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Flying With A 360 Camera Attached

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Cacc, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Cacc

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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Last Wednesday I prepared and attempted something that needs to go back to the drawing board for a minute. I have a DJI Phantom 3 Pro flying machine and I have a Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera, so in my head I decided to combine the two. I have a 3D printed gimbal guard on between the landing gear legs which has rectangle holes going across it lengthwise. For the camera I have a tripod screw with a lanyard hook at the opposite end. I fed the lanyard hook through the hole in the gimbal guard and secured it with garden twist ties until it was solid. Then I went to the park, attached the camera, and took off.

    My mistake...I didn't take into account the amount of vibration that would be going through the landing gear and the gimbal guard. While 90m/300ft in the air my 360 degree camera fell to the ground. I didn't notice it and continued to fly around the empty park until I looked back down at my tablet to the Phantom camera that was pointed straight down -- that is when I noticed the 360 camera was not longer attached. I landed and packed up the multi-rotor and scoured the field for hours trying to find it. Based on my flight path it could have landed in a pile of mulch or a 3 inch deep puddle without me noticing, but I still had hopes. After not finding it, and coming back a few hours later to try again, I posted on a Facebook group called Bunz (which is a bartering community) and within 28 minutes I was contacted by someone who's neighbour's daughter had found the camera earlier in the day. I was reunited with my camera that fell from 90m and it had almost no damage to it, just a slight nick at the top of one of the lenses.

    My question for all of you guys who got this far...have you ever attached anything to your multi-rotor and how did you counteract the vibrations? I was thinking of using something like Loctite Blue or even just electrical tape around the screw mount to made it a more rubberized fit. This experience is exactly the reason that I don't fly when there are strangers mulling about the area and don't fly over anything that would suffer from something falling from the sky. Safety first! Now I have to learn from this and find a better way to mount my camera and give it another shot!

    Here is the article in the local Metro newspaper:
    Toronto drone flyer recovers lost camera thanks to Bunz Trading | Metro News

    And here is one of the full 360 images taken while the camera was still in the air:
    Post from RICOH THETA. (2016/04/21)
     

    Attached Files:

    flyboy73 likes this.
  2. flyboy73

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    Just found your post. Thinking of getting a 360 camera so did a search. Liked your 360 photo a lot. Was the vibration so bad that you couldn't use the video from the 360 camera? Have you done any more experimentation to reduce the vibration? Did the 360 camera effect the flying characteristics of the Phantom? Do you believe the vibration is there all the time, even without the 360 camera? Generally, are you happy with your Theta S 360 camera?
     
  3. Cacc

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    The vibration was pretty bad for video and I also found there was a lot of swaying back and forth which is not pleasant in VR goggles. When the Phantom is sitting still there is less sway, but it is still present. I have not tried some kind of gimbal system which would be the only real way to smooth it out. I have not tried much other than using rubber washers which helped a little, but not enough to make a difference. Photos do come out amazing and very clear though. The only difference in flight that I noticed was coming to a complete stop took a second or two longer. The vibration is definitely there on the Phantom which is why the main camera is on a gimbal system. I have had quadcopters without a gimbal and it is just a mess.

    All in all, I really love the Theta. I have found it amazing at concerts where you can see the band and the crowd, and it does a pretty decent job in low light. I filmed a parade with it a few weeks ago and that was not really worth it as a regular camera would have done better to capture the atmosphere. I do recommend the Theta S to anyone interested in VR as it is a cheap way to get amazing content. In a year there will probably be much better options, but right now the Theta is the best in the consumer price range and that involves no manual stitching.
     
  4. fastfed

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    I've got the LG 360, I should hook that up some how.
     
  5. flyboy73

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    Thanks for the info. I predict we will see 360 degree cameras on drones in a year or two.
     
  6. impilot51

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    At a minimum, next time use a zip tie. Won't vibrate loose.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  7. Mako79

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    Location:
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    I have the Gear360

    Fixing it directly to a gimbal protector works nice and minimises vibrations. The only problem that its very nauseating in VR.

    P3 with Gear 360 on gimbal protector with tripod screw.
    [​IMG]

    P2 with a 1-axis gimbal.
    [​IMG]

    I am currently building an inverted 2axis gimbal to allow the Gear360 to dangle in a controlled manner. It weighs a fair bit and borderline max lifting weight for the P2. Should be finished this week depending on the flu..