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ISoakFires
09-05-2011, 11:22 PM
I am in the process of putting together a platform to use for public safety. This is my first AP setup and I am not sure how to control the camera's zoom and shutter. Now I am sure that it all depends on the camera, but there has to be something out there that is somewhat universal.

I am seeing a lot of references out there to the Canon 5D which I will probably use. My setup is going to have a pilot and a camera operator. I would like the pilot to have FPV and the camera operator to be able to see what pictures they are taking. I would really appreciate some advice on which equipment to use. The helicopter is the T-Rex 700 3GX with a AeriCam camera mount.

Thanks

hogfarmer
09-06-2011, 12:21 AM
This is a bad idea for so many reasons. :roll:

tahoelight
09-06-2011, 01:39 AM
It really does depend on the camera and intended use. I use a gentled trigger for stills on my 5D but it does not offer focus control. I believe on the 5D you would have to build a servo control ring for the lens. Are you going to shoot stills or take video? How about just pressing record prior to take-off and sending the live feed down via a Vtx. If you need one for camera and one for flying fpv, you might want to consider an fpv specific camera for the pilot sent via it's own transmitter to a ground station. Same for the camera operator down-link.

I think you may get quite a few comments about this being for public safety. Sort of an oxymoron in many ways. You might want to go into more detail about what the purpose is for and what equipment you will use. I think you will get more directed answers.

Windbreaker
09-06-2011, 05:53 AM
This is a bad idea for so many reasons. :roll:

Could you name some of them so the OP can get a clearer picture of your concerns?

Take note that ISoakFires is a firefighter. Lots of legitimate uses for a UAV. "Public Safety" could mean a lot of things. In our City's government, there's a Dept. of Public Safety that oversees prisons.

ISoakFires... perhaps as suggested, you can provide an idea of what you're trying to accomplish. Then experienced people here can offer possible solutions.

hogfarmer
09-06-2011, 08:44 AM
Could you name some of them so the OP can get a clearer picture of your concerns?

Take note that ISoakFires is a firefighter. Lots of legitimate uses for a UAV. "Public Safety" could mean a lot of things. In our City's government, there's a Dept. of Public Safety that oversees prisons.

ISoakFires... perhaps as suggested, you can provide an idea of what you're trying to accomplish. Then experienced people here can offer possible solutions.

He doesn't have experience with A/P but he's starting with a big dangerous helicopter to do "public safety" work, which I am assuming includes flying around people. He's flying the 5D because he sees others using it, but he's asking how to control zoom and focus, indicating he really doesn't have experience with that camera at all. He says he wants to fly the heli FPV which is borderline illegal and even more dangerous, especially if around people.

Just saying... it doesn't sound like a terrible idea but there are a lot of little things that make me think the OP is getting in over their head for what they are intending to accomplish. :thinking

ISoakFires
09-06-2011, 04:03 PM
Windbreaker and tahoelight, thanks for the reply. Hogfarmer, seriously, don't waste my time or anyone elses. Also FPV is not boarderline illegal. Per the FAA it can be used, just not used as an avoidance technology.

For those that provided informative feedback:

I would like to be able to do both still's and video, but understand that it may not be possible without changing cameras. I did find a product that allows you to do shutter control which was my biggest concern. This unit will be used mainly for accident investigation and hazard mitigation, meaning if we are there and it is in the air, most likely no one will be in the immediate area. Becuase of this, I may just go with a camera that I can transmit the feed to a ground control station. I have been reading a lot about using 2.4 to fly the bird and 1.2 and/or 5.8 for video.

tahoelight
09-06-2011, 05:47 PM
Your on the right track with 1.2 and 5.8 for the Vtx if you are using 2.4 for radio. Be sure to look into a diversity Rx system.
If this is for investigation, you probably don't need a full size Professional camera. I would seriously look into a multi-rotor set-up like the new DJI wookong. Hoverflypro is about to ship GPS. Both systems are easy to set up, but still take time to learn. I don;t think too many of us use zoom control, but it is possible with some cameras. I would not fly a 5D if it were for investigation.

SeismicCWave
09-06-2011, 06:27 PM
Windbreaker and tahoelight, thanks for the reply. Hogfarmer, seriously, don't waste my time or anyone elses. Also FPV is not boarderline illegal. Per the FAA it can be used, just not used as an avoidance technology.

For those that provided informative feedback:

I would like to be able to do both still's and video, but understand that it may not be possible without changing cameras. I did find a product that allows you to do shutter control which was my biggest concern. This unit will be used mainly for accident investigation and hazard mitigation, meaning if we are there and it is in the air, most likely no one will be in the immediate area. Becuase of this, I may just go with a camera that I can transmit the feed to a ground control station. I have been reading a lot about using 2.4 to fly the bird and 1.2 and/or 5.8 for video.

I hate to tell you but hogfarmer has a very legitimate concern.

Try not to get insult by his post and read it more carefully. From the information you have provided in your post you have read a lot of information on the internet. You have to understand a lot of those information border on urban legend.

To start, you do not need a Canon 5D Mk2 to capture both video and stills. A much lighter Canon T2i can perform a lot better. The only reason you may consider the Canon 5D Mk2 is because 1) the so call professionals are using them 2) You want to print out super large prints that is bigger than 16" X 22". Any other reason the lighter 2Ti will do a much better job.

2) You do not want to control the zoom on the camera lens. This is reality and has nothing to do with TV shows that you have an aerial machine and you can zoom in on your target and get a super crispy high resolution picture. That is simply Hollywood. Once you increase your focal length any movement on your flying machine increase dramatically. If you are NOT using a wide angle lengths you have a hard time keeping the helicopter still enough for your camera person to do anything. If you are shooting video your audience will be running for the sea sick bags.

3) You did not say whether you have an RC experience let alone RC helicopter experience. You fly safely in a tough environment takes a lot more than some desire and some money to BUY the products. The potential is there but you have to pay your dues by learning how to use the equipment. Just because you can drive your family car down the highway does not mean you can jump in a formula 1 race car and go racing.

4) You keep on saying FPV. IN a critical mission scenario FPV is a very very bad idea. The current hobby use FPV simply don't have the reliability necessary. What if the FPV downlink flicker for a second. You will be flying into something that you don't want.

5) Just read the sentence when Hogfarmer said you are in over your head. I have read so many posts from people like you that think they read some information on the internet or pick up one of the recent copy of air and space magazine and think that any one can fly FPV with a DJI Ace One stabilizer. In reality it takes us years of practice, trouble shooting, failures, vibration isolation etc. to get to where we can comfortable fly without killing some one. That is called due diligence.

I can also predict that you will get discouraged with the negative posts because we are trying to give you some real facts and you will disappear from this forum forever. If you are serious you will get down from that pie in the sky place and take this up as a hobby for a few months with some less expensive equipment and see if you can actually do it before jumping in feet first.

Then you may stay around and ask all kinds of question and realized how difficult the entire process is about.

Windbreaker
09-06-2011, 06:41 PM
He doesn't have experience with A/P but he's starting with a big dangerous helicopter to do "public safety" work... it doesn't sound like a terrible idea but there are a lot of little things that make me think the OP is getting in over their head for what they are intending to accomplish. :thinking

Although ISoakFires might not have direct experience with this, it's important to encourage him to ask around and become educated about it. That's the reason why this forum exists.

Lack of knowledge and experience doesn't preclude the ability to learn something new.

Whenever people ask me how to get into my line of work, I always lay it out for them and let them decide if it's worth pursuing. I'm not going to pre-judge them based on their lack of experience. Because everyone has to start somewhere.

PS: ISoakFires might be doing the research, but someone else might be doing the actual flying. That's never been mentioned.

Windbreaker
09-06-2011, 06:42 PM
You might want to consider an off-the-shelf system from Bergen. Their airframes are specifically designed for aerial photo and video.

There are also stabilizer systems that can help maintain the helicopter's position in the air (Ace One). And gyro-stabilized gimbals (Photoship One).

Bergen, Photoship One and Ace One are being applied to a project for a guy in Maui, Hawaii. There's a thread about it here. http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=335276

If I had the budget that's the direction I'd go.

ISoakFires
09-06-2011, 07:27 PM
Thanks again for the encouragement windbreaker. I do have experience in heli's. I do understand that some people do jump into this with not having any experience. My problem is I know nothing of cameras. The comparison between the two Cannon models is information I need. Yes there will be a stabilization system on it. I have been looking into the Co-Pilot II, but will look at the DJI. The FPV is more of a assistant tool to use if the pilot / or camera operator absolutly needs it. The ship would never be out of line of sight or above 400 ft per the FAA COA.

Again, Thanks for the information.