New onboard music video - RC Groups
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Jan 05, 2003, 11:54 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar

New onboard music video

Well.. finally had the opportunity to put the new BW video camera on top of my 107" Dogan F3B glider.

As usual the video is DiVX encoded and here it is.. It's got a bunch of fast flybys, some loops, rolls, birds in flight and a view of the mountains all set to music. (24 megs)

It's not quite as stable as I would have liked, but it's a small hill and the wind was blowing about 25-30mph with no thermals so I was working close in a lot. You're also only seeing 5 minutes worth of action bits out of the original 25 minutes of raw video so the really slow smooth stuff was cut out.

As for the BW system. The quality is excellent straight out of the RX, and the range is greater than the 1.2Mhz system I have, but it didn't exactly blow me away either. It was cutting out, or getting fuzzy at 150-200 yards, and I really had to keep the RX antenna pointed *straight* at the glider to get anywhere beyond that. I'll qualify that by mentioning that I had the video camera set up on a tripod so I could look through the viewfinder occasionally, and the RX set up on top of my car, so perhaps I was getting multipath interference from the car itself but without being able to see through the camera occasionally I wouldn't really know what I was getting so I don't have many other options. I'll have to test it some more out in the open.

Let me know what you think.

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Jan 06, 2003, 12:48 AM
Patrick Mahoney
Nice video. At 24MB, I think only the cable modem and direct connect crowd are going to be viewing it though.

I like the music. I especially like the bit where you were chasing the gull. Nice touch with the text hint by the way... it would've been hard to tell if was another R/C plane or not. I also like the few times where you were chasing cars on the road.

Ok, truly dumb question time, but what keeps it in the air? I didn't see a prop - nor hear the noise from one (but I could hear wind noise, so you must have had a mic). So I've guess it's from the wind getting pushed up in front of the valley below/in front of you? I'm not quite sure that I can visualize how the whole thing works.
Jan 06, 2003, 12:56 AM
ClearView Rocks!
Quacker's Avatar
'Looks great! We should fly together sometime soon. I have the same Blackwidow video system. If you move your receiver away from all metal objects, I'm sure your reception will improve. I know my range has been far greater.

Jan 06, 2003, 04:20 AM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Even at only 3.5KB/sec (achievable with any dialup) it'd only take about 2 hours to download (set it running and watch it after dinner). And considering there are people out there with 10 meg videos that are only 30-45 seconds long, I'd say I'm giving em pretty good value with my usual 5 minutes for 24-29 megabytes.

I thought the view of the gulls would be a little better but imagine trying to line up behind a bird with say a 40 inch wing span with a 107 inch glider from 75 yards away. What I really need to do is get the glider in the right vicinity and then fly it through the viewfinder of the recording camera so I can get closer. 'Course they're a bit intimidated too so I can only get so close. Notice one of them bug out *big* time a couple sequences after the first gull sighting. That was because I was coming up on em fast.

As for what keeps up this 90oz glider.. Yes, air flowing across this shallow valley from the west is forced up the steeper face on this west facing hill. The air has to rise and it pushes the air above it up and the air above that and so on. As long as the glider has enough airspeed to overcome the horizontal component of the air's speed then it'll float on the vertical component. Anywhere the vertical component is large enough to support the glider is called the "lift band". On a good day I've flown one glider 2 or 3 hours continuously. An hour in the air is not uncommon. This particular site is not the best (big winds, but very small hill and small lift band), but it is popular because it's close to the highway as you can see.

The site I flew today (Mt. Zion), on the other hand, has a 45 degree slope with a 1000 foot rise. When I got there, there were over 15 paragliders just trucking around the sky up to 1000 feet above the mountain and up to 2000 feet out in front, and no thermals (in fact it started snowing before I left). The lift band was enormous. The problem is the landing is tough so I don't fly my crunchies up there, and right now the molded Dogan F3B glider is the only one big enough to carry the camera reliably. Dave's Aircraft Works has a 3 meter foamie, that I'm eyeing for a camera platform though.

Oh.. last thing. The mic is near the TX embedded in foam nearly touching the outside skin of the glider. It pretty much was a roar the entire time, so I cut it out of the video, but left a little in at the beginning to give you an idea of the wind speed, and left it in during the first loop which I stalled and flopped at the top so you hear the wind sound drop, quit entirely at the top of the loop, and then start to pick up again.

Last edited by Daemon; Jan 06, 2003 at 04:31 AM.
Jan 06, 2003, 06:23 PM
WAA pilot #167 (yeah baby!)
Ahawk's Avatar
Hi Ian,

Really cool video. I really like the way you can see the aircraft slip sideways.

By the way, 2 min. to download here. Thank God for broadband.

Keep the video's comin'

Jan 06, 2003, 06:45 PM
Registered User
Oh man! You took my idea! Actually it wasn't my idea. Mountain biking is another one of my hobbies and a guy I know makes videos like that with a video camera onhis helmet. He rides all the best trails in Colorado, Utah, Cali, Arizona etc. He makes videos anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes long with music, resolution and size about the same size as your video, and anywhere between 8mb and 40mb. His website is if you're interested. What kind of camera are you using and how much did it cost? What is the range on it? Here in a few weeks after I recover financially from Christmas, I'm going to get myself a video camera and try and make a website like the one I mentioned above except with airplane videos and music. Anyways, I really enjoyed the video. Do you have any more? Matt
Jan 06, 2003, 09:36 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Ahawk, if the hill had been a bit bigger, and the wind not so obnoxious, I'd have actually tried to correct for the apparent sideslip with the rudder (actually creating a sideslip through the air of course) so you could see more along the hill instead of always pointing outwards.

KC10Chief, the video system used is the 100mW BlackWideo 2.4GHz wireless system. Away from obstructions (to avoid multipath interference) it should have a 1000+ foot range.
As for putting it on your helmet. I've considered using it for exactly the same thing, but on my motorcycle helmet. Also for a bumpercam on my car when I do track days or fun jaunts on twisty roads. I just need to figure out a way to protect the lens a bit more before I put it down low. The quality from this camera is very good, but the amount of compression I use for this length video degrades it a bit.

I do have some other rc videos at
2 more onboard videos shot with a cheaper wireless camera, and one exterior video, all set to music.

BTW, that Porcupine Rim video on your buddy's site is absolutely sick.

Last edited by Daemon; Jan 06, 2003 at 09:47 PM.
Jan 06, 2003, 09:48 PM
cousin Dave
Originally posted by KC10Chief
a guy I know makes videos like that with a video camera onhis helmet. He rides all the best trails in Colorado, Utah, Cali, Arizona etc. His website is if you're interested. What kind of camera are you using and how much did it cost? Matt
KC10, Thanks for the link. Fantastic videos of biking.

off topic: I worked in LongBeach Ca 20 years ago and we built KC10s back there. Is your handle from that ship?

Jan 06, 2003, 11:59 PM
T:W>1= :>)
rc-eflyer's Avatar
I also have the same system but not
nearly as great of scenery .
I have to be honest though, the music
choice could be improved
Jan 07, 2003, 12:21 AM
Registered User
Daemon, thanks for the info! I checked out the website and their setup is a lot cheaper than the supercircuits setup. They were quoting me around $500 to get going. What do you record to? A digital camera? Also, somebody commented about your music choices. You can't make everybody happy, however, I liked the music in your video. I thought it went well with it.

GliderGider, yes, I got my screen name from the KC-10. I used to be a crew chief on the KC-10 up until about a year and a half ago. I worked on the 10 for about three and a half years. I sure did love that plane. I was stationed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey at the time. Now, I'm stationed at Tinker AFB and I am a mechanic on the E-3 AWACS. Compared to the KC-10, the AWACS SUCKS for a mechanic. At times, we have 50 pages of write-ups. On the KC-10, the most I EVER saw was around 15 or 16 pages. The KC-10 is one of the best looking planes in the Air FOrce. At the moment, I'm working on making a R/C version of the KC-10. Still kind of in the drawing plans stages, but it wll have a 10' wingspan, and three DF engines. Probably getting in over my head but I don't care! Matt
Jan 07, 2003, 03:00 AM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Ya, that's the first negative comment I've had about the music amongst many positives. Some of the ways the music syncs to the video work out pretty cool like the whoop at the top of the second loop, and some of the swoops and the landing. All total coincidences, as I always choose the music after putting together the video.

That said, your buddy's mountain biking videos are really mixed well, and I really like his music choices, although they seem a little more appropriate to bombing down a rocky trail at 40mph than R/C flying.

And yes, I have a Canon ZR40 Mini DV camera which has analog A/V inputs. Just plug the RX into the camera and go (just have to remember to bring the camera's remote because there's no other way to start recording from the line in ). The RX is mono-out so I've got a spare input on the camera which I intend to hook another microphone (with a little amp to bring it up to line voltage), so I can mix in commentary from the ground.

Jan 08, 2003, 12:36 PM
Frequent User
yb2normal's Avatar
Nice video, I really liked the music.

Your placement of the receiver is definitely sub-optimal, that raised hatchback will play havoc with the signal.

2.4ghz is pretty finicky about line-of-sight signal, so any time the car or plane-parts come between the antenna's, you'll experience issues.

Can you describe the transmitter installation? How was the tx antenna oriented?

I'm soliciting pictures from clients to show their successful setups, I think that will help reduce the trial-and-error approach to setting up the system.

Last edited by yb2normal; Jan 08, 2003 at 12:39 PM.
Jan 08, 2003, 02:06 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar

[edit]Arrrgh.. forgot you can't actually embed *images* in the photography forum.
Anyway.. click on the link to see my TX/RX.

Most of the mass of the camera/TX you see is just foam/balsa for improved aerodynamics (as this thing easily goes 60-70mph in a shallow dive).

Since it's a 107" glider that weighs something like 88oz, I wasn't terribly concerned about drag or weight, so I just take what you see there and strap it on to the top of the glider all outside.
I've got a little flat 4xAAA 720mAh NiMH battery pack that I tape underneath the wing next
to the fuse to power it. TX antenna is pointing straight up.

As for line of sight.. it was never obstructed. No car bits ever came between TX and RX when the video was cutting out. As you can see we fly from one end of the hill next to the highway, so I pointed the RX patch antenna generally toward the middle of the hill so anything beyond 40 yards or so away was well within about a 60 degree field of view. It was cutting out usually when pretty high up and banking to the left. I could fix it if I turned the RX to point dead on straight at the glider, but that meant less time to concentrate on flying.

I'll have to try it with the hatch closed next time, and if that doesn't work, maybe build some sort of platform to put the RX up on above the camera on the tripod. I really need it to be up high so I can fly down in front of the hill without it getting blocked, and I want the camcorder up high so I can look through it occasionally to make sure the video signal is still strong.

Last edited by Daemon; Jan 08, 2003 at 02:12 PM.
Jan 08, 2003, 03:44 PM
Frequent User
yb2normal's Avatar
Originally posted by Daemon
I just take what you see there and strap it on to the top of the glider all outside.

As for line of sight.. it was never obstructed. No car bits ever came between TX and RX when the video was cutting out.
When I say obstruction, I mean anything at all between the two antennas. Based on how you say you are installing the system, the plane's body will come between the two antennas when the plane is in certain orientations. I always tell people that the best place for the antenna is pointed straight down below the body, but I know this isn't practical in all installations. I mount my system on my Wingo such that the antenna hangs below the body, and upon landing the antenna is folded back when it hits the ground.

Your plans for the receiver sound good.

- Bill
Jan 08, 2003, 04:12 PM
Function Over Form
BillH's Avatar
People on dialup are in the way of progress. Forget them, and give us broadband users the high quality video's
Last edited by BillH; Jan 08, 2003 at 04:14 PM.