DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone and also referred to as an unpiloted aerial vehicle and a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard.

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DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:32 pm

OK
Some out the box thinking

There are a number of camera / imaging pods for aircraft -- fixed wing and rotor wing
The more advanced ones can do all sorts of extra "things"
Very professional VERY expensive

Now the DJI can produce incredible imagery -- static as well as video -- relatively cheaply
BUT
Is constrained by short flight time , BVLS , and other problems , as well as useless regulations

NOW
As an initial experiment -- could one attach a DJI -- say a Phantom 4 Pro to an Ultralight
Find a way to disconnect the motors but leave everything else working -- and go fly
Using all the other normal controls for filming -- passenger / co-pilot
Battery should last longer without having to run the motors

In other words a basic miniature imaging pod just to see if this would work ?

I am sure some bright clever electronics gurus could find ways to use the guts of the DJI and build this into a proper miniature camera pod
At a price point normal people could afford

This would have all sorts of uses at the -- inexpensive light end of the market.

ANYONE .....
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by IcarusZulu » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:19 am

It would probably be better to invest in a new Go Pro.
Engines who needs em anyhow?

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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by Duane Mouton » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:36 am

Saw this video last night. I thought it worked really well. In this case it is an entire DJI inspire strapped to the wing but the concept worked really well.


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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:39 am

IcarusZulu wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:19 am
It would probably be better to invest in a new Go Pro.
Which can do -- WHAT ?
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:44 am

Duane Mouton wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:36 am

Saw this video last night. I thought it worked really well. In this case it is an entire DJI inspire strapped to the wing but the concept worked really well.

GREAT
Thanks just the sort of thing I was looking for
So in essence the idea is sound

One wonders if DJI themselves will think about this ?
I imagine that with all the expertise / manufacturing they already have it should be quite straightforward ?
Some people just need hi-quality video / photos and NOT all the other fancy bells and whistles the big professional setups have !
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:52 am

Duane Mouton wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:36 am
Saw this video last night. I thought it worked really well. In this case it is an entire DJI inspire strapped to the wing but the concept worked really well.
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by Kibim » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:02 pm

I still want to know why we can't just strap a Zenmuse to a power source and a controller and use it as a camera system for well, almost anything. If someone knows of a Zenmuse 'rig' that's not a drone, i'm all ears.
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by _juju_ » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:18 pm

Kibim wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:02 pm
I still want to know why we can't just strap a Zenmuse to a power source and a controller and use it as a camera system for well, almost anything. If someone knows of a Zenmuse 'rig' that's not a drone, i'm all ears.
You can strap the Zenmuse X5 (16MP, excellent light sensitivity and interchangeable lenses) to an Osmo (or Osmo +) handle with an additional adapter. Or just use the X3 (12MP fixed FOV) camera that comes with the Osmo, or Z3 (12MP with limited zoom ability) that comes with the Osmo+, maybe look for a mount. Both Osmo / Osmo+ links to your smartphone for control of the camera and settings.
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by Kibim » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:27 pm

_juju_ wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:18 pm
You can strap the Zenmuse X5 (16MP, excellent light sensitivity and interchangeable lenses) to an Osmo (or Osmo +) handle with an additional adapter. Or just use the X3 (12MP fixed FOV) camera that comes with the Osmo, or Z3 (12MP with limited zoom ability) that comes with the Osmo+, maybe look for a mount. Both Osmo / Osmo+ links to your smartphone for control of the camera and settings.
Ah, okay, interesting. Is it possible to control an osmo with something like one of the long distance drone receivers with HDMI out?
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:09 pm

Interesting ideas -- they are however kludges

THIS

http://www.airbornetechnologies.co.za/current-projects/

A SOUTH AFRICAN company

is really what I had in mind
These systems are for larger aircraft with front engines / propellers
Are
Too large
Too heavy
Too old tech
Too expensive

What I had in mind is a rear engine Ultralight with a much smaller camera / video system -- aka the DJI platform but in a suitable housing using the normal control box from within the aircraft. One could use a co-pilot / passenger for control or could automate the flight mission or slave the gimbal to the flight controls.
All very do-able for DJI -- IF they wanted to enter this segment of the market.
I hope that they do ..
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by Shepherd » Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:52 am

There are a lot of things to consider here...

My first thought and only questions would be what the use of the footage is...

1. If you just wanna get some lekka footage as you fly... Then your option of strapping any DJI drone would work, but you mostly would be getting fairly wide footage. Even simpler would be the GoPro as suggested.

2. If you want to take footage for a film purpose, this would not work great. You would have to go with something like the link you sent of the locally produced systems.
This is purely because as filmmakers we want choice of perspective, i.e. lenses and then more importantly its all about massive dynamic movements.
If you ever seen Fred North flying for a filming gig you would know what I mean... I think he mostly tries to not crash into things than flying a helicopter, amazing coordination and skill.
This is where the drone comings into play... Although you are more limited to lense setups with a DJI drone, you can get much closer to the action and can move in any direction making it a very valuable tool as an aerial rig. But it's still at best only a prosumer solution.
Further up from that most filmmakers would actually want to use something like the FreeFly Systems so you can use cine cameras and lenses. But then you are not limited by budgets and more by creative possibilities of said individuals.
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:31 am

Shepherd wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:52 am
There are a lot of things to consider here...
My first thought and only questions would be what the use of the footage is...

1. If you just wanna get some lekka footage as you fly...

2. If you want to take footage for a film purpose,

But it's still at best only a prosumer solution.
Further up from that most filmmakers would actually want to use something like the FreeFly Systems so you can use cine cameras and lenses.

But then you are not limited by budgets and more by creative possibilities of said individuals.
Cinematography is like Computer high end gaming -- where the money is.

The purpose I imagine was more agricultural / game farming where the application is not necessarily high end , high specification industrial / construction -- although DJI do produce RTK UAV's which I am sure could be incorporated into an aircraft system -- many of which already have GPSr / GNSS systems.
The whole idea is -- small / light / inexpensive , although of course there is always a trade off between price and "features" ..
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by SlowApproach » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:00 pm

I've done a lot of interfacing cameras (especially FLIR, Canon, Sony & Phase One) & other payloads to a multitude of single-board computers specifically for aerial use (In fact, it's one of my specialties :) )

Forget about fiddling with proprietary DJI cameras to work with non-DJI stuff. It's not worth the endless required workarounds and hassles - which will usually cost more than bargained for. You would probably be better off with other makes (Any camera that has (an electronic) remote shutter control can do. Then just needs the appropriate signal conditioning/converting interface cable (which contains a bit of inline electronics)

For airborne camera control (via normally-UAV autopilot hardware but used in/with a manned microlight) you can use Arduino, Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or 4, or even a Pixhawk. A nice hardware/software combo to use would typically be the ArduPilot flight stack on Raspberry Pi with Navio. (Navio turns the Raspberry Pi board into a flight controller)

Depending on your requirements (& of course, budget) you can incorporate a reasonably inexpensive 3-axis universal stabilising gimbal (there are some around) or just a fixed mount for the camera.

For ground station (or in-cabin) software (to set/change a camera control flight plan into your autopilot-turned-purely-camera controller) you can use Michael Oborne's (free) Mission Planner on a laptop. You can set the camera to trigger at intervals or at waypoints you fly over, or whenever you want, ad-hoc. Cable-based (or wireless) telemetry from the autopilot will even show your track in real-time.

Or you can just have a simple in-cabin start & stop shutter trigger button connected. IOW, many proven working variations & possibilities abound. All obviously just depends on time & what you want (or not) to pay :)

PS: I'm heavily snowed under with big projects at present so not around much but you're welcome to drop me a PM to discuss - if you can tolerate some possibly delayed responses.
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by KZNChris » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:55 am

SlowApproach wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:00 pm
PS: I'm heavily snowed under with big projects at present so not around much but you're welcome to drop me a PM to discuss - if you can tolerate some possibly delayed responses.
Thanks will do
Have you seriously considered applying for hi-tech stat-up venture capital financing ?
Sounds like you would be a definite candidate ..
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Re: DJI camera pod for Ultralight

Unread post by SlowApproach » Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:11 am

Thanks for the suggestion, but I've been through that a number of times. It's a serious time-waster, especially with the local "venture capitalists". I have other good income streams so I'd rather do things my own way & in my own time, completely "debt-free" :)
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