dawsonh's blog archive for February, 2008 - RC Groups
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Archive for February, 2008
Posted by dawsonh | Feb 15, 2008 @ 06:59 PM | 10,504 Views
I am an avid slope soarer and especially enjoy flying acrobatic gliders. I recently got a nice video camera (Canon HV20) and since I mostly fly alone I had to devise a way to shoot and fly at the same time.

The solution I came up with was to build a helmet cam. I started with an old kayak helmet and carved a piece of EPP foam to work as a camera mount. I glued the EPP mount to the right side of my helmet. I use a small velcro strap to hold the camera securely to the helmet. I was hoping I would be able to track my plane "as is" but quickly realized that I need some sort of tracking aid.

I used some scrap plywood, coat hanger wire and tape to fashion a "sight." I bent the wire into an "L" so I had a nice horizontal reference line so I could match the horizon and keep the plane centered vertically in the frame. I put a small vertical wire so I could track the plane left and right.

I drilled a hole in the sight mount for a bolt (matching the tripod mount of my camera) to attach sight to the camera.

The attached pictures show how it looks.

I have taken several hours of video and have had some good success in recording my plane. I still find it quite distracting to fly and shoot. The video quality suffers as the flying gets more fun/difficult.

I mostly like to fly close-in so I use a wide angle setting. However I find that the camera will often lose focus as it tries to track to plane. The camera will also change the exposure as I fly over the ground and then into sky. To solve these problems.

I set my camera to:
Wide Angle
Focus at Infinity
Exposure to Manual

That seems to work well... just as long as I stay close to the camera.

I have posted some recent videos on my Vimeo site:
Le Fish at Mormon Lake Overlook, Flagstaff, AZ (2 min 32 sec)

There are also some at the RCGroups Sailplane Video Forum:

and Steve Lange's Slopeaerobatics site: