props
DYS 30A ESCs with SimonK firmware, soldered to the PD board. ESC's are connected to the FC using just the white wire.
Rusty's PD-1 power distribution board.
Turnigy Nano-Tech 4000mAh 4S 35C battery.
DragonLink with Turnigy er9x.
Failsafe buzzer.
Naza + GPS flight controller
Round UAP1 damper plates 6 soft threaded dampers and the older manual camera tilt
Sony RX100 camera
Camera RMRC-600XV 600TVL WDR CCD with build in microphone
Immersion 5.8GHz 600mV video transmitter
5.8 GHz Circular Wireless SPW antenna
EzOSD

Weight with batteries 2.6 kg.
Posted by Mike SF | Sep 19, 2012 @ 05:37 PM | 2,720 Views
After flying a Scarab Triikopter last year, I moved on to a more powerful copter: a UAP1 from Rusty. The tricopter was a good copter and great for learing how to fly a multicopter (especially in manual / ARCO mode) and setup all the FPV equipment. But with the FPV gear and GoPro, the weight was really at it's limits. I also wanted something that can be flown in some wind and can carry a bigger camera.

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That's a video made using the tricopter. Not great from a flying and editing perspective, but still a good start.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eTEzsBUx78&feature=plcp