Flying High on a Low Budget


Bang for buck.

It is undeniable that the quantity of amateur videos has been growing steadily proportionate to the availability and lowering cost of recording devices.

You only need to look at the popularity of Youtube to illustrate this. It is mind-blowing to see the number of events being captured from so many different angles (take the meteor in Russia for example). Full HD recording devices such as the Go-Pro HERO 3 has partly brought about a surge in amateur filming and the whole “go anywhere” and “attach to anything” ability of these mini-cams enable anyone to shoot anything. The small size and high-quality picture that such devices are capable of, is staggering compared to what was available only a few years ago (even more so when you consider the relatively low price tag on such technology).

There are also an increasing number of companies out there who are producing purpose-built remote controlled craft to fly a camera wherever you need it (and from as little as $700 in the air!!!).

That’s right people, you don’t have to wear, hold, glue or staple a camera to your head or any other part of your body anymore (although if you have been living under a rock and have not seen the hype regarding Google Glass, then attaching a camera to your head might not be as uncomfortable or inconvenient as it used to be).

What I do find very interesting is what the addition of a gimbal can do for the stability of the footage being taken from remote controlled devices. RC helicopters are nothing new, and anyone who has flown one or knows someone who has, can appreciate how unstable and difficult they can be to control and the many hours required to become proficient in doing so.

Now, I don’t want to downplay the skill required to successfully fly one, but the emergence of the “Quadracopter” and similar designs, has certainly made it easier to control and capture quality footage from an airborne craft. They are much more stable and manoeuvrable than a standard helicopter hence can be more easily positioned to take the required shots. Some of them have GPS incorporated so that they can hold a predetermined position in the air without input from the controller. Basically, they enable an amateur to film the same shots that previously only a professional could with the use of an actual helicopter, expensive crane, or dolly set-up.

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