1/24/2011 update: Just discovered I can get insurance on first class shipping and I don't have to use priority mail, so the shipping (insured) is now reduced to $5!
anywhere in the continental USA.
For the longest time I've been watching fliers mount cameras onto all sorts of planes and helicopters using all forms of attachment… Tape, Glue, Rubber Bands, Velcro… Some mounts have been cleverly designed and wonderfully executed but unavailable to most of us looking for an inexpensive, "plug-and-play" solution. For the "improvised" solutions, it’s not been uncommon to hear of cameras falling off in mid-flight! The other problem I’ve seen is the inability to fine tune and adjust where the camera is pointed once the camera has been attached to the plane.
The videos that have been posted here on RCG have been great to watch, with some of them being fantastic and the idea of being able to see what our planes "sees" could not be more addictive! I discovered this thrill during the development of my first UAV for a client years ago! What a Blast! So after learning about the popular 808 key chain camera, I bought one and flew it…. Then I bought two more! I LOVE them!
Having worked with cameras/video/film and optics for almost 20 years on projects ranging from military UAV’s to toy cameras, wireless texting devices, to deep-sea diving camera housings as well as creating motion picture special effects, I’ve had my share of experience working with cameras of all sizes and the challenges of mounting them. Mounting a camera onto a plane that wasn’t designed to be an AP platform can be even more challenging! Learning what these little cameras were capable of, I began wanting more variety in my camera angles… I also realized others might want the same.
Coming from a history of producing RC aircraft kits since the early 90’s and as long a history prototyping all sorts of products, I decided it was time to design and build a “better mousetrap” that could be produced in quantity, easy to use and inexpensive! I wanted a camera mount I could place anywhere on my plane, boats and helicopters, poles, helmets, people, pets (you get the idea). It would need to be mounted and removed as easily as a rubber band mounted wing and I didn’t want it falling off during flight! Once mounted, I wanted it to provide as many shooting angles as possible: (at least 360 degree panorama and 180 degree tilt). I also wanted the camera to be able to move through these angles smoothly, (without incremental steps) and as easily as pointing the camera and releasing it. I also wanted it to be LIGHT (…under one ounce!) …I also wanted it to cost under $10!
What I came up with is a device I call “EyePod”.
EyePod is a universal camera mount that is as easily attached as it is removed to just about any surface, yet is secure. (Shortly after creating the OV-10 Video, I crashed hard (Pilot error), the twin booms broke and one of the motor mounts and cowl were ripped off the plane… Not only did the cameras remain in their EyePod mounts, but the mounts themselves remained fixed where I placed them!
The camera fits firmly secured into a friction fit slot yet is easily removed from the camera ball turret. The camera ball turret is then free to rotate (Pan) 360 degrees and tilt over 180 degrees. This provides an almost endless variety of camera positions ranging from videotaping the plane it’s mounted on from a wing tip towards the cockpit, cowl or tail, to pointing downward surveying the ground it’s flying over.
So far, there is a “Standard” (rectangular shape) and an "Aerodynamic" version, each weighing in at 15 grams! Other EyePods are slated to go into production soon including a helicopter mount and one specifically designed for sailplanes. Additional sizes to accommodate larger cameras are being developed with the largest EyePod (designed for much larger cameras and aircraft), incorporating a foam injected two piece camera ball that also provides protection for the larger more expensive cameras.) Remotely controlled Pan and Tilt adaptations are being developed and will be shared here once perfected.
After 8 months (testing, modifying, patent searches, patent filing, photo shooting the build and test flying the final EyePod), tooling to produce the EyePod is now nearing completion with shipping of the first run of 50 units expected to begin before the end of the month. The building threads have been photographed to completion and are in the process of being written and edited. Building the EyePod kit is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. I should have most of the build posted (here), before the end of the month.
The EyePod comes complete with everything you need to build it.
Molded turret ball (Two halves)
Molded top shell
Molded base shell
Depron foam (Internal supports)
Bamboo rods (Rubber band mounts)
Elastic Cord (Turret tension)
Plastic Tube (Elastic positioning locks)
Foam Rubber (Vibration and friction dampening)
Weight: 15 grams
Length: 5 3/4”
Width: 2 1/2”
Ball Diameter: 2 1/16”
Price for either the aerodynamic or rectangular EyePod is $9.95 (Plus $8 S&H Insured Priority Mail) If you are interested in getting on the list for the first run of 50, please email me at: www.jarelaircraftdesign.com
and let m know which version (Standard or Aerodynamic), you’d like… When the kits are ready to ship, I will notify you by email regarding payment and shipping logistics.
I’m attaching some photos of both EyePods with some ideas as to how they can be mounted along with some photos of my previous work with cameras (you might be familiar with some)
and the first of several videos created using the EyePod… This one was created on a 48” span Park Flyer foam and vacuum formed plastic scale OV-10 Bronco war bird. Additional videos were shot on even smaller planes including the E-Flight Fokker Slow Flyer ARF and are currently being edited. I’ll be posting soon!
Thanks for visiting!