Aerial photography

Boat Aerial photography by kite

Wednesday 16th April 2014

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I have an ongoing project to film my boat from the air using a kite. I already have a gopro camera, which is small, light and waterproof. After some research, a single-string “sled” kite seemed best; I use a 1.5m one with a drogue tail (which makes it more stable).

After a few tries, it became clear that being able to run the kite back in would be important, so I am experimenting with using a diving reel.

The final piece of the jigsaw is how to mount the camera to the kite. Since this is a low-cost project (otherwise I would be using a remote controlled drone!), I decided to make my own mount.

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After some googling, I found an old design called a “picavet”, originally used over 100 years ago, which is quite easy to construct. It is very easy to attach to the kite string (one-handed if necessary) and holds the camera level.

The mark 1 version works well enough, but does not suppress vibration very well, so is acceptable for stills photography but not much good for video filming. I may modify it to make a mark 2 version using pulleys, so it runs more smoothly.

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