View Full Version : First AP from Helicam

09-25-2006, 03:50 AM
Hi all, althought I have taken the mount and camera up once before the light was fading and none of the photos turned out any good.

The photos where shot with too slow of an exposure setting around 1/350 and I think the photos will look much sharper around 1/500.
I will try again next week.

Let me know what ya think. Constructive Criticism will be well accepted.






09-25-2006, 03:52 AM
Oh and can anyone guess where the shots where taken?
20 Kudos to the first right answer!

09-25-2006, 04:03 AM
Excuse me while I puke.... you make it look so easy.....I'm sick..... :)

09-25-2006, 04:20 AM
Oh and can anyone guess where the shots where taken?
20 Kudos to the first right answer!

I'll go on a longshot here......"South Seattle Community College" ??

am I right?


(so tell us...your from NZ, but visiting here...?)

*oh yea.....your obligated to show us your set up too!

09-25-2006, 04:26 AM
Nice call yip SSCC today, what a day in Seattle, oh and we beat the Giants!!!

Yea I'm from NZ but have been living here for the last 7 years, own a house, got married, had 2 kids, have a cat, so I guess I am semi-permanent.

Cheers! mate

09-25-2006, 04:31 AM
I show you mine if you show me yours ;)

09-25-2006, 04:37 AM
I show you mine if you show me yours ;)

That got me in trouble quite a few years back!

OK here is mine, the only thing it does better than yours is glide :D


Are you using a SLR?

09-25-2006, 04:41 AM
Your may glide better but I can get mine out of the sky faster if my prop stops :eek:

09-25-2006, 04:43 AM
I like to call them 'Expensive Weed Wackers'

joking aside...it is my next step forward... :o

whats the cam?

09-25-2006, 04:51 AM
Sony H5.

Takes great photos but it does have some user adjustment issues.

09-26-2006, 11:49 PM
Greetings David,

Cool to see you've been getting pics, nice results.

P.S. I've been lurking here a while, congrats on your success


09-27-2006, 01:07 AM
Thanks mate, great to hear from you. I mean to come up and fly with you again soon but have been walking the 100 feet to the school and improving my skills.
Will you be flying this weekend?

09-27-2006, 09:10 AM
Hi Kiwidave, Glad to have you here.:) Kai and I with a few others fly out of Renton Fry's lot on most weekends weather permitting. Your free to join us from around 2 to 6 or so PM. Lots of room even for the faster stuff there so drop by when you can make it.

09-27-2006, 03:55 PM
I miss Seattle, went to college up there. Art Institute of Seattle. Most beautiful place I have ever lived.

09-27-2006, 06:50 PM
Thanks for the invite Kosh, I just might take you up on that. Where is the Renton Fry's lot (I imagine you are refering to the electronics store) ?


09-27-2006, 07:29 PM
Fry's Electronics is just off 405 and can be seen from the freeway and is very close to Boeing. This old Google Earth pic might give you a better idea.

10-23-2006, 06:38 PM

It was good flying with you again, that's a darn impressive camera rig you have there. I'm still amazed at the turnout Saturday, there seemingly were always at least 3 or 4 aircraft in the air mixing it up the entire time :D


10-23-2006, 09:47 PM
Thanks mate, it was good to see you again as well. That was insane! If they were all scale warplanes it would of looked like a huge WW2 dog fight up there, so many planes.
It was also impressive to see you drilling 775mm holes in the tarmak with your blades. Nicely done!

10-28-2006, 10:09 AM
Hi I've been intrested in helicam setups for a while and would like to know what a set up like your's would cost. I have a T-rex 450 SA right now so I know I'll have to break for a bigger platform. I'd like to stick with electric's say the new T-rex 600. Also I'd like to keep with in a budget under $3K. What do you think? Artie :confused:

10-28-2006, 07:59 PM
I would recommend the V50E with carbon mount from Airfoil.com. (this is the rig I have) This way you can keep the budget under $3000. Once you start making some money in photography then you can look at getting a real pro rig like the maxi joker 2 with airfoil pro mount and a Nikon D camera and use the V50 & Carbon for over water shots or in situations where there is more risk to the rig. Also once you are rolling in the dough :D then you could also invest in the GSR 260 for long video shoots and times when you need 30 minute flight times.

Just my 2 cents. If you wanted to jump right in you could buy the maxi joker 2 $1200 and slowly buy all the peices for it like the motor $500, ESC $400, Batteries $1000 etc.

10-28-2006, 08:03 PM
The Trex 600 is a good heli but I have yet to hear from anyone hanging a camera under it. The stock batteries I think get about 8 minutes of flight time without a camera rig. So i think you would either need better batteries or settle for 5-6 minute flight times (I'm getting around 12 minute with the V50 + carbon rig and 14+ with just the V50).

10-29-2006, 01:32 AM
Hey Dave I got your reply & it sounds good to me. For some reason the airfoil.com comes up as a supplier of impelers,duct fans!

10-29-2006, 01:54 AM
Dave is the maxi joker of the same company & electric? I was told by my friend that the 600 is ok but not as good as it's hyped up to be. But he & his buddies all like all the Rapter gaser heli's. I presently have a canon S2 IS, 5meg that does 30 frps in Hi res. video & has image stablizer. A friend tells me Futaba makes the best radio's and servo's, 401 locking gyro? I'm slowly learning the ropes and jargon. I thank you very much & if it's any easier i'll give a cell # direct to your e-mail if you want.

10-30-2006, 06:27 PM
The maxi joker is by minicopter and it is electric.

I ama JR man and have the 9303. The best bet is to buy what others in your local aera have, that way you can get the local support and I don't really think there is much difference between the two manufactures.

Good luck with your endevor.

Check out airfoilhelicam.com

11-20-2006, 03:50 AM
Arlo, When I started flying helis last winter it was with a Blade CP. I took aerial video from it with a hacked CVS cam, weight about 1 1/2 oz. and with that same cam in it's case with 2 aa batteries, wieght about 5 oz.
The CP struggled with the heavy version. I move up to TREX 450 xl HDE ( standard mechanical mix) I'm shooting now with a Fuji 9MP Fine pix camera. $350 and $ 63 for insurance plan (renewable) that covers crash damage and all sorts of stuff but not theft, all from Ritz Camera. This camera does more than I can and I have started doing professional AP work with it. I built my own taller landing gear/mount from carbon rods and a little aluminum sheet. TREX is enough for a while I think. I go to about 400 feet. The view is awesome.
I've taken great photos from this ship. If you have the TREX then you have a camera ship. You need to make a mount( mine is currently fixed with the rex'x gear removed) A six channel radio will work. Do all your flying as if always in hover mode. Set pitch and trottle hover trims to mid point except when taking off or landing. Set all pitch/throttle settings the same in idle-up as they are in hover. Put a 'y' connector on the gain channel if you are using it for the gyro , if not just connect a servo for the shutter here. Set gyro gains to move servo enough make camera focus when going to idle up 1 and to fire the shutter when going to idle-up 2,
The reason for setting pitch/throttle the same for each point of the curves in hover,i1,i2 is to keep the heli from jumping. Most radios have separate trim memories for H,I1 and I2 once you have the heli flying good in Hover go back and set the trims in I1 and I2 for each channel the same as Hover trims.
This is kinda long winded but it's just to say that you can start very effectively in AP with a minimal equipment set. I started with a Hitec Optic 6 on the above machine. I now use a Hitec Eclipse 7. I use a HH gyro with manual gain and set up the heli as above but without the 'y' cable. I stay on the gain channel to get a three position function for the camera shutter. Waiting/ focus/shoot positions basically. Other tx's with aux channels with propo. output would solve this part but the REX will do it for you. My camera and batteries weighs 9.2 oz. On a fresh 3s2100 the heli rockets up.

Good luck.

11-20-2006, 07:56 AM
Hi there aramsdell. I thank you for your info and it sounds good. I have a few concerns right now,1 being I have the new Spectrum Dx6 which is only a 6ch. radio but i have different servos. A futaba gyro a JR3500 servo for the tail. The rest are hitec HD 65 MG. I don't think i can link any thing up as it stands. And I was told that my main gear drive will not handle the heavier payload & crack! That was a tech at Airfoil heli.com who also said an extended landing & a small Digi cam was too much weight for any Trex 450 series only a 600 or bigger! I do have a 2.4gh wireless mini vid cam thats 3"x 1" & 2oz. thats rechargeble too. But to add to that I'm still new at flying. I can fly & land a Blade CX with no problem but my Trex I can't keep stable to hover! It's so sensitive and my friend whose a pilot & a good tech, assembles any heli out there, set up the Trex & I'm still crashing! 2 sets of blades sofar. Flight sims is a little better but need more practice I guess. Arlo

11-20-2006, 11:25 PM
Whomever told you a TREX can't handle it obviously has something to sell or NO idea what he's talking about. Seeing as he's a salesperson he's probably got something very expensive to sell you. I've had 1 crash with a camera and it was caused by an older Align 430BL motor with gold endcaps. The main shaft of the motor broke inside the case. This problem has been well documented on this older motor. I'm using a different outrunner from Helidirect ( 450 HDX 3550 kv $38) with gobs of power for AP work and I got an insurance policy with the camera(Ritz Camera) that covers crash damage!. I said in my post that the camera is 9.2 oz with batteries. The heli hardly even knows it's there when setup for AP. The Hitec HS 65's are great for the REX. HS-56's are also good. I don't know about your tail servo I haven't used that one. For great info on T-REX's and their set-up try Helifreak.com (http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/helifreak.com)
If your REX is twitchy try adding exponential to the elevator and aileron channels , usually ch 1 and ch2. I use Hitec equip. Expo reduces or increases sensitivity around neutral stick, on Hitec the way to desensitize is to use negative expo. IE say -45 in the expo screen. When you move the stick a little near center it should move the controls less. If they move more then change the expo to + instead.
That will slow you down some. What are your dual rates set at? On my camera ship I have low and high rates the same( in case I accidently hit the switch{again}) at 50%. Your mileage may vary according to what hole your control links are in on the servos etc.
Your tail servo needs to be as fast as you can afford or find. I for instance have a HS 56 on one REX tail and on the other I have an HS-81. They are both $25 or less and the 81goes about .12 sec at 4.8v.
If you are using a Futaba GY401 then the ball link for the the tail rotor pushrod should be on the inner hole of a small 'x' style arm that comes with either of those two. See that website. Your'e looking for Finless Bob White's tutorials on the TREX 450. Broken/cracked gear? Rubbish. Bad salesman BAAAD!

11-21-2006, 12:29 AM
This photo is several mo.s old, the camera mount has changed a little. The mount has 1/8 ply sides with a servo over the shutter button and an arrow shaft crossing side to side above the camera. I changed the skids to thicker wood. The legs are tail booms from crashed Blade CP's. Little pieces of aluminum sheet attach them ot the original skid holes. I changed the screws that hold the gear on from phillips head to 2mm allen head X 3/8 " long. Before I put a camera on it I crashed a lot and found the L gear screw to be inconvenient and easily stripped. Too heavy Rubbish!

11-21-2006, 12:32 AM
Yeah your probably right! He also told me they are replacing a 50 raptor electric version with a camera platform for the new Trex-600. And he dosen't like the Trex as much. Any way I may try the 450 camera platform for $119, or the piviting version foe $149 at Airfoil Helicam or if you like explain your diagram direct to my e-mail if you want. But now I have to fix my blade grips, one broke when the heli tipped over on take off!

11-21-2006, 12:43 AM
That looks good I guess your heli lands easy & stable. I have all plastic parts on my head mechanics and I was told to stick with it untill every part needs to be replaced then go aluminum on all parts. Do you think the machined parts make the heli stable? Mine tends to be very hard to keep balanced.

11-21-2006, 12:49 AM
ARLO, Just so you know I have yet to fly my Blade CP for more than 5 seconds it is very sensitive and you have to really lead the heli, the Trex450 is better but with the TREX you have the option of endpoint adjustment and curves depending on the Tx you have, I think the Spectrum had that right? the way you setup your Transmitter is as important as the way you setup the heli in how it flies.
Flying a 50 sized or larger is completely different and I think, much easier that a smaller heli. Like I said I can't fly my Blade CP but am hovering nose in and doing figure 8's on the venture 50E from airfoil. The Trex600 would be the same depending on how you set her up. I would work on my flying before worrying about hanging a camera under it and a good place to start would be RADD training if you haven't already done it.

Hope this helps.

PS Airfoil is general for professional APers and their advice reflects that. By the way I have no affiliation to them but have one of their helis and mounts and have just order a second mount.



11-21-2006, 01:04 AM
Hi Dave yes I agree that learning the setup is critical, my tech friend set the heli up with the new Spectrum DX6 but with better Hitec servos & JR tail servo & futaba gyro but the curves on this radio is limited to 3. verses a 7. so he says the response will be hard/sharp where as the better choice radios have that smoother response. Do you agree?

11-21-2006, 01:22 AM
Hey Dave thanks for the Radd website it seems like it can be of great help! Even though the Realflight G3.5 is ok I still like training on the Cx for some real flight dispite the differnce in characteristics of the controls. Imay have to change the radio as well for the added curve controls but I'm sick of spending more money ! I should have bought the bigger heli since they fly easier so evrey one says. Airfiol has some good heli platforms & decent prices & I should have considerd them. Thanks for your help. Artie

11-21-2006, 02:38 AM
I think 3 points plus a high and a low (5 total) is the standard right? Does it have expo? That's helps when learning to really flatten the curve so you aren't flipping if a breeze hits the sticks.

The CX is a lot of fun and great if you want to get stick time to learn orientation and nose in (I have had mine one week and it has helped me greatly with nose in hover), so you learn the tail and the nose but it doesn't really help in learning to fly a CCPM heli. for example, if you let go of the sticks because you are drifting to the left in the CX it will stabilize, if you do that with a CCPM heli you will continue to drift faster and faster to the left. Also you maybe learning to use too much throw on the sticks with the CX so when you move over to the 450, you are giving it too much stick.

The CX has it place, and after dissing it for the last 3 months I have realized the folly of my ways and love it. I love that the blades cost 2 bucks instead of $108. I don't care if I run into a wall or a balloon (If you have seen the whole video of "a wet day in Seattle" you will get that :). and you do have to fly it, unlike the Picco Z I have, which is also a bucket of fun. but it isn't as powerful a learning tool as a sim.

My 1.243 cents.



11-21-2006, 03:57 AM

Like the Kiwi I couldn't fly my Blade CP with the stock Tx. I kept crashing it was soooo sensitive. I started using my Hitec Optic 6 with end pt adjustment, expo, dual rates 5 point curves , hover,Idle-up 1, I-2, and I-3
which is for auto-rotates. Wow , then I could learn. Now that I have flown so much I've gone back and flown it with that Tx no prob. I think you'll find in this hobby that a good or really good Tx will really help you. I have an Optic 6 and Eclipse 7 , both Hitec, for my helis. The Eclipse 7 I would place at the low end of mid range radios even though it will transmit in QPCM. It has quality and low price but it's the programming features that really help . The 5 point throttle and pitch curves for H,I1,I2 and auto really help you out.
I keep all my curves set the same so I can use the 3 position H,I1,I2 switch to 'press' the shutter. That prevents any pitch changes when moving the switch.

11-22-2006, 03:14 AM
Yes Armasdell, K.Dave I've tried to figure some of the programing on my radio, Spectrum Dx 6000. But since I had it programed by a friend Ken who runs & owns an RC model heli's & planes, cars etc. store in Redbank NJ. I don't want to change the set up other than minor trim steps. I trust Ken's expert work from others who recomended him. Also he stands by his products, that is he will sell you RC products that he's had 1st hand experince with. He builds heli's & then test flys what he sells. He will advise you on what other product that are good or bad from other experinced people in the field.

01-20-2007, 07:41 AM
I would like to find a small camera that is light weight to fit on a blade cx2, preferably 30fps, and I dont know how much they go for but I dont want to invest "too much", I would want the cheaper end of the line. If anyone has any suggestions that sound good, I would appreciate it.

01-20-2007, 09:32 AM
to David212 if you haven't already gotten a response to your question on a small vidcam. Ive'tried a videopod from www.microwireless.net (http://www.microwireless.net) . it I'll cost a $130'00 ? It's the smallest selfcontained vidcam with a lipo battery & transmitter that will last 4hrs on a charge. The main problem is the weight & balance on loading it on the heli! You have to center it right under the nose part of the reciever of the heli for balance. And the weight is dificult to control causing trouble on lift off!! Other mini cameras that are smaller still need a power source that would have to come from the heli's main battery which would greatly limit your flying time since most cameras need a minimum of 5volts & a 9volt battery required for most minicams is heavier than the videopod option. Your best option is to go for a bigger heli like the outback by www.venenomcorps.com (http://www.venenomcorps.com) It''s bigger & the same type of heli but would easily cary a videpod or similar tyoe vidcam. best of luck.