Tuesday, April 9, 2013

AERIAL CAMERA COPTERS Cinestar 8, Quadcopter, Black Armored Drone, FlightCopter, Schiebel.

Which one's for you...
Having returned from NAB and seeing an incredible amount of aerial machines,  QUADs Hex, OCTO, ie. 4, 6, 8 & 12 blade copters soaring with everything from GoPro's to Reds to SONY cams I feel inspired, no make that obligated to take a quick look at some of them. Also from a human safety perspective I'd rather have my feet planted on good ole TERRA FIRMA after losing 3 good friends to helicopter filming accidents and let these incredible RC machines go up there and do the work!!

So fasten your seat belt prepare for Takeoff and.... oh yeah... that's right they're heading into the sky not I ! So many options and configurations and should I or shouldn't I BUILD IT! So let's take a look at the RTF, yep you guessed it Ready To Fly offerings:

DJI Phantom Quadcopter $679.00
A great place to satisfy your curiousity and wet your appetite for aerial photography and film. All you need is a GoPro to snap into it's mount and your all set. You can watch the copters flight through the eyes of the GoPro as it transmits it's video to your iPhone or iPad device.   After flying this you may be ready for next steps below...      

CineStar8Freefly Cinestar 8 $10800.00
Now Freefly is quite the innovator as they are the first to allow this type of multi-use technology between their copter and the Handheld camera gimbal the MoVI. At $10,800.00 you get pretty much everything you need. See earlier blog on MoVi.

Flightcopter FC12-950 HexaKoax-Cinema   $24,900.00 
At this price point rest assured that it's configured with EVERYTHING you would ever need to fly and shoot except for the camera of course.The FC12-950 HexaKoax-Cinema as well as the Octo Cinema are certainly our most high-end products. It gets cameras with a weight of 4kg (8.8 lbs)  airborne and still has ample reserve power. With its 12 motors it has the sound of a Formula 1 car and also provides a high degree of redundancy.

It icludes a 2-Axis Head (only Pitch and Roll) or for an extra 400.00 they'll add a 3-Axis Head (Pitch, Roll, Pan) and you will need a second cameraman

Black Armored Drone $53000.00
Who are these guys?"We googled them and got only one hit?? We spotted it at NAB 2013 hanging from above in RED's booth!

It's truly an awesome looking machine but $49000 base price ? No camera gimbal system or video downlink included, chalk on another 4000.00 to get it fully functional. Seems a bit ridiculous to me looking at the price to functionality ratio. Their website has no useful information not even a spec sheet...How about some payload discussion people...From the website:"The payload capacity is extraordinary – professional camera and lens combos with filters and follow focus (e.g. RED Epic + Masterprime + rods + follow focus + filter)." How about the actual weight in LBs, KG for payload...

 They're asking twice the price of their nearest competitor, flycopter.com which can support almost 10lbs, RED, SONY F55 etc...or 5 times the price of the Cinestar 8!
OK they were in the RED booth, RED=CLOUT !?!?V  ery surprising that they have no marketing collateral to backup from their brief description what must be the most incredibly built copter to date. Yes I am purely basing this assumption on the price point. They're website does not have enough information about the product to explain why it would be so worthy of this kings ransom. Why is that? so in summary, well, we really need more info from your company. How about it...

SCHIEBEL CAMCOPTER S-100 ! Wow way out of my league and I'll assume yours but so worth looking at and mentioning the Schiebel Camcopter S-100. Highly versatile and reliable. Come on we can all dream BIG! Yeah that's what I'm talkin about! Rent it for 400.00/hour!

OK so here's a checklist to help you with making your purchase decision.
  1. Can I fly it? Am I qualified. Training?
  2. How many operators required to fly & operate camera
  3. Overall Ease of use, assembly, pack up and repair
  4. PAYLOAD-What can it safely carry like my dog or cat...oh yeah the latest greatest camera
  5. Motors-Wattage, more can mean higher payload
  6. Airframe:Larger Carbon fiber arms needed for bigger loads
  7. Remote video downlink included, extra?
  8. Flight Range Altitude (Vertical) & Distance (Horizontal)
  9. Flight time
  10. Low Battery Warning
  11. GPS return to liftoff point, hands free operation
  12. SAFETY RECORD...Hey it's got my 10,000.00 camera hanging on it. OK I don't expect a report from the FAA or NTSB but what is the MTBF, mean-time-between -failure
  13. Replacement parts
  14. Balancing, calibrating, navigating etc...
Hopefully you now have some tools to better determine the PRICE to FUNCTIONALITY/VALUE ratio for your specific needs.

Oh yeah, that's right, you can just go out and rent any of these from Aerial film companies from $1000.00-$3500.00/day... Here's a few:
BRAIN FARM...everywhere
Mi6 Films in So Cal.
Skycam USA in NY

Just go out and rent a Schiebel at 400/hour !!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

MōVI M10 Camera Gimbal takes flight

Camera Gimbals have been around a LONG LONG TIME...You've seen them on the RC Helicopters slinging DSLR's underneath them high into the air for those great aerial shots. Well now a company has taken that mechanism and turned it into a handheld system that can support up to a 12LB camera ! Meet MōVI M10 from Freefly. Good old Vincent Laforet knows something revolutionary when he sees it.

Just as he did for the Canon DSLR with his film Revell he's worked close with Freefly with the same dramatic flare as his Canon DSLR campaign to introduce this "GAME CHANGER" to the world of Indie filmmakers! Bravo Vincent! Rather than write a detailed story regarding the MōVI product just check it out here on Vincent's blog!

This product only weighs 4lbs far less than the cameras it flys 12lbs!! Think of all the support gear you use to make the same shots this can make! Kind of like Fusion vs Fission, in this case you really do get back more than what you put in, lol...Off to NAB!