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Old Nov 20, 2010, 06:59 AM
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need recommendation for specific use

Hi all, I'm hoping someone here can help point me in the right direction for buying a heli for a specific use. That use is strapping an HD camera to the heli for recording some fly overs. Specifically this camera: http://www.goprocamera.com/products/...ked-camera.php

The camera weighs 5.9oz so I'll need a heli that can carry that payload either out of the box or by reducing weight by modifying the body.

As far as other factors, this will be my first bigger? heli. I bought one of the syma s107 indoor heli's on ebay and just love the thing. I've been flying all over my house with it and am very comfortable with it. That said, it is just a simple operation heli with up/dwn/left/right/forw/rev function. No roll or any other 3d characteristics. For what I need a bigger heli for, I don't know what I need in terms of performance. I know I need it to be able to fly in a slight breeze, and I really just need basic flight characteristics. I don't really need the footage to be super stable either since I can fix most of that in post.

I've been looking and I'm kind of stuck on the fact that there are hundreds of options out there. I've seen some flying machines that seem to be built for this specific task, but they're in the $2000 and up range. That's just completely out of my price range. If it's a case where it's just not possible to buy a cheaper heli to do what I want to do, then that's fine, I'll just ditch the idea, but it seems to me that there has to be something out there in a cheaper form factor that can do what I want to do.

Just looking for suggestions, advice, thoughts, concerns etc. Let me know what you think. Thx!
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 10:50 AM
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Bergenrc has heli's designed specifically for the task, but are quite pricey and for very good reasons.

http://www.bergenrc.com/

Here's a forum that covers a lot about AP(Aerial Photography).

http://www.helifreak.com/forumdisplay.php?f=53
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 01:43 PM
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You need a minimum 500-class heli to carry the GoPro if you want to use the case. The camera will not fit underneath a 400-class, even without the case. Not to mention the case is fairly heavy and while it would probably lift it fine, a 400-class would not fly very well with that much weight on it.

These bigger helis are easier to fly compared to the little ones, but they are still quite a challenge. You have no idea, really... I suggest getting a simulator and find out. These things are tricky to fly, and hanging a GoPro on it won't make it any harder, but I think you're going to want to focus on the learning to fly aspect, and not the "mounting a camera" aspect, because one is going to be a lot of work, and the other is trivial.
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phlight View Post
I don't really need the footage to be super stable either since I can fix most of that in post.
Actually you can't fix a lot of it. Getting a stable platform is as important as you might think it is. An unstable aircraft is quite different from a shaky hand-held shot or something - it makes the footage un-usable and the best you can get out of it might be some cool still frames (which the GoPro is "decent" for)

You might look into the quad-copters and tri-copters - easier to fly and much more stable. I don't know any more than that about them.
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
These bigger helis are easier to fly compared to the little ones, but they are still quite a challenge. You have no idea, really... I suggest getting a simulator and find out. These things are tricky to fly, and hanging a GoPro on it won't make it any harder, but I think you're going to want to focus on the learning to fly aspect, and not the "mounting a camera" aspect, because one is going to be a lot of work, and the other is trivial.
I get what you're saying. Would it be too much to expect to find a decent heli that would work as a beginner/trainer and also be capable of carrying a camera payload? I've been looking at some of the tricopters on this site over in the AP area, and while that's a very tempting route, I need to learn the fundamentals of heli flying before I ever even thought of embarking on a build. The commercial quads I've seen for carrying cameras seem wicked expensive. I get that the tri's and quads are more stable, and ultimately that would probably be the best route for quality footage.

As for stabilizing, that's why I said "I don't really need the footage to be super stable". I realize there's got to be some vibration isolation etc. in the camera mount so that the footage is within the range of using mocha/AE's motion tracking/IS. I don't expect to duct tape a camera to a hobby heli and expect to get imax quality footage.

I guess what I'm curious about is should I worry about collective pitch and more maneuverable heli's or is a simpler heli all I need for getting some fly over footage? I'd be happy to buy a intermediate heli to learn on before buying what will ultimately carry a camera, and I fully understand I need to train/learn a lot before I even think about trying to get something useful in terms of aerial shots. I didn't want to come off as thinking flying rc heli's is easy. Just looking for some tips on what a good one to buy would be. thx again!
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 07:48 PM
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We do occasionally have a few of the "I throttled up my heli and I didn't understand anything that happened after that".

I didn't think you were in that group of folks, but you never know... we get some, for lack of a better term... "simple minded" folks around here sometimes. So it's always a good idea to remind folks that it takes considerable skill to fly these things, particularly when they seem distracted by something such as wanting to do videos.
Quote:
Would it be too much to expect to find a decent heli that would work as a beginner/trainer and also be capable of carrying a camera payload?
So yeah, you got the right idea, and I understand not being interested in the multi-copters, but you might consider a coaxial, or a large fixed-pitch single rotor heli. There are none of those which could carry a GoPro without upgrades that I know of, but there's plenty of smaller cameras that would work great, even some full HD. The coaxials and the fixed-pitch helis are really the only "trainers" in the heli market - after that, you kind of have to jump all the way in.

If you want to use helicopters to carry any decent camera equipment you're going to need to fly big helicopters, and that means a full-on CP setup. There are some of those which have auto stabilization and so on, but it gets expensive, and we're talking about professional stuff that you can't fly without filing a flight plan. So really the only way to fly big cameras on helis is to learn to fly CP fairly well.

If your goal is great aerial video though, might I suggest a nice airplane?
Some FPV (3 min 4 sec)
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 08:11 PM
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My father in law and brother in law are both rc plane guys and have somewhere around 50 planes between the two of them. My brother in law has a gas powered heli that he's been messing with and both warned me that flying heli's is no child's play, so I'm at least aware of what I have in front of me in terms of learning to fly them, but at the same time, people fly them all the time, so I'm sure it's a matter of learning and doing. I'm not in any hurry here, but rather looking for the path to get from where I am now (complete beginner) to being able to get some usable footage from the sky

I have two types of scenarios that I'd like to be able to do AVP for. One is my day job which is 3d architectural visualization. I'd like to be able to do fly overs of proposed building sites to camera match the new building into. The other is for fly fishing videos that I've been working on for a while now. Both conditions pretty much limit the type of craft I use to a heli due to limited take off and landing real estate. That and the expanded shot options that a heli would provide. For example, I'd like to be able to get some shots hovering above the stream 50 yards from a fly fisherman. For arch-viz, I'd like to be able to orbit a proposed site and get different types of camera moves that I don't think I could get with a plane.

What's propelled me to think more about adding this type of equipment to my video lineup is that it seems like technology is really producing some very nice heli's these days. Like I said in my OP, I got one of those tiny syma heli's, and I'm just amazed that the thing can essentially hover motionless with very little effort. I figured if a little guy like that exists, maybe there's a bigger bird that could carry a camera that is just as stable/easy to fly.

Right now, it seems that I need to find a bigger outdoor heli to practice with. Once I get that down, I can move on to finding a rig that will carry a camera. I'll move on to looking for a good starter heli. <edit> Actually, i think the first thing I'm going to do is buy a simulator. I love sims anyway and have been playing MSFT flight simulator for years.
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Old Nov 20, 2010, 11:12 PM
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Yes definitely - pick up the latest RealFlight and I'll train you online. Or get the latest Phoenix and "CaptJac" does training on that one. You have the resources to learn right, at least. Lots of people don't seem to know or want to find anyone else who does RC... so you will take advantage of that resource and it will help.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Given the constraints you've mentioned I would think a gyro stabilised quadcopter or something similar. I saw some footage from a home built quadcopter and it was super smooth, almost as if it had been shot with a gimbal. They can carry a decent payload due to the multiple rotors and I believe they are easy to fly. I think he used a HD hero camera without the additional case.

The AP section here on rcgroups has some videos posted by a guy who built his own, you should take a look.
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Old May 22, 2015, 04:24 PM
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Here is some more info on Helicopter blades... Since you asked

Fixed Pitch (FP) is exactly that. The pitch of the main rotor blades are held at a fixed or constant angle of attack.

You control the amount of lift to your helicopter by simply varying the speed of the engine/motor. If you increase the speed of the motor, the rotor blades turn faster and produce more lift. The reverse happens if you lower the speed of the motor.



This is a very simple means of controlling the amount of lift to your RC helicopter and if you just want a very simple and inexpensive model heli, this method of controlling lift does work.

This is one of the main reasons fixed pitch is generally what most people who get into the hobby first start out on. Fixed pitch helis are also generally more stable in a hover (in no wind) due to the shape of the high lift rotors and the lower speed in which they spin. There are several draw backs to this type of lift control however.

First off, motors and/or engines, can't just speed up and slow down instantaneously when you give them a command to do so. The mass of the rotor blades and rotor mechanism compound this problem as the engine or electric motor has to overcome the inertia to get the rotor spinning faster or the kinetic energy stored in the rotor assembly to slow it down.

In other words, that's why there are no fairly large fixed pitch RC helicopters out there anymore. In my early nitro heli days, 30 size fixed pitch nitro helis were actually fairly common. They were a bear to hold at a fixed altitude because you were always behind what the heli was doing due to the rotor RPM speed change delays and tail blow out would happen any time you had to give a large speed correction to the rotors.

Most if not all fixed pitch helis now are micro size and as a result of much less heli and blade mass, fixed pitch can work quite well with these little rascals. The Blade mSR & 120SR are two such examples.

Fixed pitch in other words works fairly well up to RC helicopters that have main rotor diameters up to about 12 inches (300mm) or so. After that, the rotor and helicopter mass starts getting to be too much and fine lift control is lost because of the delay in rotor speed changes.
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Old May 22, 2015, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmd1984 View Post
Here is some more info on Helicopter blades... Since you asked

Fixed Pitch (FP) is exactly that. The pitch of the main rotor blades are held at a fixed or constant angle of attack.

You control the amount of lift to your helicopter by simply varying the speed of the engine/motor. If you increase the speed of the motor, the rotor blades turn faster and produce more lift. The reverse happens if you lower the speed of the motor.



This is a very simple means of controlling the amount of lift to your RC helicopter and if you just want a very simple and inexpensive model heli, this method of controlling lift does work.

This is one of the main reasons fixed pitch is generally what most people who get into the hobby first start out on. Fixed pitch helis are also generally more stable in a hover (in no wind) due to the shape of the high lift rotors and the lower speed in which they spin. There are several draw backs to this type of lift control however.

First off, motors and/or engines, can't just speed up and slow down instantaneously when you give them a command to do so. The mass of the rotor blades and rotor mechanism compound this problem as the engine or electric motor has to overcome the inertia to get the rotor spinning faster or the kinetic energy stored in the rotor assembly to slow it down.

In other words, that's why there are no fairly large fixed pitch RC helicopters out there anymore. In my early nitro heli days, 30 size fixed pitch nitro helis were actually fairly common. They were a bear to hold at a fixed altitude because you were always behind what the heli was doing due to the rotor RPM speed change delays and tail blow out would happen any time you had to give a large speed correction to the rotors.

Most if not all fixed pitch helis now are micro size and as a result of much less heli and blade mass, fixed pitch can work quite well with these little rascals. The Blade mSR & 120SR are two such examples.

Fixed pitch in other words works fairly well up to RC helicopters that have main rotor diameters up to about 12 inches (300mm) or so. After that, the rotor and helicopter mass starts getting to be too much and fine lift control is lost because of the delay in rotor speed changes.
You realize this thread is from 2010 right?
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Old May 22, 2015, 04:38 PM
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I'm breaking-in helis.
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o boi
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Old May 22, 2015, 04:42 PM
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Apparently, this guy went looking through my post history to find something to comment on. Bit strange really. Somewhat concerning. No other reason to reply to a 5 year old thread then if he was just looking through my post history to try to make a point about something. I guess there's tons of weirdos out there.
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Old May 22, 2015, 05:56 PM
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Apparently, this guy went looking through my post history to find something to comment on. Bit strange really. Somewhat concerning. No other reason to reply to a 5 year old thread then if he was just looking through my post history to try to make a point about something. I guess there's tons of weirdos out there.
I doubt that. Look at the bottom of every page... there's a "similar threads" section. The chances of someone reading another thread and stumbling across yours is much more likely then somebody taking the time to go through your thread/post history... just to stalk you.

Honestly your comment was rather weird... either that or you're really special...... LOL...

In any case I hope you got your original issue worked out about your heli-cam.. Heli's and Quad and camera technology has grown by leaps and bounds since your original post.
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Old May 22, 2015, 06:02 PM
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Yeah, the forum software sometimes suggests weird "similar threads".

From the Matrix:

"We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI."


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