The world of Remote Aerial Photography is so unique that most people never get a chance to experience the thrill of taking still photographs or video from the vantage point of remote flying. With the use of various remote flying vehicles, you can experience that thrill. Remote Aerial Photography is not as expensive as imagined and it is available to any who are interested in learning a new skill and possibly expanding a current talent. There are five methods for placing a camera in the air supported by two techniques with two special approaches.
Tools for Remote Aerial Photography
The first decision is do you want to fly FPV (First Person View) which allows you to fly the craft or view the crafts flight from a small streaming video camera providing a view much like being in the pilot’s seat. You can also fly the craft from the ground watching it’s performance and controlling it from an outside view. Both work equally well but FPV is becoming the AP (Aerial Photography) choice as it provides a view of what your camera will record plus allowing actual scene selection.
Most people choose to control their aerial vehicle by using manual remote radio control. It is the less complex method. Others choose to equip their craft with a device that allows them to program the flight path, altitude, and speed of their craft. In those instances, they launch the craft, get it started, and remotely activate their pre-programmed flight path. The vehicle follows the path returning home after completing its mission. The pilot usually handles the landing.
During either flight method, if the pilot chooses FPV the pilot can trigger pictures or video on demand or record the entire flight.
Vehicles for Placing a Camera aloft
There are five primary methods of lifting a camera from the ground to take remote photographs or video. Those are airplane, helicopter, tricopter, quad copter, and glider. Note that remote blimps also provide this ability though not as popular with most interested in this venture. The most familiar choice is an airplane. Today a number of remote airplanes exist specifically designed for aerial photography. One example is the AP Solution designed by WhisperShots.com.
It almost seems it’s about the number of motors you want. Most of these craft are electrical powered so we talk about motors not engines. Helicopters are the most familiar of this group. We see them fly Medevac flights or military. As a remote vehicle, it is the most difficult craft to master. Due to that fact helicopters remain a choice for only the most experienced helicopter pilots. Its advantage is it maneuvers well in all directions, hovers and can land on a small area.
The next craft, the tricopter is unique in some features. The use of three motors with one providing counter rotation thrust provides some stability. Primarily the tricopter relies on gyros, which correct deviation to pitch, roll, and yaw as an aid to the pilot’s control of the craft. They also have the same ability as a helicopter to take off and land in a small area, hover, and move in all directions. Their major attraction is the ease of construction and the craft is easier to fly than a helicopter. The disadvantage is most have to build their tricopter as the only commercial units available are costly.
The Quad copter is the four motor variant of this group. It uses some of the construction techniques of the tricopter relaying on sensors to aid flight such as gyros, attitude sensors to aid maintaining level flight. The use of 4 motors allow two to rotate clockwise and two counter-clockwise eliminating yaw problems encountered by the previous two crafts. Similarly, the quad copter can take off and land in a small area, can hover, and can fly in all directions. The weight advantage of all these lifting crafts is marginal as each can lift an appropriate camera to do either still photography or video recording. All can be flown FPV as well.
A Starting Point
The most popular AP craft for FPV (First Person View) is the Easy Star by Multiplex. This is often referred to as a beginner aircraft due to it’s slow, stable flight but is also why a large number of people choose the Easy Star to carry their camera. One of the creative applications of FPV flying in the Easy Star comes from the Ready Made RCs website. At Ready Made RC you can get pan, tilt camera mounts allowing you to look side to side, up and down as you pilot your craft. You can even purchase a complete Easy Star with all necessary equipment to reach the skies.