A behind-the-scenes look at a helicopter departure from a relatively busy class D airport in Arizona.
I went for a little pleasure flight on Tuesday, mostly to check out the capabilities of my new GoPro HD Hero2 camera. This GoPro has two features I’ve been wanting:
- A narrower field of view. The HD Hero2 supports a 90° FOV in addition to 127° and 170°; the HD Hero supports only 127° and 170°. I like to show off low-level, high speed flight, but with a super wide angle lens, I had to almost be kicking up dust in flight for the picture to actually look low-level.
- Audio in via a Mic port. Let’s face it; there’s nothing too interesting about the droning sound of a helicopter’s engine and rotor blades. I wanted to include cockpit sound.
So I rigged up the Hero2 with a skeleton housing as my helicopter nosecam and ran a 3.5mm stereo cable from the audio in port to an audio out port I’d had installed in my helicopter for use with my old POV.1 setup. And then I went flying.
And today I put together this little educational video that puts you on the helicopter’s nose with headsets on for a departure from Deer Valley Airport (DVT) in north Phoenix.
A few things about the video and setup.
- The audio is clear but there’s an annoying buzz when no one is talking. I don’t know what that is but it annoys the hell out me. For serious production use, I’d have to duck the audio for each “silent” period. That means using Final Cut Pro instead of iMovie (which I used to throw this together).
- As with the HD Hero, 1080p video capture (which is what this video was recorded at) introduces a waving motion in the bottom half of the frame. This motion goes away at 720p resolution on my HD Hero and HD Hero 960. I should note here that I purchased a 30MB/s Class 10 SD card to make sure the wiggle wasn’t caused by the camera’s inability to write quickly enough to the card.
- The color looks terrible. I don’t know if it’s because I used my polarizing filter and didn’t really need it or if there’s something weird about the camera’s optics. Will try it next time without the polarizing filter.
By the way, there’s a nice comparison of the three currently available GoPro Hero models here. I’m embarrassed to admit that I now own one of each.
I’ll play with this some more at different settings to see if I can get the results I expect. So far, I’m not exactly happy with the video quality, although I’m very glad to be able to record a decent cockpit audio track.