A series of quick mods to the Brooxes ‘basic’ rig and the D70 is committed to an AutoKAP flight. The all up weight with a stock 28mm lens came in at 1.1kg when everything but the basics is stripped off the rig. That’s only 100g over what I fly anyway: this is going to be easy! Against my usual practice of using a pendulum I accepted the Picavet suspension on weight grounds and just hope the flat weave Dacron will not let me down. The D70 has very limited remote control options so for testing a rubber ‘finger’ (as neither of us was prepared to remove an actual finger for the job) was taped over the shutter release button with the camera set in continuous mode. With the rig turning every 5 seconds the frame rate might just match the servo trip rate…
On a grey overcast day with freezing fingers I hooked the quick clips to the line of the Lifter, it was pulling well and had found a steady place in the sky, I have got used to its mad short line behaviour and know once it’s up it tends to stay up…with the shutter taped securely down and the camera clicking away, the picavet running freely and the pan servo jerking the rig around 30 deg every 5 seconds I wave it goodbye…the Lifter takes the load and Clive feeds out a big bight of line, the rig leaps into the air …twang…clunk:
388 inverted shots later I get to see what has happened: the jolt has loosened a wing nut and the mass of the camera has swung the tilt platform upside down, obviously this is going to take some sorting out. The tilt pivot point is well below the CoG of the camera. The moving mass of this camera is capable of causing serious problems, it will easily override a tilt servo unless I can gear it down or perhaps I will need to use an industrial robotic servo. To save weight, space and tape I order an infra red (IR) shutter remote from James Gentles, and at the speed of the night mail crossing the border it arrives next day ( thank you James!) and it works a treat..sadly there’s now no wind at all so I’ll have to wait to fly it again. The taped shutter shots are encouraging though; even in poor light the DSLR resolution is clear.
The D70 shot this on ‘Auto’ at:1/160th sec, f6.3 ISO 400. I have tweaked this extract from the shot above a bit in Lightroom:
Since KAPiNed10 I have been changing my view of flying a heavy camera like this, my first instinct with KAP has been to keep the weight to a minimum but as I get better at matching the right kite to the wind I am getting more confident about what I can lift and manage balanced with my bodyweight (I am a 70kg weakling). I cannot really describe the immense joy of experiencing flying a kite and camera in balance; it is something like walking on air. I had assumed more weight would require a bigger kite and bigger problems controlling it, this is not necessarily the case if I can get the load, lift and kite matched from a flight of kites.
I have been not a little fearful of flying the D70, it’s clearly is not designed as a lightweight camera and I recall Steve Cole’s words on the matter well: ‘flying a DSLR is not a good idea when dealing with heavy landings’; it’s always going to be a camera I put before a steady and consistent wind, it will never have anything to do with the ‘light variable’ stuff!
The ‘Basic’ rig is powered by 4xAAA rechargeable batteries so I was advised to place the IR emitter as close to the receiver as possible to make the most of the modest power available.
The round spot below the right hand thumbwheel is the IR window.
Next: video relay, RC pan and tilt, done it before with a compact, how hard can it be with a DSLR?