Aerial photography

Kite-cam improvements

Whilst moored on the Deben, I had a chance to try out my improvements to the kite-cam rig for aerial photography with my gopro.


I have added pulleys and used a longer picavet cradle, in order to better damp the oscillation of the kite. I am getting better at aiming the camera and I’m pleased with the stability improvements.


However, I notice that the weight of the camera rig tends to stall the kite sometimes and I wonder if the tail could do with more drag to correct the angle of attack. The pulley are also lined up the wrong way and don’t seem to help with the main problem, movement at right angles to the kite line. Further, I wonder if a larger cross would’ve more stable. I can feel a Mark 2 coming on…

For those who have asked, here are some shots of the rig I used today.



Aerial photography, videos

The view from above

This is my first attempt at filming the boat with my kite aerial photography rig. The footage is quite shaky and I need to improve the stability of huge rig before I attempt to film a moving boat. Not bad for a first attempt.

Filmed while on a mooring in Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk. You can clearly see the strong ebbing tide flowing under the boat; the log was reporting 1.8kts.

Aerial photography

Boat Aerial photography by kite

Wednesday 16th April 2014

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.

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.