In this year´s Helsinki Boat Show, one of the most interesting things was not actually a boat, but a RC quadcopter (or drone). After seeing this famous KiteCam sailing video many years ago, I have dreamed of filming and photographing sailing from the bird perspective. I actually bought a kite and a small waterproof pocket camera many years ago, but did not manage to film anything worth publishing. I am not sure whether it was the cheap market kite or my flying skills that were to blame – probably both. Nevertheless, I gave up this dream for many years.
Since then a lot has happened in terms of technology. First of all, the pocket sized action cameras have become lighter, less expensive and have an improved image and video quality, especially if you compare that to the clumsy camcorders, that dominated the market just a few years ago. The speed of progress has just been amazingly quick.
The whole another thing are these RC multi- or quadcopters, which make smooth flying so much easier compared to a traditional RC helicopter. Anymore, you do not have to practice flying the copter for months and/or to wreck a couple of training copters before buying an expensive one, since they can practically fly themselves. The four propellors make the drone very stable and the intelligent flight computer interprets what you want to do with the quadcopter. If you let go of the controller, the drone hovers over the ground maintaining its position and altitude.
Here are a couple of photos and a video clip from the first test day with the Dji Phantom 2 quadcopter. The drone is equipped with GoPro Hero3 camera, which is stabilized with the Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal. I am nowhere near in mastering all the finesses of the drone, the camera or the gimbal, so there are still a lot of things to learn. I will make a follow-up post, after I have gained some more flying experience.
The feeling after the first test day is positive, since the drone felt stable and easy to fly. The first couple of flights felt actually so good, that I became too confident and almost wrecked the bloody thing…