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Ty Pilot

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In another thread, as sometimes is the case, we got a little off topic and it was suggested that a new thread be started so a topic that would benefit a lot of members could discussed. So I am starting this thread here. The idea behind this is that as UAV pilots we are also photographers and videographers to one degree or another and some are likely to be both.

So this thread is about anything to do with the subject of photo or video or gear to support that which is NOT related directly to our aircraft. :) I'll start.

I've been shooting video for about 20 years and it has turned into an enjoyable hobby and I find the challenge of getting better shots and producing better video a terrific past time. One of the challenges at the heart of a well produced video or film I think is the movement of the camera and for now I'm just going to focus on this aspect and will maybe get into the other important areas later.

Camera movement is at it's best when it is not noticed, much like a good audio track - you don't think about it as it supports what the viewer is seeing and since sight is our primary sense, the visual gets all the credit. I mentioned in another thread that the unsung hero of the "Drone" is the Gimbal. For without it, the video is practically useless for anything other than private viewing to re-live a flight. Gimbals were the realm of film studios for decades and until ten years or so ago buying a rig to get the kind of shots you see in modern films was very costly.

Well thanks in part to modern Multi rotors, there has been a steady growth of hand held gimbals for our everyday cameras. Not to mention that cameras are getting really good and much more affordable. But the some of the gimbals available now are not only affordably but they work really well.

I recently wanted to get a new camera, not to replace my DSLR necessarily but I wanted to have a camera that could shoot 4K video in the hopes that when Yuneec's releases the H Plus to have a camera that will allow me to do matched ground shots both on tripod but also; mounted on a gimbal so that I can get smoother shots while moving. So I have been researching a camera and gimbal combo for about two months and a little while back purchased a Pansonic LX10 and a Zhiyun Crane M. I went with these two items because this is one of the smallest 1 Inch CMOS 20MP sensor cameras that shoots amazing 4K footage and I knew when adding the gimbal, weight would matter. Now they do make bigger versions to mount full body DSLRs but these are monsters and for prolonged shooting - well you better hit the gym.

I am finishing up a new video and will have it live very shortly and you will see some of the shots with the crane and in a future video I plan to go into detail about this rig. So before I ramble too much longer here are some pics. More to come.

Crane2 (2).JPG

Crane2 (1).JPG
 

PatR

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First time I've seen that gimbal. Looks nice and light. How difficult is it to balance out?
 
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As mentioned in the other thread, Panasonic also makes a 15x zoom version of this camera, the ZS200 with 1" sensor and shoots 4K 30p:
Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200: First Impressions Review
I have been using a Sony RX100 Mk2 for several years now and loving the results. It only goes up to 1080p but the newer versions (Mk4-5) shoot 4K. These all have 1" sensor but only 3x zoom:
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V: Digital Photography Review
To get high quality 4K video, I bought a used Sony AX100 with 1" sensor, 12X zoom, built-in ND filters and a host of other useful features for videography. The image stabilization system is not the best and sometimes stops functioning (error message). That's what I get for buying used equipment. It still takes such good video, that I am considering purchasing a Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal for it. That will end up being a pretty heavy rig to handle.
Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder FDRAX100/B B&H Photo Video
Zhiyun-Tech Crane-2 3-Axis Stabilizer with Follow Focus CRANE-2
Finally, the Yuneec ActionCam with CGO3+ makes pretty decent handheld 4K video:
 

Ty Pilot

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First time I've seen that gimbal. Looks nice and light. How difficult is it to balance out?
Quite easy. Each of the arms have an slider that allows you to fine turn the adjustment to a variety of cameras within a certain weight range in this case 4.3 - 22.9 ounces. So it can take a GoPro or a bigger point and shoot. A good thing about it is that it has strong motors that allow for a little unbalance to occur. In the case of my camera, it can be balanced in the off position with the lens retracted then upon turning on when the lens extends it handles that fine. Of course you can balance - camera on and it will still hold in the off position. Also I have used ND filters with no chatter. This unit is well made, the build quality is top notch and I used it right out of the box. No FW updates!
 
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Murray Martz

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In another thread, as sometimes is the case, we got a little off topic and it was suggested that a new thread be started so a topic that would benefit a lot of members could discussed. So I am starting this thread here. The idea behind this is that as UAV pilots we are also photographers and videographers to one degree or another and some are likely to be both.

So this thread is about anything to do with the subject of photo or video or gear to support that which is NOT related directly to our aircraft. :) I'll start.

I've been shooting video for about 20 years and it has turned into an enjoyable hobby and I find the challenge of getting better shots and producing better video a terrific past time. One of the challenges at the heart of a well produced video or film I think is the movement of the camera and for now I'm just going to focus on this aspect and will maybe get into the other important areas later.

Camera movement is at it's best when it is not noticed, much like a good audio track - you don't think about it as it supports what the viewer is seeing and since sight is our primary sense, the visual gets all the credit. I mentioned in another thread that the unsung hero of the "Drone" is the Gimbal. For without it, the video is practically useless for anything other than private viewing to re-live a flight. Gimbals were the realm of film studios for decades and until ten years or so ago buying a rig to get the kind of shots you see in modern films was very costly.

Well thanks in part to modern Multi rotors, there has been a steady growth of hand held gimbals for our everyday cameras. Not to mention that cameras are getting really good and much more affordable. But the some of the gimbals available now are not only affordably but they work really well.

I recently wanted to get a new camera, not to replace my DSLR necessarily but I wanted to have a camera that could shoot 4K video in the hopes that when Yuneec's releases the H Plus to have a camera that will allow me to do matched ground shots both on tripod but also; mounted on a gimbal so that I can get smoother shots while moving. So I have been researching a camera and gimbal combo for about two months and a little while back purchased a Pansonic LX10 and a Zhiyun Crane M. I went with these two items because this is one of the smallest 1 Inch CMOS 20MP sensor cameras that shoots amazing 4K footage and I knew when adding the gimbal, weight would matter. Now they do make bigger versions to mount full body DSLRs but these are monsters and for prolonged shooting - well you better hit the gym.

I am finishing up a new video and will have it live very shortly and you will see some of the shots with the crane and in a future video I plan to go into detail about this rig. So before I ramble too much longer here are some pics. More to come.

View attachment 8741

View attachment 8742
You might want to add some tags to your thread from the top left location as well. This will eventually draw more to the thread.
 

Ty Pilot

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As mentioned in the other thread, Panasonic also makes a 15x zoom version of this camera, the ZS200 with 1" sensor and shoots 4K 30p:
Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200: First Impressions Review
I have been using a Sony RX100 Mk2 for several years now and loving the results. It only goes up to 1080p but the newer versions (Mk4-5) shoot 4K. These all have 1" sensor but only 3x zoom:
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V: Digital Photography Review
To get high quality 4K video, I bought a used Sony AX100 with 1" sensor, 12X zoom, built-in ND filters and a host of other useful features for videography. The image stabilization system is not the best and sometimes stops functioning (error message). That's what I get for buying used equipment. It still takes such good video, that I am considering purchasing a Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal for it. That will end up being a pretty heavy rig to handle.
Sony FDR-AX100 4K Ultra HD Camcorder FDRAX100/B B&H Photo Video
Zhiyun-Tech Crane-2 3-Axis Stabilizer with Follow Focus CRANE-2
Finally, the Yuneec ActionCam with CGO3+ makes pretty decent handheld 4K video:
Yeah I was real close to getting the Sony RX100 IV or V but some of the reviews on constant operation and the heat shut off steered me away. The LX10 has its lumps no douibt, I hate that there is no external mic input and I have to record audio to a B camera or dedicated audio recorder but other than that and the auto focus not being 100% effective it does a nice job.
 

Ty Pilot

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Okay, so the thing about these new handheld gimbals that I really like is, as you see above; I can invert the the gimbal - just like on our aircraft (Yuneec you listening;)) and it has several modes that allow the operator to use it several different ways. In Mode one it works just like our CG03+, for instance; when I turn it will turn in the Z axis as a left or right yaw on the aircraft - it will smooth out that turn but go along with it while, any up and down motion is cancelled. However, just like on the H, I can re-position to any elevation and it will lock on that. Mode 2 allows the operator to point the camera up and down as well - but again it cancels any abrupt movement. I can at any time re-position the camera - by hand! and this does not affect the operation - very cool.

Now, another aspect since we are talking about motion. As I mentioned I have been on a quest to get better movement. About seven years ago I was researching steady cams and cranes and wondered if I could build a mechanical three axis gimbal to hold a GoPro and see if I could truly get a steady shot while walking. I ended up realizing that even with the 3 axis' accounted for, the up and down movement of a human walking was the problem, no matter how much you bend you knees and try to walk without some rise and fall, the video will record your gate.

Those who have the handheld thing that came with the Q 500 know what I am talking about. ;) In fact, pretty much ALL hand held gimbals can only do so much to eliminate your gate when holding the gimbal close to your body so what is the answer? Due to the light weight of the GoPro, I experimented with mounting it on a mono pod and the results I got were promising. I even made a video but never made it public but; I was getting pretty good movement and the answer was simple; in effect add a fourth axis - get the camera away from your body. And to do this I put it on the end of a Monopod. I have been working with the new camera and gimbal above in a similar setup and the results are very promising. But for now here is a video I made a while back with a GoPro and a mechanical stabilizer. This is a seven year old video so its in 720 unfortunately.:oops:

 
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Okay, so the thing about these new handheld gimbals that I really like is, as you see above; I can invert the the gimbal - just like on our aircraft (Yuneec you listening;)) and it has several modes that allow the operator to use it several different ways. In Mode one it works just like our CG03+, for instance; when I turn it will turn in the Z axis as a left or right yaw on the aircraft - it will smooth out that turn but go along with it while, any up and down motion is cancelled. However, just like on the H, I can re-position to any elevation and it will lock on that. Mode 2 allows the operator to point the camera up and down as well - but again it cancels any abrupt movement. I can at any time re-position the camera - by hand! and this does not affect the operation - very cool.

Now, another aspect since we are talking about motion. As I mentioned I have been on a quest to get better movement. About seven years ago I was researching steady cams and cranes and wondered if I could build a mechanical three axis gimbal to hold a GoPro and see if I could truly get a steady shot while walking. I ended up realizing that even with the 3 axis' accounted for, the up and down movement of a human walking was the problem, no matter how much you bend you knees and try to walk without some rise and fall, the video will record your gate.

Those who have the handheld thing that came with the Q 500 know what I am talking about. ;) In fact, pretty much ALL hand held gimbals can only do so much to eliminate your gate when holding the gimbal close to your body so what is the answer? Due to the light weight of the GoPro, I experimented with mounting it on a mono pod and the results I got were promising. I even made a video but never made it public but; I was getting pretty good movement and the answer was simple; in effect add a fourth axis - get the camera away from your body. And to do this I put it on the end of a Monopod. I have been working with the new camera and gimbal above in a similar setup and the results are very promising. But for now here is a video I made a while back with a GoPro and a mechanical stabilizer. This is an old video so its in 720 unfortunately.

Wow! That works really well. The last scenes of your neighbor's flowers, the GoPro focuses nicely giving pleasant bokeh (blur) in the background. Is that auto focusing?
I tried a similar mechanical stabilizer for the AX100. It was made by Neewer. I had a dickens of a time getting smooth video from it. The video always looked like I was on a boat rolling gently from side to side. Perhaps it wasn't balanced properly even though I followed the directions. I think if it had more weight on the bottom, it would have been more steady. But that makes shooting anything but horizontal difficult. I noticed you had quite a bit of weight on the long bottom arm.
 

Ty Pilot

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Actually I was just adding in a adjustment layer in After Effects and applying a blur to make that effect. As for the movement thing the mono pod extension is what added the polish (in my opinion) as I mentioned I'm doing some tests now with a similar setup with LX and Crane and hope to have a video coming.
 
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Been there done that...kind of...I used a Sony like that years ago their RX100 Ver. 1 on a Phantom and the problems you described a few posts up pretty much sums up why it was unworkable...but are you aware if you do go the route of using another drone that a few companies made gimbals for the RX100 and people got some pretty good results...this was a few years ago with the first version of the RX100 perhaps as the codecs and cards have improved the results might be a bit better...I think you'll find that a handheld type gimbal will not respond quickly enough for satisfactory aerial results but perhaps you'll find it works just fine. There was even a British company that made cables so you could control the camera remotely (nowadays it's reinventing the wheel). We all tuned our gimbals for hour upon hour to get smooth video...ah the good old days. Most of us used Taranis radios because they were the most customizable and were continually improving because of open source software. I look forward to hearing about your progress. Best of Luck
 
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I was interested to see that Steadicam has introduced an accessory which borrows heavily from aerial gimbal technology for their high end cinema versions. It's called the M1 and it now does some of the work the operator had to do by holding the horizon automatically instead of the operator having to do it
manually...
 

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Thanks Mickeyboo, as to this being used for flight - I'm not suggesting that is where I am going - yet. However these new gimbals respond incredibly well and I would say at least as fast as the Gimbal on the H or in fact better. Its build quality is superior to handheld gimbals from even just a few years back, but like I said, I am primarily using it for ground work. I saw the RX100 Mark 1 when it came out and have been following ever since and, as you note, its not there yet. When the Sony RXO came out, again I thought they were moving in the right direction but; it's not there either. In the end my focus is not the gear but the result. I can't wait to see where this tech leads to in the near future.
 

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Actually I was just adding in a adjustment layer in After Effects and applying a blur to make that effect. As for the movement thing the mono pod extension is what added the polish (in my opinion) as I mentioned I'm doing some tests now with a similar setup with LX and Crane and hope to have a video coming.
A quick question if I may. Do you ever use any video stabilization in After Effects? If so, is it built in or a third party plug in? I have had CS5 for a number of years, but am just getting into videography and would like to take some jitters out of my Breeze videos.

Thanks in advance @Ty Pilot.
 
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My apologies I should have read more closely, I thought you were modifying it for a drone...A few years ago I was in Istanbul with Garrett Brown inventor of the Steadicam at a workshop...he grabbed my little Sony RX100 and held it up and said this may be the future for Steadicam. I think you should try something smaller and lighter like the one I'm using here for your ground Work.Me Steadicam.jpg
 

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A quick question if I may. Do you ever use any video stabilization in After Effects? If so, is it built in or a third party plug in? I have had CS5 for a number of years, but am just getting into videography and would like to take some jitters out of my Breeze videos.

Thanks in advance @Ty Pilot.
The built in tracking in AE is pretty good - for stationary shots, later versions (not sure if your does) allows for multiple point tracking which is near cinema quality that can track with camera motion. But for sure early versions can do a good job with stationary shots. UAV shots are moving and therefore elements that you would normally use to stabilize should be moving and make traditional tracking pointless. So the short answer is - probably not unfortunately.
 

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My apologies I should have read more closely, I thought you were modifying it for a drone...A few years ago I was in Istanbul with Garrett Brown inventor of the Steadicam at a workshop...he grabbed my little Sony RX100 and held it up and said this may be the future for Steadicam. I think you should try something smaller and lighter like the one I'm using here for your ground Work.View attachment 8749
That rig is exactly what I am trying to get away from LOL. Man my back hurts just looking at that. But yeah, thats what cinema quality demands.

Here is a sample video using an LX10 with the Crane M

 
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DoomMeister

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I can add tracking points in my version. I think you are saying that if I can do multi-point tracking that it can reduce wobble from a moving camera (drone cam or hand held video cam). I'll see if I can find some how to's online for it. Thanks Ty!
 

Ty Pilot

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I can add tracking points in my version. I think you are saying that if I can do multi-point tracking that it can reduce wobble from a moving camera (drone cam or hand held video cam). I'll see if I can find some how to's online for it. Thanks Ty!
If you want to learn AE, one of the best sites is Video Copilot. This is a guy I have been following for over ten years and he went from a kid doing basic sky replacement to now working on major films like Star Wars, Star Trek, Super 8, and many more. Click the link, go to tutorials, scroll to the bottom and get the first tutorial and move up. Here is a sample of AE in a pros hands.

Video CoPilot

 
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That rig is exactly what I am trying to get away from LOL. Man my back hurts just looking at that. But yeah, thats what cinema quality demands.

Here is a sample video using an LX10 with the Crane M

Amen brother that's why I told Garrett at that workshop I was going the drone route...they had just created a new vest Exovest but I still had back problems part of which was my poor technique.
 

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