Did a quick test during easter. Mounted my FPV equipment on a 1/10-scale RC car and had some fun. Lots of fun!
This was roughly what I saw in the goggles. (No, not that quality, this is a HD recording from the GoPro on the car.)
FPV is “first person view”. The art of mounting a camera and a video transmitter on remote controlled equipment. Then you sit down with some video goggles and the remote control. And drive the car based on the video feed. It gives you an amazing feeling of sitting inside the vehicle you are controlling. Like a video game. But in real life.
Fun when controlling RC planes and helicopters. But also fun (and much safer) when controlling RC cars!
If you want to snap images or record video from your quadcopter it needs to be as vibration free as possible. When you manage that you get shots like these:
But when you start googling you get the same answer all over:
1. Balance your propellers
2. Balance your motors
But I did that:
And I still had vibrations, blurry stills and jelly-looking video. After a lot of trial and error found the solution.
It doesn’t matter how much you balance your props if they’re the wrong props. You need high quality very stiff props for aerial photography (AP). So, on the same quad, with perfectly balanced props I had lots of vibrations with one set of props and no vibrations with another.
I have had best results with Gaui props and Graupner E-props.
In addition to this I made a dampening system. First I tried to mount the camera directly on a small plate that was mounted on the quad with rubber dampers. That din’t work very well:
(Dampers = red)
Then I made a long extra board under the quad. Mounted it to the quad using four rubber dampeners and mounted both the camera and the battery on that one. Wow! No vibrations with any of my cameras!
(Dampers = red)
And this is how video looks like if you don’t limit the vibrations.
I am currently testing different solutions that will give me an alternative tollkit that can be used when 5D Mark II + 17″ MacBook is a bit heavy…
Right now I’m testing this combination:
– My current phone (iPhone 4) – A canon SX230HS – An EyeFi X2 8GB SD-card – ShutterSnitch app on the phone
The SX230HS is small enough to be way more practical than the 5D for certain trips. And good enough to be worth carrying in addition to the camera already in the iPhone.
But I also need the speed and simplicity of publishing that the camera in the phone gives me. So I was plesantly surprised when I could conclude that my EieFi-card talks directly to my phone when the personal hotspot is activated.
If I run ShutterSnitch on the phone while the hotspot is active it happily receives images directly from the camera when I turn it on.
There are some issues with a lost connection after some inactivity but I’ll keep experimenting.
The images in this post are snapped with the SX230HS, transferred directly to the phone, edited and and added to the article. Everything on the go.
Since 2005 I have done different projects documenting the change of the seasons outside our living room window. The first project was a couple of stills taken with a compact camera. The video I made got nearly 100 000 views on YouTube. Not much today, but this was in 2005…
The next video I made was done in 2007 and with a Canon 400D. Based on stills shot at irregular intervals. That video got more than two million views on YouTube, one million on Vimeo and was featured on CNN, The Weather Channel, NHK in Japan and countless other TV stations, web sites and exhibitions.
But none of these three projects have been a true time lapse. They’re not videos based on a camera that has snapped images at regular images all through one year.
The true time lapse
I placed my old SLR in our window in january last year. Hooked it up to our home server and gave it power through an adapter. Then I used software to control the camera. It has snapped one image every 30 minutes for one year now. Both the Mac and the Camera was hooked up to a UPS as well. I have lost a couple of images due to some computer crashes and camera crashes. But in general the system has been remarkably stable and given me more than 16 000 images to play with.
The camera was my trusted old Canon 400D with an EF-S 10-22. Used for several years before I bought my 5D Mark II. I mounted it on a special shelf and covered it with black cloth to avoid reflections in the window. I actually glued the camera to the shelf to make sure it wouldn’t move for a year. Then I did some test shots and ended up with ISO400 and f6,3. The exposure time was set to auto along with the white balance.
I decided to shoot both RAW and high quality JPG. The only problem I’ve had with the camera is a couple of crashes while it was transferring the image to the computer. Something that could only be solved with a complete reset of the camera. Not turning it off and on again. But cutting the power completely and power it back on.
And at this point it’s time to thank my family and all people visiting us during this year. We’ve had an SLR in our living room making a clear shutter release sound every half hour for a year…
How I made the video
One of the things I wanted to do was to make a true time lapse. The first video is the two minute version that you saw at the top of this post. It’s made of images shot during the day all through 2010. First I added all the images to Apple Aperture. In general I prefer Adobe Lightroom, but I couldn’t do all the time based selections and searches I wanted in Lightroom. So, I used Aperture to select images. I exported all images taken between 0900 and 1400 because I wanted daytime images only for this video. Then I imported them to Lightroom to do some adjustments. Better white balance, some sharpening, lens correction etc.
Then I exported all the images as TIFF to a folder. To make a movie of all the stills I imported them to MPEG Streamclip and exported a QuickTime using the lossless Apple Intermediate codec. That huge 3888×2592, 30fps video went into Adobe Premiere CS5 for finishing. That’s where I added the music, text and slow zoom. Because the original image is very high resolution I could do a digital zoom even on the 1920×1080 video I wanted to make.
The downloads and commercial use?
It is licensed with a creative commons license. Meaning that you can use it for whatever as long as it is non commercial, you give me credit and you share any alterations with the same license.
I’ll also make a full quality version with no eirikso.com-logo available for purchase to the people that want to use the video commercially. Contact me on eirik.solheim at gmail.com for pricing.
Follow me on Twitter if you want to know about my projects before everyone else: @eirikso
Update: the videos I made from the same footage is here.
I’m currently working on a new time lapse project. Not a sort-of-time-lapse. But a true one. To put it short: I’ve had an SLR camera in my window at the same spot for one year. Snapping an image every half hour. Resulting in some pretty nice time lapse videos I’ll post here in a couple of days. But first a still image.
The resolution of the 16 000 images I now have from 2010 are 3888×2592 pixels. So I selected 3888 images snapped during the day. Then I got some generous help from my blog readers and twitter followers. To make a script that would take one line from the first image, the next line from the next image and so on. Jo Christian Oterhals, Nikolai Kristiansen and Aslak Hellesøy provided complete code for the solution.
It shows one whole year. January at the left and December to the right. You can clearly see that we have a pretty long winter and a decent summer here in Oslo, Norway.
The spring and autumn are both quite short.
It would have been nice to make an interactive version of this image. Where you could mouse over and get info on exactly when the image providing the line was taken. And maybe also bring up a thumbnail of the complete image. Maybe I’ll post all the 3888 images and hope that someone will make a solution like that…
Light and timing are some of the most important factors in an image. I have huge amounts of images snapped at the exact same spot. With the exact same focus point and the same f-number. The only thing that have changed is the season and the light. Bringing diversity like this: