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Best Handheld Camera for Flight Videos

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  • #61
    Splendid write up on the Sony RX, Alpha. I bought one several years back and played around with it for a year or so before selling it. I forget which variant I had? Maybe the Mark III? In any event, it was an impressive little rig and I really enjoyed some of the special shooting modes... Slo-mo for example. But in the end I couldn’t justify a spot in any of my camera bags for it. But honestly that is only because I already have much more capable gear. Still love and use my Sony A6500 for video and stills, and my Pentax K1/Sigma 50-500 for inflight action. But the little Sony is definitely a viable and more affordable option for pilots looking for a good all around camera to generate media of this hobby. The Used section on BHPhoto is a great place to get gear at reduced prices.
    ;)

    Edit: just went and confirmed ... my experiences were with the compact RX100. Slightly different animal and an entirely different conversation.

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    • #62
      I just stumbled on this thread and it is outstanding! I have been messing around with taking pictures since high school, but never really got good or serious about it. Last year after hanging out with a lot of professional aviation photographers, I decided to move out the automatic modes and start learning my DSLR. I have also started to change my YouTube content being all automotive focused to now including more and more RC content. Capturing in-flight video is proving to be very difficult. My current setup is to use my GoPro mounted on my DSLR. The GoPro is aligned so that if the object is in the center of the DSLR lens then it is centered in the GoPro. I shoot in 4k or 1080 and then zoom and crop the video footage in post. The end result is something ok for viewing on your phone, but not on a big TV. I figure most people watch videos on their phones anyway, at least when it comes to reviews, amateur flying, and unboxing. No luck finding a good way to shoot flight videos on a budget and most people complain if the footage doesn't look straight out of Hollywood (these people would probably complain the planes in the Battle of Britain movie were too far away from the camera). For my DSLR, I am now working with a 75-300mm lens with 1.4x teleconvertor, UV filter, and hood attached to my Canon T2i. I have been working this summer on trying to balance ISO and shutter speed to get crisp pictures with a blurred background and blurred props. One thing that helps is having a pilot or a helper to operate the camera (when I am flying) that understands how to work with lighting, camera position, and position of the plane. Luckily, one of the guys in my club used to be an avid photographer and can position the plane in the light at the right altitude to capture a good shot. We talk to each other while flying and shooting. That produces the best shots. Shooting in the evening with changing lighting and smoke/haze from wildfires out west and fog rolling in from Lake Michigan does present some challenges.

      Grand Haven RC Flying Club-July 2019 by Bryan Redeker, on Flickr

      Grand Haven RC Flying Club-July 2019 by Bryan Redeker, on Flickr

      Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat by Bryan Redeker, on Flickr

      Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat by Bryan Redeker, on Flickr

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      • #63
        Originally posted by BRGT350 View Post
        I just stumbled on this thread and it is outstanding!
        BR, Roger that. I have nothing to contribute at this time, though I used to shoot a ton of 35mm with telephoto and my Canon A1 and loved it. I am looking forward to getting back into this and this thread gives me a reason. LOL Just hope folks find this thread and contribute, contribute, contribute. Best, LB
        Captain: Got any ideas?
        F/O: Actually not.
        — Captain Chesley B 'Sully' Sullenberger III and F/O Jeff Skiles—

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        • #64
          Agree, hope this thread becomes more active. Shooting RC planes isn't easy since they are small, quick, and move in 3 dimensions. Sharing tips, tricks, settings, and equipment is really great so we can all learn and improve. Photography and videography add another dimension to the RC hobby and can make it easier to share with others.

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          • #65
            I think I've found a happy medium, at least for some of the slower planes.

            Canon EOS Rebel T6
            Shutter 1/800
            F 6.3
            ISO 200
            Auto White Balance

            Giant scale gas powered Westland Lysander, 96" WS

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            Pat

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            • #66
              Does anyone have tips on getting video from different camera sources to look similar when edited together? Similar as in saturation, tint, brightness, contrast... I try to set everything as similar as possible, but have noticed differences in recent projects. Is there a way to render multiple media with the same appearance? (other than resolution)

              There are hundreds of RC aviation videos viewable here; WBRC

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              • #67
                Pat, looking at your results, I think I am going to go faster with my shutter speed. I was shooting between 1/250 and 1/500, but getting too much blur of the plane. The prop blur was good, but the plane was too blurry. I started at 1/125 that was suggested for full scale prop planes, but that is too slow for small RC planes and more poor panning skills.

                WrightBrosRC, I think Adobe Premier allows you to adjust the footage to balance out the different cameras. My brother used to do all of the editing for the content we filmed for Ford Motor Company and for my film production class. We wanted more of an old cinema feel for my film production movie, so we added grain, dirt, lines, and cut the quality of some of the better cameras to match the lower quality ones. This was done almost 20 years ago and was our first attempt at editing on a computer. That may have been done using Pinnacle and the Ford stuff switched over to Premier. The Ford stuff was supposed to have a social media look to it, so less editing and more hand held cam stuff. I preferred to go more cinematic on some of the content, but it didn't gather much attention online. The Ford content was filmed using multiple GoPros, Sony Webbie handheld, a Canon DSLR, and Nikon DSLR. The footage was pretty close in terms of look and quality. The Sony wasn't very good, so we just stopped using it.

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                • #68
                  I picked up a Sony AX53 this year and love it. I added a rode mic and it really made it a great setup. I’m no pro at video but the vids look really nice. The stabilization works really well.
                  https://youtu.be/UnGFrThNQjo

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                  • #69
                    This past weekend I was shooting with my Canon T2i with a friend who was using both his T2i and a EOS 5D. It didn't take long to realize that the 5D is far superior to our T2i bodies when shooting aircraft flying. The biggest thing is the autofocus tracking. The T2i would constantly lose focus and search for the plane. This is the problem I have with both full scale and RC planes. The 5D kept focus for the entire pass. For video, the 5D also kept the planes in focus as they flew by. My buddy was using a 100-400mm professional series lens and I had a 75-300mm with 1.4x magnifier. The 5D with 400mm professional series lens produces incredible results in terms of clarity, focus, color saturation, and able to use a slower shutter speed to get the blurred props and background. We both were using the same camera settings, except for shutter speed. He was able to get down to 1/125-1/100 for panning shots and I was barely getting clear shots at 1/400. We were going to put the professional lens on my T2i to see how well it worked, but ran out of time.

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                    • #70
                      Wow, at $2K just for an EOS 5D Mk IV body, I hope it takes better pics than our Rebels.
                      Pat

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                      • #71
                        Yeah, no kidding! He picked it up used and I am not sure what mark it is as I think it is a few years or more older. I am going to continue learning and exploring with my T2i as there is so much more to do with the camera than I have done yet. Next up will be trying video for RC planes to see how well it works or doesn't work. The GoPro mounted on the DLSR is ok at best and probably not worth doing much more with it. The 5D was able to continually focus by pressing the shutter button down half way. I haven't tried that yet with my T2i as the only video footage I have done with it has been interviews or where I am a set distance from the object.

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                        • #72
                          I hope you have bought it.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by crxmanpat View Post
                            I think I've found a happy medium, at least for some of the slower planes.

                            Canon EOS Rebel T6...
                            I use the T6 as well. Here is a shot from yesterday.
                            There are hundreds of RC aviation videos viewable here; WBRC

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                            • #74
                              I recently purchased a very good condition secondhand Sony AX700. Quite happy with it, still experimenting with settings. Have only recently tried camcorders. I did have a Sony CX450, while cheap it needed perfect conditions to get reasonable footage while trying to capture a moving object.
                              For this video, I reduced the AX700 from 4K to HD to get a higher frame rate to see how that would go.
                              I had surgery on an ankle so was filming from a seated position, which is a bit limiting.


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                              • #75
                                I have taken flight video (i.e., handheld camera on the ground) with a couple different cameras, and always find sections that "jitter", meaning there is a sudden position discontinuity about 3-4 times per second. It isn't always there, but often. I thought it might be image stabilization getting confused, but I even saw that on one camera after I turned off image stabilization (if I remember correctly). Does anyone know what causes this, and how to fix it? To some extent I can fix it post-editing, but not very well. I can still see it.

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