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Old Aug 29, 2012, 01:27 AM
19-Year-Old Student
Brian Iannone's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Aug 2012
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Help with Building a CineStar 8 (& Copters in General)

Hello everyone. My name is Brian and this is my first post here. I'm new to both this forums and multirotor copters in general. So, nice to meet you all.

I am a photographer and filmmaker. Recently in the world of cinematography, octocopters have become increasingly popular for aerial shooting. I personally like the idea quite a bit as its much less expensive and much more convenient than renting out an actual helicopter (to say the least).

So, I would like to build an octocopter. Before I begin though, allow me to say that I know nothing about RC devices and have no experience flying helicopters or multirotor copters, so I apologize if I use incorrect terminology.

I would like to use a CineStar 8 frame and build an octocopter by either purchasing a build-your-own kit from Quadrocopter.us or individual components and assembling it myself. I liked the idea of Quadrocopter's ready-to-fly kits, however as with most products that come ready-to-use, I assume that there's some overhead cost in the convenience of having it preassembled. So I'd like to avoid that.

Here are my questions:

1. I see that Quadrocopter's CineStar 8 kits uses QC3328 motors. The specifications list this octocopter as being able to lift approximately 2,000 grams, or 4.4 pounds, of weight. Is there any way to get this octocopter to lift a heavier payload, either by using different motors or by reducing the throttle while flying? If so, what would you recommend? I plan on using a Blackmagic Cinema Camera (weighing 5.1 pounds) with this copter.

2. Quadrocopter's CineStar 8 octocopters come with MikroKopter flight control system. I've heard quite a bit about DJI's WooKong-M. Is one better than the other? And also, is it possible to install WooKong-M into one of Quadrocopter's build-it-yourself CineStar 8 kits?

3. I watched a few of the assembly and setup videos on the CineStar 8 and it seems like there's quite a bit of calibration to do once assembly of the octocopter is complete. For someone like me who knows nothing about octocopters or RC devices, will this be impossibly difficult or doable?

4. I would like to use the CineStar 3-Axis Camera Mount. Can this mount support the weight of a 5.1 pound camera while still maintaining motor control? Also, how is the gimbal controlled in a one-person setup? (I would assume with the same transmitter that is used for controlling the octocopter.) If so, how many channel-support do I need in a transmitter? I was looking at Spektrum's DX18. Any thoughts?

5. Is there any way to get this CineStar 8 to lift a 10-15 pound payload? My primary camera is a RED Scarlet, however I chose to purchase a Blackmagic Cinema Camera to use solely as my "aerial cam" as I was told that an octocopter capable of lifting the weight of a complete Scarlet or EPIC setup (around 10 pounds) would cost at least $20K. My budget is currently $11,500 for an octocopter.

6. In terms of wireless video transmission for a live feed on the ground... To be honest, I'm not sure I understand what specific components are required to achieve this. I would really appreciate a list of what I need to for this! One issue I became aware of is that many live video systems require the camera to supply a component or S-video input. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera has an SDI output. One possibility is to use a Blackmagic Battery Converter (weighing 0.8 pounds) to convert the SDI signal to HDMI and then use Freefly's HDMI Converter to convert the HDMI signal into something usable.

7. Freefly's Radian Stabilization Module... My question about this is basically, how do I incorporate this into the octocopter, what do I plug it into and how much do they weigh?

I do have more questions, but after reading some answers for these I'm sure I will have a slightly better understanding of this system.

I do apologize about my number of questions, but I quite literally know very little about this. I would really appreciate any help!
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 06:18 AM
Registered User
Romania, Dolj, Craiova
Joined Sep 2007
15,210 Posts
I would start first a serious training stage with a $200 quad unit and a GoPro camera.
Seems you didn't encountered yet that very unpopular, but sadly true saying in this field "don't airborne what you are not prepared to pick from the ground... made pieces"

PS: there is some recent buzz on the net, I am sure you are aware about this subject... that an obscure $900 500 grams camera issued better movies than a bunch of REDs and Canons. Hint: Copolla himself said this
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 06:41 AM
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Austria, Sbg., Salzburg
Joined Jun 2012
20 Posts
Get this first:

http://www.quadrocopter.com/Cinestar...oad_p_619.html

Cinestar Build Guide now Available. (4 min 54 sec)


Make no mistake....to be able to produce the smooth footage which is widely sread all over the net requires a lot of knowledge....not about film and video (I am sure there you know your stuff) but about all the things which are involved in the field of RC stuff. You won't get away with a nice shopping list and then nail your bird together and be a flying Steven Spielberg. I was not a virgin in terms of RC, but when I started with Multirotors I spent about 3 month just studying all the different terms involved to just understand what the hell is going on. Sorry to say, but there is no such thing than get a Cinestar quickly in the air (without crashing it immediately)

Chris
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 07:52 AM
What's a servo?
Australia, QLD, Brisbane
Joined Nov 2008
447 Posts
You are pretty much going to get the same advice from all of the ancient members here who still have the enthusiam to respond to your question.
It is a rather common event that a film maker has logged in and asked what airframe would be required and how many weekends would be needed to learn to capture aerial footage with their Red EPIC for an upcoming feature film.
The frequency of such a belief is high. The frequency of this being the reality is zero.

If you are serious about it, than buy a RTF quad anywhere between 450 sized up to 600 sized. Make sure your kit is from non propriatary frame parts, flight controller, etc. Locally available parts. Buy a crash kit at the same time when you purchase the RTF kit.

Fly and you will crash. Repair and fly and you will crash again. Many FC's have pilot aids and can minimize the crashing frequency, fly and fly and fly some more.
Fly around until you can do figure 8 circuits in reverse and more, and repair enough that you understand your machine and every characteristic about it. That you can immediately identify what is likely wrong with your machine when you observe some erratic behaviour whilst flying.

Whilst your learning how to fly (its really not that hard, dont be scared off) you need to read and read and read all of the information regarding a larger setup such as a Cinestar.
Read and learn about payloads. Read and learn about efficiencies. Read and learn about motor and prop selections. Learn about live view downlinks. Learn about RF links and necessary equipment, and tips and tricks.
Read about everything. Learn about what is reasonable expectations with aerial video and what isn't.

By the time you purchase your Cinestar, you will be competent enough that the questions you have asked you will be able to answer yourself.
And lastly, you can (very arguably) get similar results from a Canon SLR or a Sony Nex series than with your Epic. But, the more you research and learn the more you will see for yourself as to which side your on when it comes to this debate.

Keep us updated with your milestones if you feel so inclined.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 04:34 PM
19-Year-Old Student
Brian Iannone's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Aug 2012
3 Posts
I do thank you all for your replies, however I would really appreciate some answers to these questions.

After building this octocopter, if I find that I am unable to fly it due to lack of experience (which is quite a likely possibility), I have a pilot to takeover for me while I stand by. So I am now only concerned with building this machine.

Also, I would like to thank you Noob Mike for your very in-depth reply. Thank you for the information.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 08:32 PM
19-Year-Old Student
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Joined Aug 2012
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Bump : )
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 03:43 PM
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Joined Oct 2011
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Before you purchase, give me a call. I'm also a videographer and bought a Cinestar 6 10 months ago. Larry
610-648-0385
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 03:49 PM
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Joined Oct 2011
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Before you buy. Contact me. I'm a videographer and own a Cinestar 6 for 10 months
Larry 610-648-0385
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 04:30 PM
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Kyle D.'s Avatar
Troy, Michigan
Joined May 2006
491 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by marysea View Post
Before you buy. Contact me. I'm a videographer and own a Cinestar 6 for 10 months
Larry 610-648-0385

Out of curiosity how did that go for you? Did you have any rc experience? I feel like this is a pretty common question so o was just wondering how it went for you?
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 09:13 AM
AD6-HL, MK3638, Pro Mount-200
Panama TJ's Avatar
Panama
Joined Oct 2011
216 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob Mike View Post
You are pretty much going to get the same advice from all of the ancient members here who still have the enthusiam to respond to your question.
It is a rather common event that a film maker has logged in and asked what airframe would be required and how many weekends would be needed to learn to capture aerial footage with their Red EPIC for an upcoming feature film.
The frequency of such a belief is high. The frequency of this being the reality is zero.

If you are serious about it, than buy a RTF quad anywhere between 450 sized up to 600 sized. Make sure your kit is from non propriatary frame parts, flight controller, etc. Locally available parts. Buy a crash kit at the same time when you purchase the RTF kit.

Fly and you will crash. Repair and fly and you will crash again. Many FC's have pilot aids and can minimize the crashing frequency, fly and fly and fly some more.
Fly around until you can do figure 8 circuits in reverse and more, and repair enough that you understand your machine and every characteristic about it. That you can immediately identify what is likely wrong with your machine when you observe some erratic behaviour whilst flying.

Whilst your learning how to fly (its really not that hard, dont be scared off) you need to read and read and read all of the information regarding a larger setup such as a Cinestar.
Read and learn about payloads. Read and learn about efficiencies. Read and learn about motor and prop selections. Learn about live view downlinks. Learn about RF links and necessary equipment, and tips and tricks.
Read about everything. Learn about what is reasonable expectations with aerial video and what isn't.

By the time you purchase your Cinestar, you will be competent enough that the questions you have asked you will be able to answer yourself.
And lastly, you can (very arguably) get similar results from a Canon SLR or a Sony Nex series than with your Epic. But, the more you research and learn the more you will see for yourself as to which side your on when it comes to this debate.

Keep us updated with your milestones if you feel so inclined.
I started with NO R/C experience, first rig was an AD6-HL (since August 2011), and ohh boy we did crash plenty of times, but we did not obliterated our rig since I had at least 40 hours of simulator time, maybe reducing noobness exponentially. Also by crashing led me to learn how to fix it, you NEED to learn about brushless motors, Lipo batteries, frames, gimbals, flight controls, downlinks, transmitters, receivers, soldering, electronics, wavelenghts. Im an industrial engineer, and let me tell you, you gotta read and study a $#it load.

But its all worth it, hurrying it wont help out, if I had to go back again, I would had bought a small quad copter (easier to repair). But in my case my learning curve was exponentially improved by tackling a bigger heli out of the noob school, if you got a willing wallet, or associate which is my case, go for it, but don't forget, if you want to succeed, you better be studying all the time.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 09:38 AM
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FL
Joined Nov 2003
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This is the thread where seismicwave needs to chime in...

Yeah man, learn RC in general first. maybe start with some small planes and rtf helis and quads. There is a lot to learn, and an expensive octo is not a place to start. heck, I've been doing RC for a long time and I still have a hard time with multi rotors. they are not as simple as they look.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Hawaii
Joined Feb 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingbreaker View Post
This is the thread where seismicwave needs to chime in...

Yeah man, learn RC in general first. maybe start with some small planes and rtf helis and quads. There is a lot to learn, and an expensive octo is not a place to start. heck, I've been doing RC for a long time and I still have a hard time with multi rotors. they are not as simple as they look.
Sorry Seismic has retired from being the bad guy. No one listens anyway. Ask the OP. He will not listen anyway no matter what anyone said. There will also be wannabes that think flying RC and doing AP is as simple as spending a bunch of money. I will not fight this concept anymore. Helping them seems like a thankless job for me.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 11:40 AM
AD6-HL, MK3638, Pro Mount-200
Panama TJ's Avatar
Panama
Joined Oct 2011
216 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeismicCWave View Post
Sorry Seismic has retired from being the bad guy. No one listens anyway. Ask the OP. He will not listen anyway no matter what anyone said. There will also be wannabes that think flying RC and doing AP is as simple as spending a bunch of money. I will not fight this concept anymore. Helping them seems like a thankless job for me.
Well I think his intentions were frugal, I learned the hard way, still learning everyday, not for the faint of heart.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 08:35 AM
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FL
Joined Nov 2003
2,779 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeismicCWave View Post
Sorry Seismic has retired from being the bad guy. No one listens anyway. Ask the OP. He will not listen anyway no matter what anyone said. There will also be wannabes that think flying RC and doing AP is as simple as spending a bunch of money. I will not fight this concept anymore. Helping them seems like a thankless job for me.
just go about things in a different manner and your efforts will not be thankless.
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Old Jan 01, 2013, 01:58 AM
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Joined Mar 2007
140 Posts
Hi all
i have been flying a multicopter for some time now with the Wookong-M and JR 11 ch DSMX radio... however, i am now changing my cam mount to the Cine Star 3 Axis....and want both options... a single pilot operation and a 2 pilot operation... So with my current 11 channels i am in trouble... i need 9 channels for Wookong functions and 6 ch for 3 axis Cine Star gimbals for single pilot operation, that makes it a total of 15 ch. So can someone please advise... i am planning to order the Spectrum DX18 with the X Plus expansion module so i get 18 ch. The 10ch of the RX are 2048 Resolution and 8 outputs of X Plus module are 512 Resolution. So if i use 6 ch from the X Plus module for Radians, would the performance of Radians reduce cause the resolution would be 512 OR would it be possible that i designate the servo channels to Radians servo output from the 2048 resolution channels, and designate the 512 Resolution channels from X Plus output to the Mode operation of Radians, in which case, i would be sending two different resolution data to the Radians, and would that create a problem for Radian operation. A last option is also there like this, don't know if it will all work...
Rx Outputs ---
ch 1 to 4 for primary flying control of Wookong-M
ch 5 to 10 ( total 6) to the 3 Radians
X Plus Outputs -----
ch X1 to X6 of X Plus module to Wookong-M functions that r operated with switches and levers and knobs, like Tilt, IOC, Mode, Click, Zoom, Fail Safe.
Regards
Ramesh Tahlan
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