POV from Helicopter, Test Video

Here’s the first video I shot with my POV.1 camera from my helicopter.

I mounted the camera on the bar between the two front seats, using a camera mount I’d bought a few years back for my camcorder. I pointed it pretty much straight out the front. This is the view someone sitting in the back would have if he stuck his face between the two front seats.

The best I could do for sound was to run a small tape recorder microphone into the earpiece of my headset. This works by picking up all the sound I hear and has the added benefit of muffling the aircraft noise. The microphone goes directly into the Mic port on the POV.1. You’ll hear me and Ed talking about the video and various things around town. You’ll also hear all radio communications.

The original video was 14 minutes long — the amount of time it took to take off from Wickenburg, swing past the west side of Vulture Peak, fly over Vulture Mine, fly past the east side of Vulture Peak (low), and land back at the airport. I edited out about half of it.

I know it isn’t the greatest video, but it is my first try. (Be gentle with your comments.) I’m hoping to build up a little library of clips and someday turn them into something good.

10 thoughts on “POV from Helicopter, Test Video

  1. Awesome, awesome video! Thanks for sharing that with us. As someone who desperately hopes to learn to fly helicopters one day, this was a real treat. Thanks for leaving some of the ATC comm’s in there as well. :)

  2. Thanks. I think the trick to getting good video from this camera in the helicopter will be positioning it right, flying low, and flying with the sun at my back. I have some ideas for mounting it on the outside of the aircraft. Waiting for a special clamp mount to arrive. What amazes me is how smooth the image is — no vibration! The camera must have some serious image stabilization built in.

  3. You’re right about all that. I’ve been thinking about researching a camera like fhis for quite some time, but it’s always been on the backburner. You’ve done all the research for me – perhaps you should get commission when I buy one? But that’ll come after I get the Lightspeed Zulu…tried them at Heli Expo on Sunday and they are amazing. Looking forward to more of these heli movies you make…any way I’d be able to download any of them? Cheers, Mike

  4. When I put together a “real” movie — that means edited and with music — I’ll probably make it downloadable. Right now, I’m still testing the equipment. Looking forward to making a video of a flight on Saturday for my passengers. Interested in seeing whether I can put a raw AVI file on a CD or DVD while they wait.

  5. As a former old chopper pilot myself, it would have been nice to have this kind of camera onboard while landing on the offshore oil rigs.

    Good job..looking forward to more.

  6. I was fishing around seeing if anyone was using these units for aviation and was glad to see your progress. Thanks for sharing.

    Incidentally, I doubt very much that there is any video stabilization with the camera. The camera has such low mass compared to the strength of your mount (and therefore, mass of your airframe) that it vibrates perfectly in sync with the airframe. This results in a solid image between the camera and the airframe, which looks good, but image resolution of objects outside of the airframe will always be somewhat degraded. However, grosser ‘copter motions and altitudes work in your favor to mask any degradations. Also, if you do get an audio-out from your audio panel or intercom do realize that it is often a “line level” signal. If your POV.1 has a mic input, then you need to attenuate the line level signal with some resistors to avoid distortion. Any avionics guy should know how to do this with 5 cents worth of resistors. At any rate, your clients will love your video efforts. Have fun.

    • Thanks for all this info. I was wondering why the video was so darn smooth. This does explain it.

      I got the audio working well. Needed a few adapters to bring the helicopter audio into the mic in jack on the POV. A friend of mine who does a lot of audio work advised me. It works, but it’s a pain in the neck to set up and results in wires all over the cockpit. So I don’t bother unless I think it would add real value to have the cockpit/radio sound. These days, I’ve been setting videos to music instead.

      I have a lot of other POV videos online. You can find many of them at http://www.viddler.com/mlanger/videos/. You can also find them on this site by clicking the helicopter videos tag in the navigation bar on the right side of the window.

What do you think?