Sunday, 10 January 2010

in flight movie

Here is the film of the first outdoor test of my new, thumb-sized MD80 camera, which I plan to use as an in-flight camera on the Dragonfly.

If you prefer, you can watch it on a big screen on YouTube

click image to enlarge

I paid £11 (incl postage from Hong Kong) on ebay. At that price, I hope it wasn't produced by political prisoners in a Chinese Gulag. It is an insanely low price, but it means that I can experiment with in-flight filming without worrying about the camera falling off the plane.

Despite the low price, I think the results are actually very good. I am very impressed by the sound quality. One negative is that there appears to be no way of getting rid of the date stamp while filming and changing the date is tricky (I think mine is a knock-off of a camera for which this procedure was easier). Also, it doesn't have a screen, so setting up angles requires trial and error. By the time I have made my brackets, though, I should have a better idea of the field of view.

One major advantage of the camera is its size and weight, which should make mounting it on the side of my helmet or on various mounts and brackets fairly straightforward....if all else fails, it can just be duck taped in place.

I was amused by this chap's solution, which works best if you have a small nose. It is worth fast-forwarding to 2:20
. I like this guy...and his solutions are simple, but clever. He also introduces us to 3M, which is much stronger than velcro and which snaps to male and female surfaces - I guess you could call it hermaphroditic!

There are a number of test films and mounting solutions for the MD80 and its various equivalents detailed on YouTube. I like this bar mount for a conventional camera, which I found on ebay...very cute design! I may produce something similar, but without the folding legs....and fix lockable universal joint where that bolt is...and on top of it have a mounting plate to which the MD80 can be stuck. (I have some dexion racking which has a similar pattern of holes on it, I just realised.)

Nick also suggested using a suction cup on the side of my helmet (though he was thinking of the sort used to pull dents out of car panels). I found this one on ebay. I emailed them and Sally got back to me to say their parent company supplies a company which makes suction fittings for just that - cameras on helmets! Apparently, they use the 32mm and 47mm cups with the brass screws.

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