Kite Aerial Photography 101
In this post I will show you how to build a quick and easy rig to get your camera flying (without any magic wands and jumping from nukem driven airplanes).
Yes, welcome to another boring tutorial... wait I say boring loud? Is not, it is fun, relaxing and sometimes adrenalin twisted outdoor exercise - welcome to Kite Aerial Photography 101.
Lets get started
The Stuff You Need
- camera rig
The kite must be strong enough to lift a camera, we used a Super Sled 1.6m one line kite. Is great for travel and easy to start by one person (you don't have to run like mad dog to get it in the sky).
The Super Sled is good for compact cameras, camera phones and will do fine with wind speeds from 9-30km/h. It come with 50m line we changed with 300m/70kg kevlar line to get better shoots. Of course you can choose a different kite. You'd wanna make sure it has enough lifting power for heavy jobs like aerial photography.
For rigging the camera to the kite we got two big heavy-duty paper clips and an aluminum bracket (which is just an aluminum rail).
We drilled a hole in the middle of bracket for the camera mount screw. We then added paper clips with key rings on both sides. To attach the rig to the main kite line we used another bit of line tied with a hanger - a bend piece of hard wire.
The distance from the kite to the camera is around 20m-30m. Note that the rig line is not connected to the camera holder. It is only going through the key rings - that keeps the camera steady and level in the air.
Now there is the issue of actually pressing the shutter button. Since the camera will be up in the air, we are not going to click for pictures, but rather use interval mode to get a click every 5 seconds or so.
When you use camera phones (like androids or iPhones) there is a nice selection of different interval apps (like TriggerTrap mobile app), in compact cameras you need to check for interval / time-lapse mode. For some canon point and shoot cameras you can use the custom firmware from CHDK.
A Few Words About Safety:
- Check and double check your line and knots before you put the camera in the air
- Check wind speed - you want some wind to help the kite fly, but if it is too strong, just call it a day.
- Secure your camera / use bubbel wrap on the camera. Actually you may wanna think before sending your beloved gadget up 200mm (flight mode does not actually make your iPhone flying!)
- Use gloves - kite line can easy burn your hands
- Check that there are no other flying object in your area
Dublin As Seen By A Kite