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Old Feb 12, 2007, 11:42 PM
JettPilot's Avatar
Miami
Joined Apr 2005
10,432 Posts
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FPV Camera mounting.... Some thoughts and suggestions.

Here are some things to think about when mounting your FPV camera. Most people dont put much thought into camera position and just copy others that put the camera on the planes fuselage so that the airplanes nose and prop is blocking much of the bottom part of the video. Where do you look when flying FPV... Most of the time you look down at the ground, so it makes no sense whatsoever to block out exactly what you will be looking at most often.

Many people have the prop and nose of their plane visible in their camera just because that is the way they see it in full scale airplanes. Having a prop in front of you in GA planes sucks, its done out necessity, not because its something you want. Ever sit in an F-16, you can barely see the nose or the wings, its GREAT, same with a sailplane ! Ever see a predator UAV video, those guys dont have a nose blocking thier view either. Many people fly ultralights and hang gliders, to get rid of the prop, and the spam in a can feeling with limited visibility. The best flying is to fly like a bird, with nothing blocking your view, not like you are enclosed in a can, and looking at scale non-working instruments

The best position for a camera on an RC plane is out on the wing, or in the nose of a pusher like an Easystar, far enough foward that the nose and wings never come into view. It will take most people about 5 minutes to realize that you dont need a nose constantly blocking your view to fly FPV. You just need to be open minded and and be able to accept new ideas.

Here is something everyone should try.... Watch one of my videos full screen, ( they have no nose or any part of the plane visible ) Then cut out a peice of colored paper in the shape of the nose of an airplane, tape it to the bottom of your monitor so that it blocks about 1/2 of the bottom part of the screen, now you have see a planes nose in the video. Which one do you like better ? Which way gives you a better view of what you want to see, the video with the paper "nose" taped to the monitor blocking the ground ?? Or no paper ????

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk9MoRBO1PA

Real freedom of flight is flying like a bird, with nothing blocking your view. I have done it in both FPV and full scale, and nothing compares to it. Here are a couple of pictures of aircraft that give a truly amazing flight experience.
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Old Feb 13, 2007, 04:21 AM
Happy FPV flyer
Kilrah's Avatar
Switzerland
Joined Sep 2006
4,466 Posts
Give me a full high-definition FPV setup with active camera stabilizatzion, add a 5km range to actually be able to see more than always the same area and then I'll maybe put the camera to have an unobstructed view, as I'll really feel like if I were up there, seeing the same level of detail. For now the relatively limited experience standard cams give (in terms of image detail and "span" compared to full-scale) makes me prefer having a bit more interaction with what actually gives me the ability to be up there, rather than simply moving landscape. Hey, we're not meant for this, and the airplane is there to bring us up. It deserves some credit being on the video too
IMO, it makes the images more "lively". I'll quickly get bored flying over the same area for 30 mins with nothing else in view. I like getting a good view over the wing, then maybe look a moment between the wing and prop to have a clear view this time, then on the instrument panel, do some aerobatics...

Mind you, I agree in full scale the less you have around you the better. I've flown on an ultralight and that was really awesome.
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Old Feb 13, 2007, 05:56 AM
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PeteSchug's Avatar
Elmhurst, NY (Queens in NYC)
Joined Apr 2004
7,042 Posts
Here are two pictures, both taken from my pico Tiger Moth. How I shoot the video depends on what I want to do.

In one picture nothing of the plane shows. In the other the fact that you can see the airplane enhances the feeling of being in the airplane, chasing the other plane. The weird colors are the result of multipath reflections off the steel structure of the building.

Most of the full sized gliders I have flown had excellent visibility. Some actually have the wing at eye level so you can comfortably look over or under the wing for an unobstructed view to the rear. Bolkow made a lightplane (I forgot the designation or if Bolkow was the builder or designer) that had the wing oriented at eye level for the same reason.

The view from my Easy Star has only the yaw string in the image, but if I look down I can see the working compass. Whether the compass is actually useful I haven't decided yet. I will probably go the OSD route, but the idea of putting usable instrumentation in view of the camera interests me.

I want to build a 1/4 scale Grunau Baby so I can fly an open cockpit glider. I can actually stick a full sized pellet variometer in it and feel right at home, since that is the type of variometer I first learned to fly with.

The camera goes where it goes depending on the video I want to shoot.

Pete

Edit: BTW, when I practice in my RC flight sim I have an unobstructed view. I am slowly getting to where I make good landings, but I still bounce (small bounces) fairly often. Better that than to stall while a foot or two up. I need something with wheels that can handle the grass at our field so I can practice touch and goes.
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Old Feb 13, 2007, 07:32 AM
Live FPV or Die
VRflyer's Avatar
Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
3,961 Posts
All the planes I made before the head gyro had the cam with no obstruct view. I had the feeling to do aerial video not really fly planes, I prefer to see the nose and wing. Head gyro have a drift, it`s preferable to have something fix in front of the cam as reference. All UAV have the camera under tha planes for perfect view to groud, but these planes fly level, with a rc/c planes doing tight turn, the camera under the planes will not see where the planes go, it better to install the cam on top for tight turn, and at the cockpit place. the camera is well protect. I would never install the cam in the nose, unless I`m able to find a good quality dome, and even the dome will not last long, because when planes land, the dome will scratch rapidly.
Video-piloting for me is getting the feeling to be inside a planes, when I don`t see planes part, I lost a lot of realsim.
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Old Feb 13, 2007, 10:48 AM
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lupy's Avatar
Renton WA
Joined Oct 2001
824 Posts
I think it's strictly a personal prefrence. I think for FP landing though, having some refrence as to the plane is nice. The times I have tried it, there is no refrence to give me a warning as to when I am going to hit. With a little bit of fuse in there, I have some refrence. It's mostly a mental thing. I have noticed with a pan servo, it's pretty cool to be able to look to the side and see the wing, it gives some perspective to what would oterwise look like a video shot from a mtn. When I get a head controlled pan tilt system, I am def. going to leave some plane in the view, if for no other reason than to be able to tell when the unit is properly centered. With a fixed camera though, intelectually, I hate to block those scarce pixles with an unmoving fuse.

Part of the issue is the small field of view we are restricted to with a camera, In real life, our eyes have a much bigger view, in stereo, so it's easier to sense your place in the view. It would be interesting to see a prefrence poll for two videos, one taken with an unobstructed view, the other with the same video, with a cockpit mask placed over a small part of the screen. Could be done digitally.

As far as an unobstructed view, I don't think it makes any diff if you are under, or on a wing. I certinly can't tell where Jett's camera is mounted on his plane. The slight altitude change of the camera on a wing tip is not noticable as it banks and turns.
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