Monday, March 2, 2009

New Photo Rig

I have been working on a new camera rig for the new 15' blimp (Floatograph) we recently purchased with Geography. Geography also bought a series of new cameras: 2- Canon Powershot (A590 - 8 megapixel and image stablization) and 2 Fujifilm FinePix IS-1. The latter is particularly interesting as it records near-infrared in addition to visible light (wavelengths 400-900 nm). We also got a battery powered video transmitter that can be used to send NTSC video output from a camera to a ground receiver and displayed on a monitor.

Using the Airtronics VG400 for the controller, servos and transmitters, I created new mounts for the cameras. The mounts are simpler than earlier versions as I realized that some of the design considerations that John Dudgeon had used were specifically for flying cameras with (the much more volatile kites). I also was able to place some of the "common" components on the picovet suspension.   

Below is a photo of the rig as I was nearing completion. I added means for tiling the Canon Powershot cameras out to the sides - so that we could get overlapping images and wide coverage. The near-IR camera is in the center. Since it had a cable release socket, I used a cable to trigger the IR shutter combined with the radio controlled servo. I need to beef up the hanging parts of the picovet and replace swivels and whatnot.

I am excited about trying this out.


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