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Aerial Videography and Photography Aerial Video/Photo from R/C Helicopters


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Old 10-29-2011, 08:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sub-$1,000 RC Helicopter for Video

Hello everyone,

I'm new here to the forum and to RC helicopters, so sorry if my questions seem a little ridiculous. I'm a videographer and I'm looking for a helicopter that can support a camera weighing 0.5 pounds. First, I'd like to know how much, in your opinion, a 'really good' helicopter would cost. Second, I'd like to ask what helicopter in the $100-$300 and the $100-$1,000 range you would recommend that could carry a payload of this weight.

Thank you! =)
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Short answer: "Good" is going to be more than $1000 to lift 500 grams (about a half pound).

Someone posted this reference somewhere and I didn't copy the link:

Blade Size (mm) - Helicopters - Max SAFE Lifting Capability (g,oz,lb) - Notes

315mm - T-Rex 450 - 450g, 15.87oz, 1lb - keep the total flying weight under 2.2lb
500mm - Logo 10 - 1360g, 48oz, 3lb - keep total flying weight under 9lb
550mm - 30 Size, Century Swift, Logo 14 - 1587g, 56oz, 3.5lb - keep total flying weight under 10lb
600mm - T-Rex 600, 50 size Helicopter, Logo 20/24 - 1815g, 64oz, 4lb -keep total flying under 11 lb
720mm - Gasser, Joker - 6800g, 240oz, 15lb -
800mm - Gasser, Maxi Joker - 9071g, 320oz, 20lb -
810mm - Gasser - 11300g, 400oz, 25lb -

====

In my experience, the load capacity probably includes the battery. Because my T-Rex 450 is just over the max weight of 2.2 pounds, and the camera weighs only 85 grams.

So in your case I would suspect the required helicopter would be a 500 or 550.

As for price, is that for the helicopter alone or the total system including radio, servos, camera mount, etc?

A major obstacle (other than learning to fly), is vibrations. I have several posts here about my efforts to tame vibrations on my small helicopter. It's not easy as it requires some mechanical skills, good tools, and an ability to troubleshoot something that's rather complicated.
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Not only the weight the copter can carry but what it looks like at 100,200,300 and 400 feet. A 600 will look like a black speck at 400 a 450 a black speck at 200 feet. I was hooked the first time I saw what only birds see. A 600 will carry all your gear a 450 you have to keep it real light.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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For less than $1000, you could get a quad (Gaui 500x for ex.) and all the equipment you need. You'll be able to lift over 2lb, and save money when you crash... and you will... Also, quads have less vibrations, which is good for videos.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Your best bet is to learn how to fly first either on quads or a heli (450 size helis are best for beginners).

From there you will be able to determine whether or not this is something you would like to do as there are costs that you will incur after the initial investment.

Remember that unlike other equipment that you would use for your video or photos such as cameras, lights and such - where your initial investment cost pretty much stays the same - RC aircrafts always have the potential to crash - so spending $1000 now does not mean you're only spending $1000 for the entirety of your investment.

You'll be surprised that you'll be spending $1000 dollars now then initially work up to spending triple (or more) that amount over time as you learn how to fly properly and as you try to procure more flying machines that perform better in order for you to take it to a more professional level.

Having said that - this hobby gets addicting because it's a ton of fun.

Learn to fly first - get yourself a proper transmitter and a simulator such as phoenix or realflight then gauge from there.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Something else to consider: if you're doing this for your work, you may have to be insured in case you damage property or injure someone.

Doing it as a hobby means being able to pick and choose where and when you fly. But if you have to do this for someone else, then it starts to get complicated.
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