Recommendations for Aerial Video on The Cheap

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by packrat79, May 27, 2015.

  1. packrat79

    packrat79 Member

    I've long been interested in aerial photography and videography, and now that quads have made it so easy I decided to give it a try. Since I've never flown a quad or any other R/C aircraft before, I decided to start with a Syma X5C-1 just to get the hang of it. My first impressions are mixed; while the X5C-1 performs well for the price, it really isn't suited for my needs. Without any FPV, I have to maintain visual contact which becomes difficult at more than 50 meters distance (I extended the range to about 150m) or especially on a bright sunny day. Trying to navigate the quad when it is barely visible, I can't determine which direction it's facing, and I'm trying to compensate for light winds, is almost impossible and I've nearly lost it several times already. Also, there's no way to see what I'm shooting until the video is played back. And video quality, while decent for this price range, is far from professional quality.
    I figure FPV would help greatly, but without the budget for a DJI Phantom or 3D Iris, I opted to order a WLToys V686G instead. While I'm waiting it for, I thought I'd do some research to see what mods or add-ons can be done to make it more Phantom-like.
    I would like to have a transmitting and FPV range of at least 500 meters, or even 1km if possible. From what I've read, the stock range of the V686G is about 150m. Also, the built-in cam is not that great on video quality. So my key questions are:
    Is it feasible to add a Mobius Actioncam and Fatshark FPV transmitter to the quad (removing the stock camera of course) without adding too much weight? And what options are available for extending the range of the R/C transmitter? Could this be done with a 2.4Ghz broadband amplifier?
    It's probably obvious that I'm new to this and have a lot to learn, but that's what I'm here. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Jackson

    Jackson USA member at large

  3. packrat79

    packrat79 Member

    You are right, the video isn't bad. But the Mobius cam still blows it away....
    How long, on average, do the motors and props usually last?
     
  4. Jackson

    Jackson USA member at large

    Those motors seem to be a bit more problematic than most, also you were talking about hauling more weight. On a quad like that a keychain 808 #16 (authentic) would make more sense. The main problem is that all the FPV stuff is part of the camera so it can't be replaced, only added to.
     
  5. packrat79

    packrat79 Member

    Yeah I noticed that the FPV transmitter and camera are combined, so I guess if I use a different camera I'd need an external 5.8GHz transmitter as well.
    I see other people have attached a Mobius cam to a Syma X5C, so I guess it can be done but probably at the expense of flight time (close to 50% more weight).
    Is there a better replacement for the motors on these? Which also leads me to wonder, what happens if a motor fails in mid-flight? That's very important since I want to fly this over some rather remote areas.
     
  6. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and U.S. Air Force 1C6 Moderator

    If you loose one motor on a quadcopter it will tumble and drop out of the sky, this is another reason people use octa-copters, 8X, and Y6 because of motor redundancy.

    For FPV (usually, but you may not handle the weight), I'd suggest getting a board camera and a camera to record with(Mobius, Runcam, GoPro, that type of thing). If the camera that is already on your quad is good quality, then you could get only a board cam, or you could just mound a camera to record with, as you won't care about latency. I'd suggest a Mobius over the Runcam if your going to be using the Live feed from the camera to record with.

    Either way, I suggest getting a 32ch VTx, these sets are cheap enough that you could buy a board camera, and VTx almost as cheap as just a 32chVTx

    Here is a 127FOV

    Here is a 148FOV


    If you think you may use just the board camera I suggest getting the camera with the FOV closest to that of the camera that will be recording to give you a better feel of what your recording.
     
  7. Jackson

    Jackson USA member at large

    His quad will never handle those things, the RunCam for instance comes in at ~41g, which is probably 4 X what the stock camera weighs which is why I recommended the 17g 808 #16/720p.

    The quality is quite good (they are tweakable) for such a light payload and should not overly overtax his quad.

    Here's a comparison with the various lenses, the stock (A) which has the narrowest field looks the best.



    A lot of knock offs though, here's trusted seller.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-DVR-80...005&rk=4&rkt=6&mehot=pp&sd=150860529062&rt=nc

    Here's the wide angle D with cables.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-DVR-80...580?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a20b389dc
     
  8. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and U.S. Air Force 1C6 Moderator

    I do agree with Jackson after looking at what this would be mounted on, however it should be able to handle the VTx and a board camera, as his video recording camera is good enough.
     
  9. packrat79

    packrat79 Member

    I wonder why pricey units like the DJI Phantom or 3D Iris aren't built around hex or octo design? I wouldn't want to have one of these fall out of the sky, although maybe motor failure isn't such an issue with these.
    I wonder if something like the DJI F550 is a better option for videography in high-risk places (over water etc.)? It has the redundancy of 6 motors, and at 1.1kg I expect it would be quite stable and could lift whatever FPV equipment I wanted and then some. Of course, by the time I bought everything including the controller, I could probably have bought a Phantom.
    Another idea I had, and one I'm surprised nobody has thought of before, is the idea of attaching a remote locator to your quad. This one looks ideal, with the receiver weighing less than 10g:
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/New-Guardian...004?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f18bf9f5c
    If you can lift enough weight, you could go whole hog and get one that transmits its GPS location. Handy if you lose your quad in a thick forest.....
     
  10. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and U.S. Air Force 1C6 Moderator

    There are remote locators made for quads, and some general purpose ones for other things like keys, kids, cars and wallets. Many people have GPS data on their OSD, so they just scroll back through their flight till they lost it, but yeah one like this would be a lot better. As for getting a hex or X8, I still suggest waterproofing it, as motors, props or ESCs are not the only way to tumble out of the sky.
     

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