I received a great question: “Please tell me how the camera is mounted. I want to mount one on my RV-4 for a trip over Monument Valley.”
I got to looking around and realized that I have never shown how I mount my camera. I was shocked!
Most of my video capture has been done using a Drift HD170 camera. I could display links to all the posts with video footage but that would be a fairly long list. The easiest way to find them is to look down near the bottom of the column on the right where it says “Tags”. From that list, select the “Video” link. That will then give you a list of all postings that contain a video – at least it will if I did my job correctly. Ain’t technology neat!!
I’ve had it mounted in a variety of ways and places. None have been ideal yet but all have produced some results. The Drift has several really nice features. The first is the remote control which allows start/stop of video capture. Next, the ability to rotate the lens so that the video is always “right side up”. Finally, the bullet shape is relatively aerodynamic so I worry less about sticking it out in the airstream. However; that doesn’t always work.
The tailspring makes for a neat angle but it get’s oily residue on the camera and is a bit dangerous for the camera from rocks and things that get kicked up by the landing gear. I used the gear provided with the camera for this location.
The vertical fin mount uses a piece of aluminum angle riveted to the skin near the top of the fin. This is also a neat angle but I always get a lot of vibration in the video. That mount needs some attention to work properly. The cool factor is being able to see most of the aircraft in the video.
The tie down ring location allows for easy mounting of the aluminum angle. It is pretty good but the Drift remote control does not work at all in this position. I have some friends flying GoPro’s from this position and it seems to work for them.
The top of the wing mount is what I most frequently use. It is very crude. Just a short chunk of aluminum angle with some holes drilled in it.
Initially, I mounted the angle using the wing fuel tank screws pointing straight ahead. This captured too much of the prop. I then moved the camera to the tip using the wing tip rivets. This was the best angle but the Drift remote control would not work very well. I think there is too much electrical interference in my cockpit. While in this position I pointed the camera fore, aft, and looking at the fuselage. Finally, I returned the camera to about mid-span using the fuel tank screws but I angled it slightly “out” – away from the prop. The remote control “mostly” works and I get very little of the prop. This is not ideal but I just haven’t had time to improve it. I know… I use that excuse a lot. 🙁
I continue to fight, what I think is, electrical noise interfering with the remote control feature of the camera. It works fine sitting on the ground with the engine off but in-flight the range is very short – like about five feet.
The Drift HD camera also has a wide angle lens. This is ideal for the typical in-flight video to capture more of the action/sights. However; it also makes things appear to be farther away. So, one has to fly VERY close to something if trying to capture it. Sometimes that makes for more fun. Sometimes it is just not possible to safely capture the desire footage.
A friend is flying with the latest GoPro camera which has a really slick remote control. It offers the ability to turn the camera on/off, take still images, change the record mode, and start/stop video capture. However; it does not allow the lens to be rotated to always record “level”.
Finally, HD video consumes a huge amount of disk space. I generally use an 8 or 16 Gb SD memory card. Be prepared for how much disk space is quickly consumed on your computer.