Check out this 3D imagery. Pretty well done.

My image below isn’t animated because my water marker munched the image. But click through and you’ll see some nice stuff.

Quadcopter project

Jim and I didn’t get out to film a Squirrel from his RC plane yesterday (due to my schedule). We’re going to try it this week or next weekend.

Anyways, one thing I’d like to do is make a quadcopter that is programmed to follow a Squirrel and return to home base.

Jim gave me these links to an affordable project that may be a good starting point (link1, link2, link3).

Aerial Photography

I’m looking at getting some aerial video and pictures for the Squirrel model airplane project.

I already have a small camera I can mount on a Squirrel. That’s a start. It’s a little heavy so I am using an 18″ Squirrel rather than the stock 12″.

I think it would be interesting to have a quadracopter platform to carry some camera equipment. Perhaps it could follow the Squirrel using a beacon mounted on the Squirrel or some other technique.


ARDrone is about 300 bucks.

Seems to have lots of accessories and parts available.

This might not be as open as needed for modification and it might not have the load carrying capacity. But the price tag is pretty good.

Perhaps it could be coupled with a light weight closed circuit camera such as the one at

That’s rather expensive at 250 but I’m not convinced I can’t get a similar one for cheaper.

I’v seen this sort of camera around on other Web sites and 150 seems to ring a bell.

If I’m understanding the literature this is iPhone controlled. Hmmm, there’s another bill to pay. But I so happen to want an iPhone someday.


Then theres

They have a lot of models.


A whole load of other features.

But they are all about 10,000.00.

Um, that’s sort of out of budget.


I posted a this issue into Ottawa Robotics Enthusiasts and ArtEngine online communities. I’m starting to get lots of ideas.

The most affordable is a blimp. That could very well work. So I’ll keep my eyes peeled for blimpy stuff.

This could be a really fun DIY project. It might get me more  into robotics too. Andrew Plumb mentioned the BlinkRC. This is a way of controlling things from Wifi. I might order that for this project (and I have a couple other uses for it in mind).


Arducopter seems the most promising so far (Mike from ORE).

It’s a few hundred bucks but it looks pretty nice. I think it’s open source so I should look that over.

I’d have to save my pennies.

Other stuff in my queue to research are:

Open source one

Another open source one


Another try at Lightning

I made another attempt at getting lightning on my Nikon P7000. I noticed that if I went to a manual configuration, the aperture smallest is 2.8. Seems I can’t get a very long shutter at that rate unless it’s very dark. Boo hoo.

I put it on video setting and managed to grab this but it’s pretty lame.

With the shutter I was only able to grab some lousy sheet lightning.

Failed attempt at lightning with Nikon P7000


I was working for most of the night last night and there was a thunderstorm.

I made an attempt to take a picture of the lightning.

This was the closed I got. It’s not lightning but it’s a long exposure with me moving around like a goof.

I’ll try again next storm but I think I need to use the remote shutter release with a tripod. Well that’s one technique.



I got one of these for taking pictures and stop motion video and stuff.

I also got a remote control so I can control the camera once it’s mounted.

I’m a little up to my eyeballs but I will make some stop motion sooner or later.

Nikon P7000


Got the camera problem solved. It works really well. So I expect to get a lot more good pictures since it works very well without the flash. Also seems to do great closeup shots and video.


Time Lapse Photography and CHDK

I’ve been wanting to try this and I happen to need another digital camera. I figure this is a great chance to try out CHKD which is an open source project that gives ordinary Canon Powershot cameras the ability to do things such as motion detection, time lapse and many other advanced features.

The challenge: Which Canon camera to get?

There is a list of the cameras that support CHDK. There are a lot of cameras available from Canon. What I’ve been doing is when I see a model then I go to the list to see if it’s supported. If it’s supported then I will look further at the model of camera. But most of the time the camera isn’t supported so I’d like to work backwards. I’d like to know which of the cameras work really well with CHKD. Then I can go looking for that camera. This one seems okay at first glance: “Canon PowerShot SD780 IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera”. Is there anybody out there who knows their line of cameras?

Cannon Powershot A720 IS

Okay, I got my hands on this camera a couple of days ago (Jan 2, 2011). I’ve got CHDK running. Seems pretty cool. Now I guess I need to learn how to use scripting and all the advanced stuff. Looks like the features they talk about are not in the camera. You have to write and load scripts into the camera using your computer. I will try CHDK for a while and see how well things work out.

Here’s an example. Apparently the code is here. I’m supposing the manual for CHDK is here. More movies!

Apparently you can use ffmpeg to convert a bunch of pictures into a video:

January 10th, 2011 update:

I just learned that Majic Lantern will work on the Cannon dLSR cameras. I will look into this since a digital SLR is on my todo list. More info. The Cannon 5D Mk III looks a little pricey but I’ll look into it anyway.

Video Camera Stabilization or Deshake

I’ve got a lot of video that was taken with my small digital camera. It takes great HD video but because it is small and it’s shape most of the video has quite a bit of shake. I’m want to try and smooth things out when I’m filming but I’d also like to fix a lot of the video that I have.

Challenge: How to fix video that has a lot of shake?

I made this camera stabilization system out of aluminum angle. It needs a ballast so I used a small container with batteries in it. That way, it’s free to carry the batteries. This is all fine and dandy but it will make the camera even harder to carry, harder to recruit people to take video and it wont fix my existing video.

Dreaming about a Hat Cam

I’ve been working on a model airplane project and I want to make nice videos of the planes flying. The challenge is that I can’t seem to fly it and take video at the same time easily. The obvious is to get your friends to take the shots right?

In this video I’m explaining “Press the button… Now we’re filming…. Now press it again… now we’re not filming…”. I think I went over it about 10 times.

It’s really hard to get people to take video. In the video above, the first guy I tried could not understand how to operate the video camera despite explaining it over and over to him. Mind you were each had a plastic cup full of rum.

So anyways, now I’m wondering what sort of video quality I’d get in terms of shakiness and staying on subject.

I’ve also looked at making a camera stabilizer but that seems to need a camera operator so I’m still left with the guerrilla recruitment of people to take video.

Here’s another fine example. In this example, I asked the lady to try and get the whole bike and myself into the picture. Not only did she fail to do that, she managed to give me mouse ears.

Some Camera Footage
Update (Dec 14)

Here’s a cool video with one idea. It’s interesting to see if a head mounted camera is steady enough.